If you are looking for a spa holiday in the UK, you might consider the pretty market town of Guildford, which we’ve blogged about here before. Guildford is less than an hour from London and offers authentic boutiques, a bustling market, historic walks and scenic views of the Surrey Hills, as well as unique art galleries.
However, the town is also a great destination for a relaxing weekend escape from the hectic London lifestyle. One of its hidden gems is The Spa located right in the town centre, a little haven which I discovered during a recent visit.
Even the design of the spa itself is soothing. There’s quite a bijou sauna there, as well as a steam bath, a gorgeous mud bath room with mosaic tiling; as well as dark purple corridors and a relaxation room lit by real candles. There are little Buddha heads and oriental carvings along with metal flower sculptures with hidden lights. It all feels dim and secret, quiet and yet welcoming.
There’s also a pool, with huge glass windows giving on to the gardens behind the hotel. I loved this – it’s not quite an infinity pool, but it gives the same impression and the fresh green energy of the trees and grass seems to come inside the pool room with you.
The pool itself looks rather small, which I usually find a bit of a nuisance as you can’t swim lengths – but this one has a secret: resistance jets which mean that if you get the setting right, you can swim away on the spot without ever getting anywhere.
You can just use the spa to chill out, but you could also sign up to a course of treatment. The spa offers facials, full body massage, hot stone massage and mud wraps, as well as Moroccan steam cleansing which includes a natural salt scrub and a mud bath.
Regular beauty treatments are available too, from bikini and chest waxes (ouch!) to manicures or eyebrow tinting. I think I’d far rather get a facial or a manicure here than in a normal beauty salon – instead of having to go back out into the street afterwards, I could spend some time relaxing before facing the world again.
The spa staff told me that quite a number of local people have signed up as members – in addition to hotel guests using the facilities. I can see why – it’s a great place to get rid of the day’s niggles and stresses and so much nicer than the usual soulless practicality of most health clubs. As for me – the next time I’m in Guildford, a good long swim and a steam bath will be in order, though I’m not sure I’ll go as far as a mud bath!