I will start this review with revealing that I have never been to a spa... ever!!! I have had plenty of facials and usually a monthly massage, but I have never had a girls' weekend or hen do situation at a spa. It's not quite the activity I'd embark on alone as I had no idea on spa etiquette until The Belfry invited me to try their Fire & Ice experience. A massage, afternoon tea and spa experience sounded sublime! I've had a really hectic few months and had a job change, so could a spa day slow down my whirring brain cogs for once?
It was a sunny Sunday when I travelled to the legendary golfing resort and strode into the leisure area. There is a swimming pool and gym area, but there are no screaming children here - it's a calm, clear space and much of the spa lounging facilities are tucked away in a zone upstairs, swathed in warm nudes and creams. After combing through the brochure of what to bring, I was already in my cozzie on arrival, and so I just wrapped up in my towelling robe in the changing room area. It was complete with dressing tables with hair dryers, plus huge cupboard lockers so I could lay out my things and store my fluffy towel.
My back massage was definitely one of the best I've had. When I visit a local salon for my usual 30 minute session, I hurriedly arrive carrying all of the stress of the day, just about unwind, and suddenly I'm throwing my clothes back on and setting out again. I completely appreciated the upgrade of having the chance to relax into the setting and let the effects of the massage continue all day. It was the perfect start to the day; drifting off with the tension kneaded out of my tense shoulders. Oh, the perils of working at a computer all day long! The knots in my back could support a ship! I had a chance to sniff and choose the oils used too, and the bed was firm, rather than the fold up variety, set in a real room rather than a sectioned corner of a salon.
Next up was the Fire & Ice experience, so I padded back down to the circular tunnel housing various doors into small rooms. I began with a sauna and travelled across to an aromatic caldarium, igloo, hydrotherapy pool, and steam room... wow! The description of each stop and suggested timings were labelled at each door so even a novice like me could navigate clearly! There were quite a few people on their own and a few couples, so many times I was alone in the rooms despite it being a weekend. I spent around an hour exploring the different zones as I was curious to see what was next, but you could spend around 1.5hrs enjoying the contrasting experiences. I wasn't brave enough to tip the bucket of ice water over my head but I might have been if I were with a friend!
I had a good hour before my scheduled afternoon tea once I had showered and was back in my robe. My next destination was the relaxation room; a zen lounge full of sofas, beds and snug little cubby corners with tassel curtains. Other guests were chatting softly or mostly napping, and I picked out the corner sofa, drew back the curtain and dived into my book (HPDH if you're wondering). I cannot tell you just how relaxed I felt, it was like I couldn't have been brought back to the woes and to-dos of reality even if I tried! I was absolutely loving the feeling after soothing my body with the warming spa experience and now being contained in my soft bubble. My book was even slipping out of my hands, I was so chilled!
Soon I was soothed into a dream-like state and was floating around in an alternative universe! I felt safe and warm, and my to-do list was so irrelevant as I was completely in the present moment, doing exactly what I needed to be doing. I was definitely peckish by the time my afternoon tea was scheduled and I tucked into quaint sandwiches, fluffy, warm scones piled with sweet jam and thick cream, and sampled delectable little cakes. I had the time to savour each tasty bite and really enjoyed the lunch. As it was a Sunday, my instinct was to now head home and make a start on my endless task list, but I ignored that familiar nagging voice and was drawn back to the relaxation lounge where my own corner was still vacant and welcomed me in. I spent a few more hours reading and continuing the feeling of utter contentment. What bliss!
Thank you to The Belfry Spa for having me - hope I'll see you again very soon!