Is there any other way to avoid the January blues, than to sink into another, very relaxing, world?
The answer is no by the way. The spa is definitely the best place to avoid that dreaded Jan lull and what better way to kick off a new year too?!
Normally what springs to mind when you think of spas, is travelling very far out of the city centre to the middle of nowhere but luckily for us city folk there’s actually plenty of spas tucked away in the nicest of hotels in Manchester.
One such one is The Midland Hotel, complete with thermal pool, spa treatments, hot tub, steam room and even a Himalayan Salt block sauna (more on that later).
We headed down one dull Sunday morning to escape that dread in an ‘Indulgence Spa Day’. Comprised of full-day access to the spa, a 50-minute treatment of your choice, lunch or afternoon tea, a glass of Champagne AND a £10 voucher for the spa shop.
Firstly, the spa is full of attentive and welcoming staff who are not only in abundance but more than willing to help. Secondly, the dimly lit areas instantly switch your brain off from work, worries and woes and right into spa-life.
We arrived with enough time before our treatments for a dip in the pool and to try out that salty sauna I was telling you about.
I was intrigued to see what the fuss was about here. The proposed benefits include combating the negative ions emitted by technology such as your phone or laptop which sounds a little like magic to me.
Himalayan Salt has even been suggested to aid an array of conditions from eczema to Hay Fever and even Cystic Fibrosis.
It definitely requires more than one visit to achieve these results but the addition of a slightly salty taste in the air means if you squeeze your eyes hard enough you can pretend you’re on the beach somewhere tropical. Almost anyway.
Then it was time for our treatments. I opted for the ‘Contouring and Invigorating Wrap’.
This is an unusual choice for me as I normally go for the longest and closest to full body massage as I can. However, the buzz words ‘detoxifying treatment’ in the description really caught my eye, particularly as this was right after a pretty boozy Christmas and NYE.
This treatment begins with a full-body brush down. Now I’ll be honest here – because honesty is the best policy – this experience isn’t quite relaxing. It is, however, definitely invigorating and awakening.
Once all the loose dead skin are removed (bit gross I know, sorry if you’re eating), a full-body exfoliation follows using the Crushed Cabernet Scrub from Caudalie like all of the products in this treatment.
The scrub is full of 6 essential oils, sugar and crushed grape-seed providing a mild exfoliation. It’s also said to help with cellulite reduction, but I’m not convinced this is even possible. What I did notice though, was how soft and silky smooth my skin felt once I’d rinsed this off.
Following this was the wrap. This consisted first of a Dry Oil to help the reduction of lumps and bumps that is massaged all over the body. Then the Body Butter is gently slathered all over before finally wrapping up in a tight cocoon where you stay while relaxing into a scalp massage.
At this point you can completely relax, you’re fully exfoliated and know that when you are born again from your cocoon you will be a new, glowy butterfly. I mean, person.
Speaking of glowing, my friend had the Vinosource Facial and though I can’t speak for how she felt, she was incredibly glowing afterwards. I also could tell it was relaxing as she definitely fell asleep halfway through.
After your treatments, you are led to the relaxation area. This place is complete with something I now believe no room is complete without, a ‘Hanging Pod Cocoon’.
It sounds like I love being in small cocoons but that’s not the case – these things are just delightfully relaxing. They sway slightly, even from just your breathing, making it incredibly easy to switch off, tuck into a book or even fall asleep. I did exactly that, reading a chapter before drifting into a snooze.
In here there’s also actual beds, cocoon chairs and separate suites with sliding doors for optimum gossiping/relaxing/whatever you see fit.
Following this, it’s straight to the spa cafe for a delicious afternoon tea piled high with all the classics including a good selection of sandwiches, delicious and warm (drool) freshly baked scones.
Obviously I went jam then cream – exactly how it should be done. There’s also a good and pretty big selection of homemade cakes.
We washed it down with a glass of bubbly and left incredibly stuffed and ready to burn off all those calories in a swim. Instead, we did that weird hanging off the side of the wall and half floating thing that everyone does in spa pools. You know the one, right?
The whole, completely relaxing experience, came in at £119 per person and you are also treated to a £10 voucher redeemable on any spa products available in the spa shop.
What is amazing about inner-city spas is that it’s not too far to get home unlike the ones in the countryside. So after my little 5-minute walk home, I could fully embrace my zen-state and fall asleep for the rest of the afternoon on the sofa with QI on in the background.
In short, because this might be the longest thing I’ve written since uni, this spa was absolutely fantastic. It has everything you could ever need from a spa, including an invigorating shower experience that is complete with an arctic rain setting that I very much so did not participate in.
I did, however, get involved in meditation, reading, snoozing, swimming, sauna-ing, steam room-ing and even dried my bikini in that whirring thing that all good spas have.
Rena Spa at The Midland Manchester, Peter St, Manchester M60 2DS
*Some images are courtesy of Good Spa Guide and The Midland Hotel because I was far too zen and fell asleep in a cocoon pod.