“ Address: Leeds Road / Nelson / Lancashire BB9 9TD / England „
This little spa is a little piece of heaven bizarrely stuck in the middle of a not too heavenly place (apologies if you are from Nelson, I know there are some nice parts of it really!).
I have known that the spa was there ever since it opened and I don't live far away but had never bothered to give it a try until Valentines day this year. A few people had been and mentioned how nice it was so I had a look at the website.
As well as the usual jacuzzi etc type things you can book a range of different treatments, massages etc but my eye was drawn to a special offer (whilst this seemed to be aimed at the valentines day period I think is something which is on offer at other times too). The offer was a 2 hour spa session with a rasai mud treatment for two people for £36, which having now experienced this I have to say is an absolute bargain! (There are usually various other special offers on the website too).
I booked it for myself & my boyfriend for valentines day itself, I did this a couple of weeks before just to make sure it didn't get fully booked on that day, the booking process was simple and I was given a list of different times I could choose from. I was pleased to discover that I didn't have to pay for it at the time of booking either, we just paid when we arrived.
Upon arriving the place smelt lovely as there were a couple of aromatherapy type candles burning behind the reception desk and it had a nice chilled out atmosphere to it. We were each asked to fill in a medical type form, pretty standard for places like this and were then each handed a lovely fluffy towel & bathrobe and shown to the changing rooms, the lady dealing with us explained where to find the main spa area and what would happen when it was time for our mud treatment.
The spa area itself is lovely, there is a lovely hot jacuzzi pool in the centre surrounded by different rooms which you can nip in and out of as you liked. There is an aromatherapy steam room, a salt inhalation room (which was very lovely but also amazingly hot & steamy and made your eye sting after a while so it is difficult to sit in there for too long!!) and also two sauna style rooms, one which is more like steam and one which is more of a dry heat like a traditional sauna. In addition to this, near the jacuzzi pool there are two monsoon showers which blast you with either really hot or really cold water, whichever your preference. The hot option is fab, my boyfriend wimped out of the cold option (!) and I have to say it was incredibly cold so is only for the brave!! There is also a bowl of ice flakes which you can rub over yourself to invigorate your skin, strangely nice. Then at the far side there is a gorgeous mosaic seating area with 3 foot baths which you can just fill up with lovely warm water and choose whether you want jet bubbles too whilst you just relax, my feet felt lovely afterwards!
So, there was plenty to keep us happy for the couple of hours we were in there and I could honestly have stayed in longer. When it was time for our treatment the lady came & found us in the spa (no need for us to keep checking the clock which was nice, she told us just to hang out in the spa and she'd find us when it was time).
The mud treatment was a bit of an experience! We were shown into a small room with a seat at either side and a small table with 4 types of mud on. One, she explained, was for our faces & necks, one for legs, one for arms and chest and one for eveywhere else. We were to apply the mud to ourselves, or to each other and the room would slowly fill up with steam to open our pores and allow the mud to cleanse us. Well, as soon as she closed the door the steam slowly started and we began to apply the mud, by the time we had done our faces & arms we couldn't see each other and by the time we had done our legs we couldn't see the table with the mud on and were groping around trying to find the correct mud for the correct bit! We then sat in our respective seats, thankfully she had left us each a cup of water, boy did I need it! The main problem for me was that I had (stupidly) left my contact lenses in and so the mud dripping down my face & into my eyes was cauising me problems! However, even my boyfriend was struggling as the mud slid down his face and he could barely see either, it was in our eyes, in our mouths & we couldn't wipe it off as it was also all over our hands! Well all we could do was laugh really & by the time the 20 minutes were up we couldn't wait to get into the showers outside the door! I had to walk out of the room and find the shower with my eyes closed as I just couldn't open them! By the time we had got the showers going and rinsed ourselves clean (which took some considerable time!) we felt great. It was a lovely experience but if you are going to do it just consider whether you do really want to put the mud on your face, or at least consider not putting it on your forehead so it can't slip down into your eyes! It took two showers to completely get rid of the mud, it really does get everywhere!
The changing room area is quite nice, my only criticism being that there was only 1 private changing room in the ladies, the rest was just communal ! Now I'm not too bothered about changing in front of other women but it would have been nice to have the option! There were showers in the changing area, and these were private, and also there was a nice big mirror area with tissues and hairdryers (no money required to work these).
One other lovely thing we found was that it wasn't too busy, now we had booked a treatment so obviously they can only fit so many of those in one day but I'm guessing they also limited the general number of people in who were just using the spa bit as I would have expected it to be quite busy on valentines day. Most of the time when we were sat in the various steam rooms there was only the two of us in there and there was only ever one or two other people in the jacuzzi at the same time. It is nioce that they keep it quiet like this as it adds to the relaxing feeling, I hate places who allow themselves to become too crowded and ruin it.
All in all, it was such a lovely way to spend an afternoon and we both felt so refreshed afterwards. There is a little cafe area where you can get snacks and teas, coffees etc though we didn't try this as we decided to go to the pub instead!!
Having looked at the price list since you can actually have a 2 hour spa session, without a treatment, for just £11 each, which is very affordable and well worth doing. We are definately going to do this now and then as a nice but not too costly treat.
I'm giving it 5 stars as I really can't think of anything I would suggest to improve it, the communal changing rooms didn't bother me personally and for the price I think it is very luxurious.
Nelson is a strange little town. Aside from the fact that it's named after the Lord Nelson pub rather than directly after Lord Nelson himself, it is also regularly listed in the press as the cheapest place to buy a house in the UK. Considering you can pick up a dilapidated terrace house for £30,000 or less, I can't argue that fact. It's a town with little to boast except perhaps a new bus station, a few decrepit pubs and a Poundstretcher store. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that Nelson is also home to Inside Spa, a modern and chic day spa.
Funded by Pendle Leisure Trust, Inside Spa is located within Pendle Wavelengths leisure centre and is just a brief walk from the town centre and bus station. Having viewed the website, my friend's husband decided to treat us both to a day at the spa as an early Christmas present. The pictures online appeared lavish and very trendy and I had my doubts as to whether these were stock photos or the real thing. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that in reality, Inside Spa was even better than their website let on.
As we were welcomed to the reception desk we were given possibly the most comfortable bathrobes I have come across in my life. My friend and I had been treated to a full say spa experience which included lunch and three treatments in the afternoon so for the morning, we were free to use the spa facilities at our leisure. The spa experience started for us with a trip to the aromatherapy room. The heated mosaic benches certainly grabbed our attention as we sat and chatted in the olbas oil infused room, which boasted a starry lit ceiling and gentle colour changing lighting. Unfortunately, this was perhaps the drabbest area of the spa. If I had have been suffering with a cold, I may have appreciated the eucalyptus vapours but instead we soon found ourselves getting bored and so ventured off to explore the rest of the facilities.
The monsoon showers were certainly a unique experience where 50 litres of water per minute will leave you looking like a drowned rat. The water comes in two temperature options which the spa advertises as 'invigoratingly cold' or 'hot.' In reality, the invigoratingly cold option would be better described as a pneumonia inducing arctic freeze. The hot was about the temperature I use when showering at home and wasn't uncomfortably warm. The next step for me was the ice fountain where you'll find a large glass bowl filled with ice flakes which you rub into your body to stimulate circulation. Surprisingly, rubbing ice onto my extremities wasn't as uncomfortable as I'd imagined it would be but my friend still declined to partake in this practice. And so feeling suitably exhilarated and a little chilly, we headed to the sanarium which is very similar to a sauna only less hot and less dry. This is where you get the opportunity to lie flat out and imagine yourself on a desert island until boredom once again takes control and you find yourself needing to move on.
The foot spas were next on our list and again the heated mosaic benches made for a comfortable pampering treat as we filled the foot baths and set them off. The bubbles were powerful, the water nice and hot and frankly, I could have spent all morning here. The only gripe I had with the foot spas was that the jacuzzi effect seemed to have a timer that only lasted a couple of minutes but I soon learnt the trick of kicking the button with my foot so that the lavish massaging bubbles would recommence. The hydrotherapy pool is impossible to miss right in the centre of the spa as you enter. It resembled a very large jacuzzi but there were plenty of extra features to ensure you felt totally relaxed. If you feel like forgetting your woes, then there is a seated area at the back of the pool where you can enjoy a simple jacuzzi experience. Wander into the centre though and there were two power showers that provided the most amazing back massages. There were also some strange metal sun lounger areas within the water where you could lie and enjoy a massage from all angles. The power of the bubbles was far stronger than I've experienced in a jacuzzi before and floating around in the hydrotherapy pool was definitely a highlight of the morning. The spa also offers a sauna and salt inhalation steam room which were no different to any other sauna or steam room I've ever used.
My friend and I visited on a Monday and there were 5 other people in the spa during the morning. This meant we could wander from room to room and spent most of the time on our own. The spa is mixed sex but everyone seemed comfortable and relaxed wandering around in swimming costumes. There had obviously been a lot of attention to detail when creating the spa and the glamorous bronzed tiles, heated seating and general high standard of all the rooms meant we could easily have been forgotten we were in Nelson as it felt more on a par with an expensive hotel spa.
At lunchtime, we sat in the small café area by the reception and enjoyed baguettes and lots of freshly percolated black coffee. The staff did keep trying to convince me to switch my coffee filled mug with mineral water but they soon realized that no one comes between me and my caffeine addiction. And then the afternoon's treatments began and my friend and I were lead into separate rooms where, having overcome the initial horrors of panpipe music, I soon found myself feeling blissfully relaxed which was quite a feat considering this was during the period when my insomnia was at its worst.
As part of the package we had been booked for, we received 3 treatments and were pampered for just over 1 and a half hours. We both received a full body massage followed by a Decleor facial and finished off with a GHD Spa hair treatment. During this time I can honestly say I never opened my eyes once and the beautician who carried out all of my treatments quickly established that I was not in the mood for small talk and left me to relax. I could have easily drifted asleep but the fear of snoring prevented me from doing so.
The massage was pure heaven. My only previous experience of a massage had been from an ex who would start out enthusiastically and within 30 seconds would be absent mindedly rubbing my shoulder with one hand whilst the other reached for the TV remote. Fortunately, my massage at Inside Spa was far more enthusiastic, without being too rigorous. She kneaded out knots I never even knew existed and once I got over the initial surprise of having my bum massaged, I was free to relax and enjoy the experience. Only a few words of encouragement were required to get me to turn over and then the facial began which was perfectly tailored to my skin type following an earlier consultation. And finally came the GHD Spa treatment which involved lots of lotions and potions being put into my hair and more opportunity for me to lie back and wonder which idiot decided panpipe music was relaxing.
And then it was over. A candle was flickered in front of my shut eyes and I was given a glass of water and given time to wake up and make my way to the showers where I was met by my friend whose experience had been entirely different. She had spent the whole afternoon chatting to her beautician (at her request, I hasten to add) and was quite bubbly and energetic. Her only complaint had been the vigour with which she had been massaged and she told me how she was made to feel as if she had wronged her masseuse in a previous life as she was contorted and manipulated into positions even the acrobats from Cirque de Soleil would struggle to replicate. However, the facial and hair treatment made up for that followed by a lovely meal and copious volumes of wine, again paid for by the charming Mr B.
Overall, I was more than pleasantly surprised by my day at Inside Spa and Mr B has promised to treat us both again for my friend's birthday next month. Despite my meagre NHS salary though, I could probably afford to treat myself every once in a while. The 'Make Your Own' pamper day which we enjoyed costs £59 per person and includes lunch, a morning in the spa and 3 treatments of your choice in the afternoon. You can also pay simply to use the spa facilities without partaking in any of the treatments and there are plenty of offers on the Inside Spa website to give you food for thought. If someone would have told me 6 months ago that the murky town of Nelson was home to this secret idyll, I never would have believed them but having experienced this lavish Narnia for myself, I will definitely be making the trip to Nelson more often.
If you're looking for more details, you can check out the Inside Spa website here www.insidespa.co.uk
Enjoy a relaxing day being pampered with one of the many treatments available.