Thursday, 28 July 2011

Blogging in bliss

The other day I managed to blog using my HTC, today I am blogging off a laptop where the mouse doesn't work. You can't say I'm not committed.

I'm going to try and keep today's entry a bit short as I am absolutely shattered and I have bags to pack. No I haven't had an awfully busy, hectic day and am about to be chucked out my flat, I have in fact been on a spa day and go on our mini break tomorrow so I am super chilled and very disorganised in terms of planning for tomorrow!

I'm not sure how many of you enjoy visiting spas and getting pampered and treated like a princess - I would have imagined all of you - but I felt I should let you know how nice my day today really was. Although perhaps I am taking a bit of a chance letting you in on my secret spa find as I don't want you all going there and spoiling it!

Anyways today I went to Rowhill Grange Hotel in Dartford, Kent, in particular the Utopia Spa situated there. This is the sixth ‘spa’ I have been to in my life – others include Five Lakes near Colchester in Essex, a random spa/bath establishment in Budapest on a hen weekend, the spa in my hotel in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, last year on holiday, treatments I’ve had in a local beauticians in Hornchurch and Turkish baths I’ve visited in well Turkey.

I can safely say today’s visit was the best experience of them all, if indeed it was also the dearest. Now I’m used to spas outside of London and their prices so to be fair although this spa was the ‘dearest’ it is still great value, particularly for somewhere that has won a number of awards for its facilities. I had a £50 voucher from my old company (one of my leaving presents) and I took along my Mum for company (spas are gradually growing on her after her initial fear). So the package was £199 (we then took the voucher off of this) for both of us, this included:

• Full use of all the facilities (this means Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool and gym)
• A two course lunch
• Complimentary coffee or tea when you arrive (with the yummiest, stickiest flapjack ever)
• A 25 minute ‘power’ facial
• A 25 mini back, neck and shoulder massage
• Utopia Spa robe (just for the day) and soft white towel
• Use of the changing room facilities, which included individual handtowels to dry your hands on, use of high standard hairdryers and GHD straighteners, complimentary shampoo and conditioner in the showers, I won’t go on…

You are limited to six hours (we opted for 11am-5pm) and at first this put me off, as well as the fact you can’t book your treatment times in advanced. However, I was pleasantly surprised, on arrival you get given a spa day pack and have to fill in ‘consultation forms’ whilst you enjoy your complimentary hot drink. Then you get informed of your times for the day, ours were 1pm facial, 130pm lunch and 430pm massage. This was exactly how we would have planned it!

The rest of the time we were free to wander round in our robes, sit on one of the many loungers in the pool area, swim, work out in the gym or use any of the other facilities. There are of course extras there like a hairdressers, but obviously these come at an extra cost.

Our lunch was gorgeous – goats cheese and red onion tart, followed by a pork loin chop in a sticky jus (can’t remember what it was now) served with apricot and raisin couscous. It was lovely. Great crockery, cutlery and dining environment all helped contribute to a pleasurable meal.

Treatment-wise I found the staff very friendly and very good at their jobs, I felt completely cared for and relaxed and even though we had facials and back massages we had short treatments on our hands/arms and feet/lower legs as part of these too. After the treatment you get a ‘prescription’ of things you can do to improve problem areas and also the products they used. Now I’m not na├»ve I know this is a tool to get you to buy products, but I didn’t care, at no other point did anyone push us into this or try to get us to upgrade our treatments.

Now I’m off with my squeaky clean, baby-bum-soft face and my super soft and knot-free back to get packing for the mini break. We are going for three nights, four days, in this country, yet the pile of clothes on my bed is increasingly looking like the samples/outfits behind the scenes for a full-on catwalk fashion show. Keep checking back to find out how four friends (made up of two couples, two of which are Pinot addicts) get on checking out Cheltenham and the surrounding areas and if you’re really lucky I’ll blog on what it’s like to stay in the Premier Inn!!

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