So much more than just a spa...

Bethan Evans spends a day at Ther­mae Bath Spa and finds there are plenty of ways to un­wind

Bath Chronicle - - REVIEW -

IT’S one of the most mag­i­cal cities in the coun­try - steeped in Ro­man his­tory and filled with cul­ture and beauty, not to men­tion some of the great­est spots for an af­ter­noon tea, Bath is truly a place like no other to ex­plore. And pos­si­bly one of the best places to ap­pre­ci­ate its rolling hills, beau­ti­ful stone build­ings and the in­cred­i­ble gothic Bath Abbey is from the rooftop pool of the New Royal Bath spa. Sure, what’s not to love about an ope­nair pool on a warm and clear au­tumn day in any place in the West Coun­try? But the New Royal Bath, which is con­sid­ered the main spa area at the Ther­mae Bath Spa, is so much more than an­other cen­tre to get a hot stone mas­sage or put your feet up while your toe­nails are pol­ished. It sits right in the mid­dle of the city, giv­ing you a chance to head out for a lit­tle shop­ping or stroll along the River Avon be­fore or af­ter your swim. The spa also acts as the per­fect hide­away, with floors and floors of tran­quil­lity in a mix­ture of frosted glass, Bath stone, light and water - each giv­ing you some­thing unique and spe­cial. On the se­cond floor you will find the Well­ness Suite - which of­fers a Ro­man and a Ge­or­gian steam room, an in­frared room and ice cham­ber, ex­pe­ri­ence show­ers - com­plete with a range of water pres­sures and rain­for­est tunes - and the ce­les­tial re­lax­ation room with twin­kling lights above you. In the spa’s Min­erva bath you can bathe in nat­u­ral ther­mal wa­ters, and this is just an­other of the many spe­cial fea­tures of the tran­quil home of the New Royal Bath. The ther­mal wa­ters con­tain more than 42 dif­fer­ent min­er­als, and un­til the com­plete restora­tion of the spa in 2006, the nat­u­ral re­source was not used and ended up in the river Avon. Now more than one mil­lion litres of this min­eral-rich water flows from the springs each day and are fully used in Ther­mae Bath Spa. And you re­ally can feel the stresses and wor­ries of a long work­ing week ebb away when you dip your toes into the warm wa­ters of the Min­erva bath or the rooftop pool - where you can en­joy stun­ning views of the city - as well as the mo­ment you step into the treat­ment rooms to en­joy a lux­u­ri­ous mas­sage or fa­cial. There are so many op­tions here it’s rather dif­fi­cult not to hole up in one of these gor­geous rooms filled with mini chan­de­liers and the British brand Aro­mather­apy As­so­ci­ates all day long. I in­dulged in the tai­lor-made fa­cial, which is de­signed to suit ev­ery­one’s in­di­vid­ual skin needs. The ex­tremely friendly and re­laxed ther­a­pist talked through any is­sues with my skin and things I wanted to im­prove and then set to work clean­ing my face, work­ing in le­mon-scented oils and creams, leav­ing my skin so much softer and hy­drated. The treat­ment also comes with a fa­cial mas­sage to help ease ten­sion and tone the mus­cles, as well as a head, neck, arm and hand mas­sage. The treat­ment was so in­cred­i­bly re­lax­ing, and although the treat­ment is at the higher end of what I would pay for a treat­ment - £69 - it lasted for 55 min­utes and it did not feel like it was all over in a flash. I could def­i­nitely feel the ben­e­fits. It is also pos­si­ble to have cou­ples treat­ments at the spa, en­joy hot stone ther­apy - or if you are ex­pect­ing, there is a list of treat­ments per­fect for mums-to-be. If you be­come a lit­tle peck­ish from all of this re­lax­ing, the Springs Cafe Restau­rant is avail­able, of­fer­ing a re­ally var­ied menu. A good tip - get a ta­ble next to a win­dow, where you can look down on to the cob­bled streets and do a lit­tle peo­ple watch­ing. Some­thing else which you can also see from the restau­rant is the Cross Bath. This is an in­ti­mate open-air ther­mal bath, and is a sep­a­rate build­ing, pro­vid­ing an al­ter­na­tive to the more ex­ten­sive spa fa­cil­i­ties in the New Royal Bath. To give you a lit­tle his­tory of the new site - the spot where the Cross Bath now stands, the Celts revered their god­dess Sul, in whose hon­our the Ro­mans named their spa town, Aquae Sulis. The Cross Spring is now recog­nised as an of­fi­cial sa­cred site, and it is here you can re­lax in the oval Cross Bath, watch­ing the nat­u­ral ther­mal wa­ters cas­cade from the spring and a spe­cially com­mis­sioned pool­side foun­tain. You can en­joy the Cross Bath for up to an hour and a half and there is also the op­tion to hire out the area ex­clu­sively - per­haps an an­niver­sary, hen party or even a pro­posal. Feel free to drop this page in the lap of your part­ner at any point.

The New Royal Bath spa is open every day from 9am un­til 9.30pm, with the last full en­try for a two-hour ses­sion be­ing at 7pm. The pools and Well­ness Suite close at 9pm. The Cross Bath is open from 10am to 8pm and the Springs Restau­rant is open from 10am to 9pm.

For a list of spa treat­ments and prices, and to book, visit www.ther­mae­bathspa. com or call 01225 33 1234.

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