I’ve never really been a fan of spas...
Maybe it’s the sitting around all day wearing next to nothing in front of people I don’t know, but my day at Whittlebury Hall Spa exceded every expectation, in all the right ways.
Whittlebury Hall Conference Centre, Hotel and Day Spa, located in just off Silverstone in rural Northamptonshire, gives that idyllic British stately-home feel as you trundle up the long driveway.
But it offers all sorts of up-to-date facilities, events and promotions, not least of which is its popular day spa.
Peaceful and softly lit from the moment you walk through its glass doors, the spa, open to both men and women, is decorated in traditional Roman style, but stops just short of being gimmicky.
Originally I was there to try out its latest seasonal day package, the £79 Strawberries and Cream Indulgence Day, including full use of the spa’s leisure facilities and Heat and Ice Experience rooms, a buffet lunch, and the Strawberries and Cream treatment itself: a full body exfoliation scrub, complete with massage and a shimmery golden moisturiser.
But, after perusing Whittlebury’s extensive range of treatments, I couldn’t resist booking myself and my mother in for a couple of extras, namely the Clarins Rebalancing Massage.
When we arrived we were greeted by very smily and attentive staff who gave us a full tour of all the facilities and handed us keys to our lockers, already containing fresh dressing gowns and towels (but no footwear, so remember to bring flip-flops).
We started the day by following the Heat and Ice Experience, a series of steam rooms and saunas designed to slowly build up your body temperature before you steel yourself to the inevitable Ice Cave and shock your temperature back down again.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t persuade my mother to give the seemingly below-zero bucket shower in the Ice Cave a go, but I came away feeling it was absolutely worth it.
The theory is that the rising temperature in the hot rooms stimulates your circulation and eliminates toxins, then plunging into cold water and rubbing yourself with crushed ice exfoliates the skin – not much fun while you are doing it, perhaps, but it feels fantastic afterwards.
We then went for our Clarins massages and, at this point, I have to give extra credit to my masseuse who went to extra effort to work out all knots and aches, no doubt generated by many hours a day hunched over the keyboard.
Both mother and I left our private, dreamily-lit rooms 40 minutes later feeling almost weightless.
We were then booked in for a buffet lunch, also included in the Indulgence Day package, which offered a selection of hot, filling dishes, as well as some lighter, flavourful options for those guests with the will-power to stay true to their day of detox.
Then, one of the highlights of the day – I just managed to book a last-minute appointment at the in-house salon which was promoting a weekend of special offers, including a full wash, cut and clow-dry treatment for only £30 (the same price as the cheapest high-street offers but in a much more pleasant experience all round).
As it’s run throughout the say by a single hairdresser, we had the whole salon to ourselves which made for a much more peaceful hour than the usual salon hustle and bustle allows.
It also means customers are guaranteed full attention throughout and the hairdresser even, kindly, pinned up the whole do so it wouldn’t get wet and steamy.
Next, and sadly, last, on our list of treatments was the centrepiece of the day: the Strawberries & Cream Sensation; a full-body scented salt scrub, followed by a choice of scalp or foot massage and finished off with an amber and champagne gold dry oil that left us with a subtle touch of sparkle, perfect before a summery evening out.
Finally, there was enough time to take advantage of the discount offer on cream tea and warm home-baked scones before we managed to drag ourselves away from the world of tranquility and white dressing gowns and back into the, now much less appealing, outside.
All in all, it was an excellent way to spend a day off and, at less than £80 per person, a reasonable price to pay for a full day of special treats.
If what you really crave is a day of relaxing, indulging, and a chance to bond with someone special, or even just focus on number one, then don’t forget to consider a day at Whittlebury – it has definitely earned a spot at the top of my list for the next big girls’ day out.
The Whittlebury Hall Strawberries and Cream Indulgence Day at £79 pp excluding extra treatments is available Monday to Friday from July 1 to September 30.
Book online at www.whittleburyhall.co.uk.