as a spa first-timer I wasn’t sure what to ex­pect. I knew there would be fluffy dressing gowns, tow­els and steam, but what else?

En­er­gise Pentney Fit­ness and Spa is tucked out of the way in lovely old flint build­ings on the out­skirts of the vil­lage. We were greeted warmly, given our fluffy es­sen­tials and a tour of the fa­cil­i­ties and went off to change ahead of our treat­ments.

Be­ing a lit­tle stiff of back these days, I had cho­sen the Thalgo three al­gae back treatment and mas­sage. Af­ter an in­tro­duc­tory brief­ing in the rather lovely Ocean treatment room, all soft lights, co­coon-like warmth and sooth­ing sounds, I climbed on the couch and awaited the min­is­tra­tions of Fred­er­icka.

The last back mas­sage I had was about eight years ago; from mem­ory it was more like a pun­ish­ment beat­ing, es­pe­cially com­pared with what oc­curred here. Warm oils were ap­plied, ex­pertly smoothed around and tense mus­cles gen­tly eased.

I lost track of what was ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing but at some point the al­gae was gen­tly added and my back was wrapped while my legs were given an ex­pert mas­sage and more ten­sions were squeezed out.

I don’t think I have ever been as re­laxed, phys­i­cally, as I was on that ta­ble. I felt like I might just pour through the face hole in the ta­ble into a pud­dle on the floor; it was amaz­ing. On the ad­ja­cent ta­ble, Mrs C was en­joy­ing a sim­i­lar trip into per­fumed bliss…

“I chose a full body aro­mather­apy mas­sage which was de­liv­ered by the ex­pe­ri­enced hands of Josie. Af­ter of­fer­ing a choice of warmed, fra­granced oils, she started by work­ing on my back, ex­pertly knead­ing out all the many knots be­fore work­ing her magic on my neck, legs, feet and arms, a sec­tion at a time, un­til, like Dom, I be­lieved I would melt, not only through the face hole in the ta­ble, but over the sides as well. Ex­quis­ite.”

Like all good things, it even­tu­ally came to an end and we emerged, blink­ing, into the day­light and a spot of lunch; an ex­cel­lent chicken cae­sar salad for me and a fine salmon and av­o­cado salad for her­self.

Af­ter­wards I pot­tered off to do the rounds of the spa – the salt­wa­ter steam was a par­tic­u­lar favourite - and there is some­thing quite lovely about be­ing in a warm pool out­side while it is rain­ing. A bit of a swim in the main pool and I was done.

Mrs C, mean­while, was en­trusted to Megan’s skil­ful care for a deluxe pedi­cure; an hour of buff­ing, rub­bing and polishing which left her pinkies very perky.

It was a de­light­ful first ex­pe­ri­ence – and it cer­tainly won’t be the last.

Do­minic Cas­tle

ABOVE: The out­door pool at En­er­gise Pentney

ABOVE: Re­lax­ing room with a view

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