Amida Spa, Farnham
Bailiffscourt Spa, Climping
Barcelona Spa And Hotel Escape
Bath Spa And Hotel Escape
Top Tips For Visiting Florida
Driving in Florida
Health & Safety in Florida
Orlando - The Sight – Zumba Convention
Orlando - The Flight – Virgin Atlantic London Gatwick to Orlando
Orlando - The Hotel – Hilton Orlando
Orlando - The Shopping – Zumbawear Retail and Outlet
Orlando - The Healing – Hilton Orlando Spa Pool or Massage at the OCC
Orlando - The Food – Denny's
Orlando - The Packing
Orlando - Other Tips For Surviving Convention
Clearwater - The Sight – Dolphins – Caladesi Beach and Little Toot
Clearwater - The Hotel – Pier House 60 Marina Hotel
Clearwater - The Healing – Full Moon Fall Clearwater Beach
Clearwater - The Food – Frenchy's Saltwater Café
Clearwater - The Journey – Drive From Orlando
Clearwater - The Shopping – Caladesi Island
Clearwater - The Packing
Clearwater - Side Trip – Homosassa Springs
Key Largo Escape
Vero Beach Escape
Vero Beach - The Sight – Sunrise, Turtles, Waves
Vero Beach - The Hotel – Costa D'Este
Vero Beach - The Healing – The Spa at Costa D'Este
Vero Beach - The Food – The Wave Kitchen And Bar
Vero Beach - The Journey – Drive From Key Largo (and back to Orlando)
Vero Beach - The Shopping – Shells And Things
Vero Beach - The Packing
Vero Beach - Photos
The Glorious Spa Company Chichester
Iceland Spa And Hotel Break
About Our Trip To Iceland
Iceland - The Spa - Blue Lagoon
Iceland - The Sight - Northern Lights
Iceland - The Hotel(s) – Northern Light Inn, Grindavik and Centerhotel Arnarhvoll, Reykjavik
The Activity - The Icelandic Horse
Iceland - The Restaurant - Eldur and some more eating and drinking tips
Iceland - The Flight - Icelandair from London Heathrow to Reykjavik
Iceland - The Shopping
Iceland - The Rest
London Day Spa Retreats
Marrakech Spa And Hotel Escape
New Forest Spa And Hotel Break
New York Italian Escape
Paris Escape With Kids
Tuscany Spa And Hotel Escape
Zadar Spa And Hotel Escape (Croatia)
October 2013 update: Unfortunately after a second visit, this time on a Sunday, I didn't have such a happy experience here.
It wasn't that the spa was busy i.e. not that there were too many people in here but it was clear that the spa was struggling to keep up with the turnover (because they told me so). The hammam seating area was covered with wet towels, robes and even slippers, and even more bizarrely dozens of empty plastic glasses. I kept telling myself I shouldn't let it bother me but I came for calm and serenity and the spa was just a mess. Also the floor was inches deep in water in places and many people just didn't bother to dry off before going into the relaxation room so there was a large puddle of water in there. I found it really hard to relax because I was biting my tongue as I don't want to be saying to people "could you not leave your slippers on the steps to the hydrotherapy pool", "could you not snog in the pool", "could you not drip water on the floor in the dry area", and I don't appreciate having to move people's dirty, wet towels and glasses in order to lie down the hammam, but worse was to come...
I had a great massage but after a few minutes I had to ask Lina, my masseuse to turn off the room iPod as I could hear other music and the jarring of the two was giving me a headache. The other music was being played in the reception area, unfortunately as soon as the room iPod was off I could hear everything, all the conversations (sometimes shouted) in reception.
The spa is new and understandably has teething problems but when I told reception how bad it was they just kept saying it was a busy day. I don't care. Most of the spas I go to are fully booked and if you can hear this level of noise in a treatment room then it is bad design and you need to figure it out. I even suggested to them that they use audio of oceans and rain in the treatment rooms so that it doesn't jar with the other music (I had to originally ask Lina to change the iPod from a musak version of "Crying In The Chapel" at first - not appropriate for a massage - certainly not mine). When I suggested they find their "spa voices" and not shout I was met with blank looks. In fairness it is often the spa staff who are the loudest in UK spas, and they really need to remember that whilst they might be at work - we are not. It's also very disrespectful to the masseurs who are working so hard in the treatment rooms. I felt really sorry for Lina as she kept apologising for the noise.
It's incredibly hard to relax with this kind of noise and I have to say I think it's the worst noise level I've ever had, outside of one reflexology session in a hair salon. I even told them to forget the complimentary sorbet as I couldn't wait to get home for some peace and quiet.
On the upside it made my home feel wonderfully quiet and clean and I had a wonderful sleep after the massage.
I would never go here for a relaxing session on a weekend again, but on reflection this is a bargain spa and I do think it is good value for an invigorating session, and the relaxation area is still excellent.
Just make sure you ask for a quiet treatment room well away from reception and maybe bring your own iPod and even headphones along.
September 2013: I've been eagerly awaiting the opening of this Wimbledon branch of Spa London for what feels like forever and, yes, I was there on their very first day of opening to check it out!
It has a similar vibe to the Bethnal Green branch and an almost identical spa menu but the facilities are completely different.
Positives are an extremely helpful team and slightly easier booking, a good sized shop with a small seated area for eating (they are waiting on their catering license but can order in), as well as a far superior relaxation area. The spa overall is smaller but contains a great hydrotherapy pool (although this has an annoying three minute cut out between bubbles). The spa is also upstairs so, unlike the subterranean feel of Bethnal Green, you get a light and airy spa with skylights and, on a good day, you can lie back in the pool and look up at a blue sky. There's an excellent sauna and steam room, koubel douche, as well as a sublime shower with overhead shower head - with three different choices of effect, a hand held shower head and, the best, four body jets which you can rotate to get a great back massage. There is also a long hammam bench to sit and relax on as well as two foot baths which, if you wait long enough, will give you a relaxing foot massage. All in all, incredible facilities for just £18 for 3 hours.
I was also extremely impressed with the treatments, I had an eyelash tint and the restorative pedicure (£35 for 75 minutes) and my therapist was friendly, helpful and skilled. When she delivered me back into the relaxation room and served me up a lemon sorbet I knew this spa was a real winner.
On the downside they are still waiting for their direct line so be prepared to call through the gym switchboard which is a little annoying. Also, you will have to use the main changing rooms and toilets which are not really in keeping with the spa experience as they are also for gym and pool users and the toilets can get, well... how swimming pool toilets get. This also means that all of the bottles of Spa London wash and body lotion were empty. I am also not a fan of the long diagonal step in the spa, it annoys me because it looks like something a designer thought would be fun but which undoubtedly I will end up tripping over at some point. I also managed to crack my foot on a plug socket sticking out from under the massage bed, and I thought the pedicure chairs could have done with being a lot comfier and more relaxed. But as you can see, none of these prevent this being a spa with excellent services, staff and great value for money.
March 2013 update: I organised a spa day for a group of ladies here on a Tuesday (one of the ladies only days) and finally got to try out their massage treatments (which are nearly always booked up in advance).
The good news is that all of the massages were exceptional and I couldn't believe how much more relaxed I was after just a 15 minute back massage - truly world class! The wrap treatments had a slightly less positive response from the ladies but it was wonderful to see everyone leaving with a new air of relaxation - and these ladies deserve every second of pampering as they all do so much for everyone else!
The bad news is that the spa has stopped doing food and you're lucky to even be able to order a coffee or tea (herbal tea is always on hand for free). When fruit is put out it is snapped up immediately and we were relieved we had smuggled in snack bars. (Sitting eating them in our dressing gowns we felt like naughty ladies at an old school health farm.) Some other guests were blatantly eating crisps in the hammam which is not really the vibe we were looking for.
The other negative is that although the reception team are efficient at dealing with email requests and were fab with our bookings, it proved impossible to contact them by phone, which would be a major problem for most of my ladies as many of them do not use email. On the upside some of the ladies have already been back to the spa, opting to use the heat treatment rooms, but they would have loved to have been able to book treatments in advance too.
Also there were some discrepancies between the online menu and the printed massage menu and they also had additional treatments which I found out about via email - which makes it hard for anyone not online to make the most of this spa.
August 2012 update: Visiting the spa on a weekday morning is a little quieter. Once again my friend and I left it too late to book treatments, but the one we could indulge in was dry flotation as this doesn't require an attendant, apart from tucking you in. The dry flotation room is opposite the steam rooms with a hospital style curtain to protect your privacy. You lie on a flat bed and are tucked in with a heated blanket, plugged into headphones with relaxing music and left to float. The best bit was when the water surges in, lifting you up and giving that great weightless feeling. My friend who had lower back problems had half an hour and didn't feel it was enough. I had booked an hour, and although it felt good I wasn't enjoying it as much as I had lying in the hammam, so after 50 minutes I squeezed the release button, unlocked my treatment room and headed back out into the spa. On this occasion the ice pool wasn't very cold (which some people complained about) but it was just about the perfect temperature for me to enjoy a quick float in.
Lie back on the spacious cream and turquoise surfaces of the main hammam and you’ll understand why so many people are in here. The gentle warming from beneath is so inviting that I very nearly fell asleep, (and this was not the only room where it would be easy to doze off.)
There are the three marble Turkish Baths, each of a slightly increasing heat, which are lovely places to lie back and succumb to the relaxing music playing gently in the background.
Two dimly lit intense aromatic steam rooms beckon, (although I didn’t notice any particular fragrances) where you can soak up the heat, until the ice plunge pool, ice crystals and even the “refreshing” bucket of cold water on a rope (which you pull over onto your head!) seem like a very good idea.
When you need to relax from all the relaxing, step into the lounge area, where you can lie back on a cushioned lounger in your towelling robe and sip a glass of lemon or apple scented water, and get ready to take the plunge again.
With towels, plastic flip flops, towelling robe, water and occasional light refreshments on hand, all you need is your swimwear (compulsory for all.)
On a women only day (when I went) the atmosphere is giggly and very friendly - every little group of women wanted to adopt me and make sure I was okay - people here are so down to earth - perhaps because it’s in the East End? If you really want quiet you can either move to a different room (there’s a lot of choice) or go to a mixed session - apparently the guys are a lot quieter.
With uniformed attendants on hand and very well kept decor, this really is a luxurious spa break for a bargain price.
Although you can’t use products in the spa - which is a shame - you can use them in the changing room showers afterwards - so I went for the Sanctuary warming charcoal body mask, followed by my extra virgin olive oil all over massage oil (ah yes I must tell you about that discovery!) to get the full spa experience.
Unfortunately once you leave the spa the surrounding area isn’t so great - so it was straight back on the tube afterwards, and I did just about manage to stay awake all the way home.
Booking is recommended. The reception is very helpful and, although they normally charge if you cancel less than 24 hours in advance, they reorganised my visit for free because the Northern Line was down one weekend.
I’ve yet to try the actual spa treatments, which are around the same price as an average spa, but if they are the same quality as the Thermal Spa Experience I will be very happy.
And don’t worry if you mix up your dressing gown and towel - everyone does it. Although, as it was their 3rd birthday party - with birthday refreshments when I visited, I soon solved the problem - my dressing gown was the one with chocolate cake on the sleeve!
Opened Autumn 2013
3 hour entry £18
(although you may be allowed to stay for longer if it’s not busy this is plenty of time) includes robe, towel and slippers, discounts available for gym members
As at September 2013
For more details please visit
2010 Professional Beauty Awards "Day Spa of the Year"
3 hour entry £24
(although you may be allowed to stay for longer if it’s not busy this is plenty of time) includes robe, towel and flip flops, or £23.50 for an annual card £3.50 and cardholder's entry £20.
Discounts are available with membership only, which is
and rates go swiftly down to as little as £8 - but only until 4.30pm Monday to Thursday and 2.30pm Friday / Saturday
As at August 2012
For more details
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
(c) Pearl Howie 2013. All rights reserved.