There are over 50 beauty salons in Bath. The train stop to reach this city is Bath Spa. The very foundations upon which we live were built on the notions of luxury and healing in the hot springs. Well, these are the reasons I came up with for justifying an in-depth exploration into the activity my new hometown almost demands of me. I decided when in Rome, or in a city which hosts the Roman Baths, do as the Bathonians do. Spa Days.
In the name of research, I decided to go straight to beauty mecca with my first appointment at The Royal Crescent Hotel. A ‘Hero’ treatment and an hour of plunge pools later, I realised I’d had my first hit. The complete body tranquilising experience of TRCH was proverbially dipping my toe in the ocean. Like a junkie now hooked on luxury, I wanted more.
The natural graduation from a two-hour taste-tester is the full-blown menu. I set an entire day aside for marinating my skin in oils, steaming in marbled rooms and being turned over for more and more pampering. I embarked on the Ferrari of Day Spa experiences at Lucknam Park. Being a first timer, everything was delicious; from the fluffy robe you are handed upon arrival to the peppermint tea and biscuit you find waiting next to your private lounge in the relaxation room post-treatment.
Despite the fact you could be guided through your ‘Spa Journey’ blind-folded and still reach Nirvana, there are some unwritten laws when it comes to Spa Etiquette.
The Spa Commandments:
1. Thou shalt not tan before thy visit: fake or real, go natural or face discomfort. When Aromatherapy Salt Scrubs are involved, you do not want freshly sun-exposed skin hacked away at with brush bristles and exfoliator. And if the tan is fake, it will embarrassingly come off layer by layer on fresh white towels.
2. Thou shalt not steal… the fluffy robes no matter how much you want to recreate the moment at home.
3. Thou shalt switch off. This includes thy mind and thy iPhone.
4. Thou shalt abandon all make up efforts and avoid mirrors. In an irony only felt by the female population, going to a beauty parlour means it’s highly likely you will look much worse coming out. When your hair has been filled with oil thanks to that goose-bump conjuring scalp massage, you’ll be grateful for the hat and sunglasses I’m reminding you to pack.
5. Thou shalt indulge. Not to be mistaken for a health retreat, the spa is all about 5-star. Eat the welcome pastries and order the pork belly at lunch.
6. Thou shalt just go with it. Give in to the entire experience; lie back in the disposable undies, let the soft Buddhist music wash over you, take the three deep breaths with your therapist and smell the misty aromatherapy sprays that finish off each treatment like a full stop and finally, believe you will depart unrecognisably younger and refreshed (minus one layer of skin.)
7. Thou shalt lose all inhibitions. This realisation came to me as I sat, wet-haired, make-up free and wearing only a robe while I ate a poached chicken starter at a table next to civilised society who carried on with their work conference. So, between this and hitting the spa in your winter-skin bikini bod, give in.
8. Thou shalt hydrate constantly. When you are spending eight hours ‘flushing toxins’ and quite literally cooking at 80 degress CELCIUS, make sure your water intake is on par with your sweat rate, or you’ll be seeing spots.
9. Thou shalt make friends. One of the standout moments of my spa day was meeting two ladies who had been official girlfriends for 62 years. After chatting for over an hour in the relaxation room, the girls discovered me in the Bath Life at their beds and exclaimed, much to my delight, “we’ll follow you on Twitter!”
10. Thou shalt go again. Make it a ritual. But next time, this writer plans on taking some friends, or her new Twitter buddies.