I was honoured to be invited to spend an afternoon sharing one of my nieces birthday on Thursday – she was 20 and is absolutely gorgeous – inside and out!
We travelled to Blackpool for an afternoon of pampering at The Imperial Hotel having secured a last minute (same day) deal which included use of the Spa area, a Beauty Treatment (choice of several) and Afternoon Tea – all for £29.50!! BARGAIN….
I have to say that Blackpool wasn’t our first choice, as the once very busy popular seaside town has been looking worse for wear in recent years. However as a last minute booking this was the only hotel we could find with space available on the day..
As we drove along the seafront, we noticed how many of the hotels at South Shore have now closed down and been boarded up, so our hearts were sinking a bit as we imagined the worst for our spa afternoon…
My sister and I reminisced about the days of our childhood and trips to Blackpool with our Grandma and Grandpa when it was still known as one of the UK’s great seaside resorts.
Our dad worked for the BBC and we often travelled with him on his trips to Blackpool to film Billy Smarts Circus at Blackpool Tower or the Miss World Competition which was held in Blackpool’s Lido – the outdoor swimming pool. I suspect this was one of my dad’s favourite programmes to film… he always had a smile on his face anyway… I wonder why!!
As we drove passed Blackpool Pleasure Beach, we remembered the ‘fun of the fair’ and flying high on Blackpool’s Big Dippers and of course the ‘Kiss Me Quick’ hats and Blackpool rock…
Ah well – enough reminiscing.. back to our Spa afternoon..
The sea was pretty rough as we drove along the seafront and it was blowing a gale (you need to know this for later….) and then there it was THE IMPERIAL HOTEL – a beautifully imposing building seeped in history with walls that could certainly tell a few tales if they could talk.
The hotel has had many famous people staying including Sir Winston Churchill who was a regular patron and even designed his own room there which still exists today and is used for meetings and conferences. In the 1980’s, Margaret Thatcher celebrated her 60th Birthday at the hotel whilst staying there for the Conservative Political Party Conference..
The Imperial Hotel was also ‘The Place To Stay’ for many famous actors and actresses with Fred Astaire, Jane Mansfield and Errol Flynn to name but a few… On the wall in the ‘salon’, hangs a picture of Jane Mansfield with a story about how she shocked (and possibly delighted) some of the other hotel residents by parading through the hotel wearing only a bikini – that takes some guts and I imagine it livened up the Trade Union Conference that was going on in the Hotel at the same time!!
Other more local ‘artists’ who stayed at The Imperial include The Beatles, Arthur Askey and Ken Dodd (I wonder if his ‘diddy men’ stayed too) – I know – showing my age again.. ah well it happens to us all in the end!! For the non Mancunian or North West UK readers of this post, you may need to look up some of these names if you don’t recognise them… Somehow though I suspect you’ll all know The Beatles but I’m not so sure about Ken Dodd and his Diddy Men!
My post only touches the surface of the history of this iconic hotel and I recommend reading more about it by visiting: https://www.thehotelcollection.co.uk/cms/the-hotel-collection/pdfs/the-history-of-the_imperial_hotel-blackpool.pdf
As we entered the hotel, it was like stepping back in time (in a good way) with the beautiful wood panelled walls and glass showcases lining the walls of the corridor leading to the spa. The Spa area does not match the grandeur of the other areas of the hotel and could definitely do with some refurbishment, although to be fair, we still enjoyed a pleasant relaxing swim in the pool even though the surroundings were looking slightly on the shabby side…(and I don’t mean Shabby Chic!)
This is an ‘official photo’ and definitely looks better than the reality (sorry I didn’t have my camera to hand..)
I decided to have a Decleor Facial treatment while I was there and this was definitely the right decision – It was a really lovely facial and the effects were noticeable the following morning with my skin looking much clearer and fresher. I’d definitely recommend the facial to others visiting the hotel.
After out treatments, we were decidedly peckish and having relaxed and refreshed ourselves in the Spa, it was time to head back upstairs for Afternoon Tea and WOW – what a delightful treat we had in store…
Out went the healthy eating and in came a divine selection of tempting treats – too tempting to resist that’s for sure!!! We ordered a Sweet and Savoury Afternoon Tea to share between the three of us and both were fabulous.
I am still salivating at the memory of the divine home baked sweet and savoury scones which were the best scones I’ve tasted for a very long time! The scones were baked on the premises by the in house chef and were definitely worth breaking my diet for – sod the Diabetes!! (Don’t worry – I’m back on track again now…)
Not only was the food Excellent, the service and ambience of the setting was just so Traditionally English it just added fantastically to the atmosphere. This was a treat not to be missed and I would highly recommend anybody visiting Blackpool to book into The Imperial for Afternoon Tea – at a standard cost of £12.50 per head it’s great value for money and top quality! (And I’m not getting any payment to say this!!).
Seriously – I think this was one of the best Afternoon Teas I’ve ever had (and I’ve tasted a few as my posterior – “does my bum look big in this…” will testify to). Yummy Scrummy – Mmmmm – the memory of those scones will have to keep me going for a long time now that I’m ‘back on track’ with the ‘healthy eating… (and the scones were even better than those I baked for my sister’s 60th Birthday Afternoon Tea …)
Then back to the car for our return journey home to Manchester when disaster struck!! As I drove out of the car park, I opened the door of the car to press the key pad numbers for the barrier and a HUGE gust of wind (I told you it was windy as we drove along the sea front….) whipped the door from my hand and SMACK – straight into a brick wall … OOPS – hubby wasn’t happy when he saw the damage to the car door. I’ve had a bit of creeping to do… (not for long though -haha)
What was supposed to be a cheap last minute day out turned out to be slightly more costly than planned!
Ah well – still worth it to have experienced the sense of history and the delicious Afternoon Tea…. and the company of my sister and niece of course…
(Some stock photo’s courtesy of Bing Images)