Newest Review: ... 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 exper... more
A relaxing treat!
The Retreat Spa
Member Name: tartlette
The Retreat Spa
Advantages: lovely treatment, very relaxing
Disadvantages: No pool
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.