Times are hard and there are few people out there who have managed to escape the stresses and strains of modern day life from entering their system, but luckily there is a prevalence of luxury spas designed to remove all signs of stress, leaving you a smiling, glowing version of your former self. While this ideal is easy to picture in our minds, finding the perfect luxury spa can be a little tricky, especially if you are trying to find a balance between quality and price.
There is nothing worse than looking forward to a luxury spa experience all week, only to discover on arrival that the towels have stains, the pool is littered with sand and the restaurant is one step up from a Little Chef. Depending on what you are looking for there is a spa experience out there for every budget and every demand. It is just a case of finding it.
What Type of Spa do YOU want?
The first step in finding the spa that you need is deciding what you want. The term spa can cover a multitude of different locations, so define what it is you are looking for. Do you want a quiet, simple location with a pool, a cafe and a cosy chair to snuggle up and read in after a nice relaxing swim? Are you looking for the full, deluxe experience of pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, treatments and a 4 star restaurant? Is it more of a boot camp experience you need, with gym equipment, classes, swimming pool and a sports massage to finish with?
The list is extensive and while there are some spas that can cater to all of these needs, in most cases it is advisable to seek out a specific spa for your individual needs. Some are designed specifically with couples in mind, offering a romantic retreat or even a honeymoon experience, whereas others will be more suited to families, with activities designed to entertain the children while the parents relax in peace, or even family fun spas where the whole family can play and relax together. There are also spas that cater for group outings, such as hen and stag parties. Few people want to relax in the same spa as several groups of hens or stags, so it is important to find a venue that is suited to your needs.
What to Avoid
In the search for the ideal spa there are a few things to beware of. While heavily advertised and low priced spa deals and coupons can sometimes be wonderful value, in general the owner is trying to make up for a lack of interest, which suggests at low quality. It also often results in a sudden spike in interest that can make the experience quite unpleasant. Yes, you might have saved on 50% of the price, but you also have to share the spa with 10 times as many customers and in a venue that is ill-equipped to cope with the sudden interest. That being said, there are times when the deals are genuinely offering a good service for a special, one-time-only price.
The only way to be sure of what you are getting is to check the reviews and find out what other people are saying. If you are looking for somewhere for a special occasion it is advisable to seek recommendations through word of mouth rather than taking advantage of deals, so that you don’t run the risk of being disappointed by poor a quality service.
The UK spa experience can differ substantially from an overseas spa, so learn to balance your expectations. It is quite rare to find a spa that offers the same experience with salt baths, mineral water or hydrotherapy treatments that many spas in Eastern Europe offer, but they are still available in the UK. Consider location, spa type, guest type and price when you research a venue. Thanks to the widely available internet reviews we can now find out exactly what people are saying about a spa experience without the need of visiting it ourselves. If you do your research and listen to the advice of friends and relatives and you will find a high quality venue that can quickly become a favourite destination.
In general, if a spa offers a monthly gym membership to the general public then it will probably not be a suitable spot for a special occasion such as a birthday, anniversary or honeymoon. Try to find somewhere that specialises in treatments for this type of occasion and you are much less likely to be disappointed. If you do the leg work before your visit then you will find yourself able to sit back and relax, safe in the knowledge that you have made the right decision.
By Neil Sheth