I can’t think of a better way to beat the January post-Christmas blues than to head to a spa for a treatment or two and a day of pure relaxation! So, on a recent 3 day stay at The Welcombe, a Hallmark Hotel just north of Stratford-upon-Avon, my Mum and I spent a day in their onsite spa.
Access to the leisure facilities at the spa which include a swimming pool, gym and various thermal rooms are available to hotel residents as part of their stay or to day visitors as part of a spa package of which there are a number of options. The treatments and therapies offered at The Welcombe are wide-ranging with a massive choice of different massages, facials, body therapies and other beauty treatments such as manicures, pedicures, waxing and tinting.
Housed in a separate building to the main hotel, a warm welcome greeted us on arrival and after filling in the usual contact and medical related forms we were ready for our treatments which we had booked in first. We were given a spa bag with luxuriously fluffy robes, towels and slippers and went off for our back, shoulders and neck massage first, followed by the fruit glow facial.
I find it fascinating that no matter how many facials and massages I’ve had over the years (and there’s been many) they’re always very different. However, I think at the Welcombe, I’ve found my perfect facial.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve liked every facial I’ve ever had, particularly how wonderful it makes my face feel afterwards and how I just want to sleep the rest of the day away; but often I get very hot and uncomfortable with the steam they use to open your pores. The Fruit Glow facial at the Welcombe used no such method however.
Using Elemis products as their core product range, a gentle rose exfoliator is applied first, followed by a couple of cleansing lotions which are massaged in well. Then the first of two masks had my nose doing back flips with its heavenly scent. It smelt good enough to eat and I breathed deeply before breaking the silence to ask what the scent was: papaya with a hint of pineapple. No wonder it smelt good!
A padded eye mask completed the look and while I was cooking, I received a neck and shoulder massage which was divine after the back massage I’d just had, so this completed the massage experience as this version included pressure on the top of your chest and arms.
Hot towels removed the mask followed by a focused massage around the eye and temples area. I was so relaxed by the second mask that I forgot to ask the specific scent, but it smelt like some combination of mango, passion fruit and vanilla… And this time while the mask was taking effect: a head massage. I’m not normally a fan of head massages during a facial as my hair usually feels like it gets caught and pulled and the motion is too fast, but the therapist must have read my mind as it was the gentlest and slowest scalp massage I’ve ever had. I was practically asleep by the end.
Before I knew it she was talking, telling me it was all finished! ‘Ohhh…’ I was thinking… ‘but I wanted longer….’
While my Mum had her pedicure, I went to investigate the rest of the spa facilities.
A spacious changing room heralded unusual L-shaped lockers so you could hang things up in the narrow tall section while also storing stockier bags to one side. Through the changing rooms, you enter the wet spa zone with Roman inspired facilities including a caldarium, laconium and tepidarium. Centred around the ice fountain, there’s also tropical and polar storm showers and a Finnish sauna, the majority of which don’t appeal to me as I don’t like being too hot, but I had to agree that such a variety of thermal experiences was impressive.
The pool (a lovely temperature) was doused in low lit blue and yellow lights and surrounded by loungers and chairs, the perfect place to chill out and read while occasionally taking a dip. The lounger I chose was remarkably comfortable and I later found out that most of the seats and loungers had been recently updated and no doubt the reason for the plumpness and comfort of the padded seat covers.
As you can see from the above photo, the pool area was not particularly busy. As I was here on a random Wednesday in January, I’m guessing that a weekend might look a bit different.
At the end of the pool is a decent sized Jacuzzi, a separate foot spa and four heated loungers, and at the opposite end is a little outdoor triangle with an external vitality pool complete with Jacuzzi corner and thermal fountains; just what you need in January when there’s frost on the ground!
By the time it got to 3pm my tummy had started rumbling, so we went to check out the spa cafe and ordered a cream tea. The scones arrived warm and I was pleasantly surprised to find one plain scone and one fruit scone which was perfect for mum and me, as I love fruit scones, but Mum doesn’t so it wasn’t hard to decide who got what!
Before leaving the spa suite, I popped my head in the gymnasium to see what was there. Once upon a time, I would have been in there for a work out while staying at a spa hotel, but yeeeah….. not this time…. It did look swish however!
Right now, I was ready for a lie down. It is such hard work is relaxing and chilling out isn’t it?!
Here’s a few more images of the entrance to the spa complex…
One thing I was thinking on leaving the spa was: ‘I really must schedule a massage more frequently as they are just sooooooo good!’
Where did you experience your best facial and/or massage? Let me know in the comments below…
Contact for further details:
The Welcombe Spa, Hallmark Hotel The Welcombe, Warwick Road, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 0NR
You can download the spa treatment brochure from here
I confess I’d never done an official walking tour, having shunned them in favour…