* Prices may differ from that shown
Further to the comment below, my bank has now reimbursed me, thankfully!
I got a voucher from this place and was a bit disappointed to find out they have no swimming pool. I emailed them to ask a question about what my treatment/voucher included and I never got a reply. Now the website says they are closed and I have paid for my voucher.....dont know what to do now!
I was offered two tickets for a discounted rate for the Retreat Spa through my work which I thought I'd use for my fiancee's birthday gift. This consisted of use of the aroma steam room, hydrotherapy pool, a rasul treatment for two and a back/neck/shoulder massage for us both and a light lunch included. Although we got a heavily discounted rate, this would probably be tipping near £100 each I conservatively estimated. As the other reviewer noted, the setting for the Spa is, quite bizarrely, set in an industrial unit which proved tricky to find as signing isn't particularly good. However, once you get into the Spa unit, you'll be pleasantly surprised as it has been decorated to a reasonably high standard. We went mid-morning on a Saturday and the place was almost deserted. There appeared to be only one duty manager on, other than two or three cleaning staff and a masseus. However, the lady I will assume to be the manager from now on was very friendly and showed us to the changing rooms to change into our robes. We also got a towel each but no slippers on this occasion. Lockers were provided for free which was nice. The changing rooms were very clean and kept to a high standard. It would appear that this Spa is not very old at all. We were then shown the 'hydrotherapy' pool which is basically a jacuzzi. However, it was quite spacious since there were only two of us in there and nice and clean. Lighting is very low level and meant to induce a calming mood I imagine, pleasant enough. We were told we had an hour to use the steam room and the jacuzzi, sorry, 'hydrotherapy' pool, although I can't imagine anyone really wanting any more than 30-40 mins since they are the only facilities in this part of the spa. And sure enough, about 40 mins later we were asked by the reception lady if we wanted to have our Rasul treatment.
The Rasul treatment was quite bizarre. We were shown to another room, again, very clean and pleasant. We were shown that there were two bowls of clay which we were told we should rub onto our bodies to aid in alleviating any skin problems and for just treating the skin. One bowl was for more sensitive areas, the other a more general 'mud'. I had in my mind that we would have someone applying this for us but we were just told to get into the mini-steam room and apply the mud ourselves which seemed a little unprofessional really. The lady turned on the steam machine and left us to it although it took a good 15mins before the steam was at a workable level so we had to just chat amongst ourselves and wait. We duly applied the mud and waited in the steamy mist for the magic to work and then got a shock when the automatic showers kicked in and doused the steam and washed us down. It just seemed a very surreal, DIY, treatment which I am led to believe from the price-list isn't normally cheap.
So once we'd had a wash-down we were taken by the receptionist/manager upstairs, still no sign of any other customers. We waited in a small-ish lounge area for our massages and asked to help ourselves to the orange-juice/water left out for us which was nice. Whilst we waited on the sun-loungers, we were only able to entertain ourselves with some (very) outdated magazines, all women's. I should imagine that women are the main clients at the spa, but a couple of men's car/sports mags might have been nice. Also, since the lighting was such low level, it was quite difficult to read them! There was a TV in the lounge area but it wasn't on and I daren't touch it.
The masseus appeared who was very quiet but very nice asked us to fill in a couple of questionnaires about our health and what we wanted from the massage which we duly filled in. I thought we would have our massages at the same time but we were informed it would be one after another so I waited and read the women's mags whilst my other half had her massage. Since there were no clocks it was difficult to gauge how long the massage was but she was gone at least 20-25 mins I estimated.
She came back looking suitable relaxed and I followed the masseus in shortly after. Although advertised as a back, neck and shoulder, it was predominantly back-focused. Due credit to the masseus, she asked about any trouble areas or if I wanted just a general massage. I had a bit of a knot in my shoulder blade so informed her and she set to work. The room was nice and clean and calming, low level lights again. The only niggle I had was that the massage table didn't have a hole for your face to go through so I had to endure a bit of an awkward position with my face squashed on the table side-ways whilst I had my massage.
The massage was very nice and over far too quickly for my liking! Afterwards, my fiancee and I met back at the little lounge by which time a couple more customers had turned up. We were then served a light lunch which was OK. It consisted of a bit of salad, three small triangular sandwiches (the filling of which was off-the-shelf sandwich fillers from the supermarket sadly) and some crisps and more orange juice. I wouldn't have paid more than a couple of quid for it if I'd had to pay extra for it.
After that it was back to the jacuzzi, sorry, 'hydrotherapy' pool, for a bit before the receptionist/manager told us that whilst she wasn't asking us to leave, she did have another party coming in; which very much felt like we WERE being asked to leave. So, back to the changing rooms/showers. The showers were very clean and they provided shampoo/shower gel for you in dispensers which was nice.
Overall, I know I shouldn't complain as I only paid a fraction of the normal prices but if I had paid full price I'd have been sorely disappointed. Whilst the facilities were of a high standard in terms of cleanliness and presentation, this spa REALLY lacks a swimming pool but I guess there's no space to put one, really. Also, it just lacked that personal touch for me. It just felt like, here's this, here's that, sort yourself out, see you in a bit; other than the massage which was for me, the highlight. In fact, if I was to go back again, I'd settle purely for the massage but you can get that anywhere.
Assuming it's a new spa that's not been open long, I'd say they've done fairly well. There were just a lot of little niggles for me that spoilt the whole experience and they do need to address the DIY-style Rasul treatment which just felt unprofessional.
I'd say if this was a gift, you won't be too disappointed but if you're paying good money for a relaxing Spa experience, you will be. I'd recommend Bath Spa as a far superior experience in every respect if you're paying your hard-earned cash.
In summary, pretty average.
Recently Mr Tart and I celebrated the first anniversary of our meeting. I was waiting with bated breath to see what might present he might have got me. He's been amazing at getting me just the right thing so far so I was feeling hopeful. He arrived at mine with some champagne, smoked salmon and a card in a fancy present bag. Good start I thought. I opened the card, nothing fell out but there was a note, saying 'you're probably wondering where your present is, well I'm taking you to Swindon to throw mud at you'. Hm, interesting! After further investigation I found out that he was taking us to a spa in Swindon for a joint treatment. Well done Mr Tart!
The Retreat Spa is located in Unit 24, Hobley Drive, Swindon. Yes I did say 'unit' and yes it is actually located in an industrial estate. I was a little apprehensive when the sat nav directed us here, surely this was all wrong and I should be in the countryside, surrounded by trees? No, apparently this was correct. It's not very well signposted off the road but when you see the industrial estate turn into it and you should see it from there. It took us about 40 minutes to get there from Bath.
Mr Tart had seen the particular treatment that he's booked us in for on one of those red letter day packages. However, they were quite expensive on there so he looked to see if he could book through the spa themselves.
So having got over the shock of the industrial estate we went into the spa. We had to fill out the forms that all these spas seem to have. My favourite question is always 'How do you feel?' followed by 'how do you want to feel when you leave' to which Mr Tart put 'good' and 'better', yes, well I never said I was with him for his imagination! Once through this we were shown to our respective changing rooms. The woman from the front desk showed me how to use the spa facilities (no, they don't involve a lot of instruction!). We were provided with a towel, slippers and towelling robe each. The robes were functional, but the towels were really fluffy and luxurious.
The changing rooms were very clean. There were plenty of lockers, which you don't need any money for. There were two showers which also had shampoo, conditioner and body wash in, and a hair dryer for afterwards (an essential for my mop!).
Mr Tart and I then made our way through to the main spa area. Unlike most spas this one doesn't have a pool. I was a little disappointed by this but there really wouldn't have been room for one in the space. There was a hot tub and a steam room. The hot tub was lovely, just the right temperature. There were lights on the side to show when it was charged (this is what I was told by the lady - maybe they just don't want you to have the bubbles on all the time!). The bubble mechanism took about 5 minutes to recharge which was a little frustrating but it was nice just to laze around in the warm water. The steam room was very hot (I know, I know, it's meant to be like that!). It was lovely, but I couldn't stay in there for longer than about 5 minutes. The steam room was really dark and there were little fairy type lights in the ceiling which changed colour. I loved the effect and found the room very relaxing. The main room with the hot tub had colour changing lights as well. The lighting changed subtly from red to green to blue etc. I really liked this effect as well. In this area there was also some seating. There were two loungers and two chairs. This wasn't really enough as there were two other people there who had already taken the loungers and the chairs weren't nearly so nice to sit on. There was also a table with a jug of cold water and glasses for you to help yourself. Above the table was a flat screen TV but it wasn't on and I'm not sure what it would be used for (although Mr Tart was desperate to find out if it could get Sky Sports for the cricket!).
After an hour in the spa part we were taken off for our treatment. Mr Tart had booked a Rasul. I had absolutely no idea what this was. This is the description from the spa's website 'A rasul is a traditional arabian body treatment involving steam, aromas and mud. Slathered in mineral rich muds of various colours. You will be sat amongst heated walls and heated seating.'. We were taken into a room with a shower and connecting to the treatment room. The lady showed us a plate with three dishes on it. Each dish had a different coloured mud in it. She explained that one of the muds was for the face, another was for the body and the third was for areas of rough skin like elbows and feet. She explained that once she turned on the switch the room would start to heat and eventually fill with steam. The room has two seats at each end but there's enough room to sit on the same one (well it was our anniversary!). Although she did say that it might take a few minutes to start steaming, we were getting a bit worried when it took so long. It did start to steam eventually. Once the steam has been on for a couple of minutes you can rub the mud into your skin easily. The mud felt really nice and was also good for massaging (again it was our anniversary!!). It was all incredibly relaxing and I think it was one of the most sensual things you can do without the possibility of it ending in sex! The steam lasted for about 15 minutes and then the showers came on over our heads to wash the mud off. You could use the shower outside if the ones inside the actual rasul didn't wash all the mud off.
Once we'd finished the treatment we were shown up to the lounge area where the lady offered us herbal tea or fruit juice. This area was upstairs and had a few loungers. It was surrounded by the treatment rooms and had relaxing music and lighting.
The spa offers a lot of other treatments. There are facials, massages, mud treatments, hot stone treatments, manicures and pedicures and waxing. There are special male treatments available as well. I think some of the treatments are quite pricey. Our rasul cost £60 for both of us which I thought was quite pricey for the time we were in there. It was a lovely treatment but we agreed that it wasn't quite long enough. A pedicure is £40 which I think it very expensive. However, I looked at the prices for waxing and a brazilian costs £11 which I think is a real bargain as I usually pay £25 in Bath for this. An hour massage is £50 and a facial is £45.
Despite being in a very random location I would highly recommend this spa. The staff were very friendly and helpful. The hot tub and steam room were lovely and relaxing. The treatment that we had was wonderful and I would certainly do it again. Even Mr Tart (who is not really the spa type) enjoyed it a lot (and didn't complain about missing too much of the cricket!). The prices for lots of the treatments seem reasonable to me - about average for spas. I think that our treatment could have lasted longer. If you're looking for a spa to go for the whole day then I don't think that this is the place as I would expect a pool and a restaurant for a day spa. However, for individual treatments and a bit of pampering this place is ideal and I would certainly go back.