Spa review: Vital Health & Wellbeing Club, Macdonald Craxton Wood, Chester

Adam Lowe

Macdonald Craxton Wood, near Chester, is a well equipped country hotel with an affordable price tag. It’s also the home of Vital Health & Wellbeing Club. We were lucky enough to be invited to check out the spa and its facilities, while enjoying lunch and a treatment.

Vital Health & Wellbeing Club is a brilliantly sunny space. The sunlight falls through the glass roof over the pool and spills into the Vital Coffee Bar. We arrived at noon, where we enjoyed a light lunch before our treatments, basking in the sunshine. In addition to the coffee bar, there’s also the more formal Craxton Wood Grill and Cocktail Bar & Lounge, which we’ve added to our list of things to see next time. We also recommend checking out the terrace, if you get chance, for a gorgeous view and your favourite tipples.

The pool is sizeable – a number of guests were taking part in water aerobics when we arrived, proving its popularity with locals – and is adjoined by a relaxing thermal suite. This latter has thermal experience showers, dry and rock salt saunas, a steam room, foot spas and a crushed ice fountain to stimulate and reinvigorate your flesh. You can tell that the spa has recently been renovated (to the tune of £1.4 million, no less!).

There’s also a fitness studio with classes, state of the art Technogym equipment, and a luxurious relaxation room and garden (the latter making all the difference, as you can sit in the private garden in your robes and absorb the ambience). Children’s swim times are at fixed times (9-11am and 3-6pm), which means you can time your visit for an adult-only experience if you prefer, or take the kids if not.

The treatments were conducted in a series of treatment rooms, although we had a couple’s treatment, so were able to have our hot stones massages side-by-side as an extra treat. This was a deeply relaxing treatment that worked heat into tired and aching muscles for some much needed relief.

The verdict

By combining peaceful outdoors settings, sunny glass roofs and a state of the art spa suite, Vital Health & Wellbeing Club is an exceptional spa experience.

Spa days start from just £30, while residents at the hotel can upgrade to spa access for just £20. Spa breaks for two start at £75 per person based on two people sharing, and include bed, breakfast, a 25-minute treatment and full use of the spa.

For more information, visit

Macdonald Craxton Wood, Parkgate Road, Ledsham Chester CH66 9PB / Tel 0344 879 9038



About Adam Lowe

Adam Lowe is an award-winning author, editor and publisher from Leeds, now based in Manchester. He runs Dog Horn Publishing and is Director and Writing Coordinator for Young Enigma, a writer development programme for LGBT young people. He sometimes performs as Beyonce Holes.