Leanne Broadhead indulges in a little rest and relaxation. The Ye Olde Bell Hotel has a unique place in most of our hearts and with the introduction of their new spa, many more memories are now set to be made.
I had been frustrated to have not had the opportunity to visit the spa until now and even then, it had taken a herculean effort to just get childcare and escape from work to do so, yet on reflection, this all contributed to my experience becoming all the more special.
The hotel’s website gives you a glimpse of what the spa looks like, but I readily admit I wasn’t prepared for the moment that I walked through the entrance — because it is breath-takingly beautiful. I was warmly greeted by the staff like a long-lost friend and after a much-welcomed drink refreshment, Michelle, one of my Spa Butlers, started off my spa journey with a tour of the facilities. As I left the reception and bar area and made our way in to the spa, words and phrases crept in to my mind, ‘opulent, stunning, quality’. Usually discreet with my opinions until the end of such occasions like these, I surprisingly found myself gushing to Michelle about my initial thoughts. First impressions count and it seemed that, yes indeed, I was already impressed.
The spa has been beautifully designed, with every type of spa-goer catered for. Usually my preference is to find one of the quieter areas and try as best as I can to relax — admittedly I don’t always manage to do so. Yet here, I found it was a place where in a very short space of time, I began to feel as calm as my serene surroundings. Torn between wanting to immediately kick back and relax on one of the large bamboo beds, whilst also trying hard to contain my excitement to get stuck in, I realised there was so much to experience and I regretted our decision to not have tried harder to enable Julian to come with me.
Many spas are now introducing hot and cold and sensory experiences and the Spa at Ye Olde Bell has dramatically taken this to the next level, with bespoke crafted exposures at every step — some of which are completely exclusive to the UK. I love heat, but often shy away from saunas as I find many overbearing. However, the spa’s four saunas are each set at different temperatures. Initially I tried the Herbal Room which offers a gentle warm ambience in a traditional wooden setting, fragranced by herbs grown from the Spa’s own herb garden. This was a lovely start, but surprisingly I found myself seeking more heat, so I moved on to the Stone Room. I loved this room. It’s as described, with smooth slate and stone covering the walls and floor and a unique feature in the middle of the sauna which creates more heat, I’ll not say anymore, because I’ve got to leave some things a surprise — but it was very calming to watch. Now suitably warmed, I decided it was time for a plunge and sunk down in to one of the bubble chairs in the vitality pool. There are nine different water therapy experiences in the indoor/outdoor vitality pool and after trying them out, I moved on to the other five outside, which is easily accessed by a sliding door inside the pool. After days of rain it felt as though the sun had come out just for me and I basked in the sunlight while being suitably massaged by one of the hydrotherapy chairs.
The outdoor space is just as exquisite as the internal areas. Just like inside, it also flows from area to area, with heated mosaic sun loungers (one of my favourite spaces), and a large wicker enclosed seat, which the staff lovingly call ‘The Big Apple’. Set to a backdrop of pine trees, with seating styled as cabins, decorated with plush faux furs and blankets, you could be forgiven in thinking you had been whisked away to either the Swiss Alps or a Nordic destination.
My lunch served at the Herb Garden Brasserie was divine and four hours had seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. It was then time for my treatment — a Turkish Ritual Massage and I was led upstairs to one of the six treatment rooms at the spa. My therapist was Claire, who coincidentally we discovered, lived down the road from me, and she expertly carried out my saffron body massage with stretches, focussing on my neck, back and shoulders. She also advised on how to best to move forward with my heavily knotted back and shoulders. She took the time to understand my personal needs and this was really appreciated.
Spa at Ye Olde Bell is undoubtedly one of the best spas I have ever visited, a point wholeheartedly agreed with by the Good Spa Guide who last month awarded them with five ‘bubbles’. The staff found out on the day of my visit — they were over the moon and it’s well-deserved. Yet despite all this, it really is what the customer thinks that is driving the motivation to create the most customer-led experience I’ve ever experienced in a spa. From the moment you are greeted, to waving goodbye, you genuinely feel looked after and that they really care.
I have not had time to mention in detail at least half of what I enjoyed on the day, including the salt inhalation room, the snowstorm experience, express beauty lounge and hair boutique, a Sabbia Med sunlight therapy room and so much more. Thankfully the spa offers packages to suit everyone, from half day experiences to twilight packages. You can spa as a couple, on your own, with friends and even as a mum to be — oh how I could have used that last year!
We already have our eyes on one of the couple packages — well that’s my excuse for a return visit fairly soon!
I am an extremely lucky lady! I may not always feel that way, but there are times when you must take stock and admit that ‘life is good!’ The day I spent at the recently-opened Spa at Ye Olde Bell was certainly one of those occasions.
Spa at Ye Olde Bell
Barnby Moor, Retford DN22 8QS 01777 705121