Have you got any money? If your answer’s no, don’t go here. If your answer’s yes (and you don’t mind having to travel to Wales for it), the Forum Health Club and Spa at The Celtic Manor Resort is a pretty worthy visit – and you get free cups of herbal tea!
I arrived to be greeted by a group of perfectly manicured/moisturised/tanned Barbie dolls who handed me a swamping bathrobe and slippers. At 5 foot 3 it looked like I’d skinned a bear. And who even knows the point of the slippers – you only take them off as soon as you get in.
“This is the women’s only spa section,” my guide indicated. Women only?! I’ve only ever seen those on Sex and the City. And nobody was in there once I was ready, so I took full advantage. I lounged in the jacuzzi for a good 20 minutes, the pumps blasting in places I didn’t know existed. I stood in the sauna and steam rooms trying to last the 15 minute recommended time, but quickly realised my heat threshold is somewhat lower than 95*C. And I looked in the plunge pool…it’s got a deep wishing well kind of look about it; high walls, long ladder, freezing cold water. No thank you.
Now the communal spa area, including pool, is really beautiful. Compared to my nearest spa in Swindon, it’s about twenty times bigger. On the ceiling is painted a light blue sky, complete with fluffy clouds, and a scattering of LED lights to simulate stars. So when you’re floating on your back and blocking out the screams of children outside on school holidays, it almost feels like you’re flying. It’s so soothing, and for a second I thought, this must be what it’s like at Hogwarts…a life-long dream…sigh!
Sitting a metre higher and over-looking the pool is a huge jacuzzi. Never seen one that big. It means you don’t have to sit next to the fat guy. And you can lean over the side and people-watch to your heart’s content; a favourite past-time of mine.
We did wander for a moment out into the rest of the hotel, just to be nosey really, and it’s all rather extravagant. There’s a fully equipped gym for heaven’s sake. Why would you choose to exercise on your holiday? I should warn you though, this place is not for cheapskates. 1 adult entry to the spa ranges from £44 to £120! A small pot of ice-cream, correction, tiny pot of ice-cream, is £2.50. Ouch!
But that’s not all I tried out. I had a luxurious full body massage (minus my ticklish feet) after spending 4 long hours in the spa. I’ve never felt so tired from being so lazy. There were oils, hot gloves, scented towels. And she used every inch of her arms in that massage; fingertips, palms, elbows, fore-arms. It was painful on the calves when she started hammering into them. Probably should have mentioned they were aching from a 4 hour hike the previous day.
And at the end, my therapist, Kelly, gave me a ‘personal prescription’. Apparently, the minimum I need is Elemis Lime & Ginger Exfoliator, and the maximum is Elemis Lime & Ginger Body Wash! Excuse me! What is she trying to say?
Well, I was able to get a 10% discount if I purchased those products on the day, but seeing as the they didn’t even have a price on, and having spending £96 on the massage and spa access, I opted out. I’ll stick to Radox thanks.
So if you feel like being treated like a superstar, and want to finish the day feeling like you’ve climbed a mountain, make a trip to the Forum Health Club and Spa. They were voted Best UK Hotel Spa 2011 in The Spa Traveller Awards, don’t you know!