What do you look for in a spa? Before I headed off to a spa local to me – Spa at Ye Olde Bell, I decided to quickly jot down what I look for the perfect spa experience. I came up with the following areas :
- Feeling comfortable – I hate feeling uncomfortable and on edge at a spa, and I know I have before.
- All of the small things provided. There nothing worse than getting there and a vital (that you think is provided) is missing or you’ve forgotten it.
- Places to be quiet and relax and reflect.
- Great customer service
- Good food
- Treatments that you are looking for, innovative treatment or something different to the norm?
I wouldn’t say I’m an experienced spa person. I think I’ve been around 10/12 times in my lifetime. I do know though what I like from a spa. I’ve always been with friends or with my husband, but this time it was an experience for my eldest who has finished her GCSE’s as I thought it would be something new and cool for her to try, and chilling out is something I know she’s good at…ha!
Ye Olde Bell Spa and Hotel is in Nottinghamshire, located just off the A1 on the border of 3 counties. We got there by train (as I don’t drive) then we got a taxi which was a short 10-minute drive. The spa was on the edge of the town of Retford and felt quite rural and peaceful. At the entrance of the driveway taking you to the spa is the Ye Olde Bell hotel and two of it’s restaurants, which I believe have a really good reputation for food in the area and then hidden around the corner is the Spa.
We got to the spa around 11.30 and were greeted with a refreshing complimentary drink and some iced water. We were told we could change and enjoy our lunch in our robes or go ahead and have our lunch before getting spa ready for the afternoon. We decided to go for the latter, as we were both hungry and eager to visit Herb Garden Brasserie.
Outside area of the spa, the brasserie is in the distance
Food – Herb Garden Brasserie.
From the brasserie, you can see part of the spa, and there are gorgeous folding doors letting in a light breeze and the sound of water from the pool as you eat.
We had opted for a three-course meal and the options were very flavourful and light, which I think is perfect for a spa.
The whole meal felt effortless in terms of service, our iced water topped up throughout the meal. Both of us went for beetroot and goats cheese starter, mine vegetarian and my daughter smoked salmon. Definitely my favourite of all the courses, we also were given warm slices of fresh bread with butter and sea salt, so darn delicious. I can see why they have such a good reputation for food.
The facilities at the spa are so perfect, the level of attention to detail is excellent. It feels modern and has lots of scandi design influences. As we entered the changing room which has shower facilities, dressing area, toilets and lockers. There are complimentary toiletries such as shampoo and cleansers for your makeup. The lockers have robes, towels and flip flops. There’s even a bag for your damp swimsuit and a little drawstring bag to keep your jewellery safe.
SPA – treatments and facilities
We were greeted by the spa butler who gave us the low down on all of the facilities. Including all of the saunas, herbal scented and a traditional Alpine sauna. Each one has a huge picture window to the outside area, I’ve never experienced a sauna room with a view and it really did add to the experience. Cleverly these windows could not be looked into from the outside though. There is also a snowfall experience both invigorating and the best way we found to cool down. There’s also a steam room and a salt inhalation room, all of which we tried. The pool goes from inside to the outside with a motorised door to switch between the two. All around the vitality pool are areas to relax too and the pool itself has lots of hydrotherapy options.
We also got to sample the Sabbia Med light therapy room.
SABBIA MED ™ FROM £25 PER PERSON – 30 minutes experience for 2 – 4 people.
Deeply relaxing, uplifting and fun this therapy replicates sunrise to sunset in a 30 minute cycle. Low levels of UV are emitted to release Vitamin D whilst specialised lamps are used to alleviate SAD. An incredible experience for those looking to escape to the beach.
Here is a link to the extensive list of treatments that are on offer, including manicures and massages.
All too quickly it was 5 pm and we realised that we need to start to get ready to leave, I can honestly say we felt so relaxed and chilled I nearly asked for a hotel room! Both of us loved all of the saunas and the Sabbia Med treatment. We had found time to enjoy a lovely meal together and a spot to read our books as well as a splash around in the pool. Overall a wonderfully relaxing day that left us feeling like we had had a real luxurious treat, but felt wonderfully relaxed and at home. It definitely ticked all of the spa boxes that I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
FULL DAY SPA FROM £99/£105 WEEKEND
Includes: all day spa access from 9.30am to 5.30 pm and 2 course lunch. Spend the day unwinding in the spa, including a wholesome lunch in our Herb Garden Brasserie. Includes robe, towel and flip flops.
TWILIGHT FROM £65
De-stress after a long day, with unlimited use of the spa from 5.30pm-9.00pm and canapes. Includes robe, towel, flip flops.