They say that Paris is the most romantic city in the world. But I beg to differ. I believe it’s Bath.
Thermae Bath Spa is a testament alone to just how romantic Bath can be- with not a child in sight (the spa is only open to those 16 years+), you can truly escape the daily strains and take time out to recuperate, relax and rediscover yourselves; whether rekindling staled relationships (modern life is very chaotic), celebrating something momentous or simply just to be. The spa, and it’s natural hot springs, has the capabilities to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.
The spa’s history is incredible. The healing properties of the natural thermal springs were first discovered 863BC and have been a source for the inhabitants throughout the history of Bath. The thermal waters come from rainwater that sinks below the surface and is heated by high temperature rocks before flowing through the springs found in the Thermae Bath Spa. This natural resource was wasted until 2006 when the spa was developed by the people for the people and involved the reconstruction of five historic buildings including the 18th century Hot Bath and Cross Bath; allowing us to truly enjoy the natural thermae waters as they were enjoyed by the Celts and Romans with a few modern twists. The temperature of the natural thermal waters are on average 45ºc; ensuring enjoyment and comfort whatever the weather or time of year.
From the moment you arrive, the warm and welcoming staff are focused on your needs of comfort and relaxation. You’ll be provided with robes, slippers and towels (all you need is your costume) and a magic band that is your locker key and your money (you pay for your meals/drinks etc. at the end). Leaving your mobile behind is encouraged and the magic band allows you to enjoy the spa’s facilities without having to go back and forth to your locker- everything here is created around ease and enjoyment.
A treatment here is a must! We booked in for a couples aromatherapy massage as relaxation rather than alleviation of muscular tension was our priority. This particular treatment is tailored to an assessment of your current mind and body state (you complete an evaluation form before you meet with your therapist) with the therapists personally selecting a blend of aromatherapy oils that will alleviate determined stressors. The technique is a mixture of light pressure massage, reflexology and indian head massage with an end result in ensuring you’re both relaxed, blissful in a floaty, heady state of contentedness. Initially, I thought that a couples massage would be distracting and make me feel uncomfortable, despite being intimate with the person I was sharing the experience with, but we each had our own therapists focused on our individual, specific needs. Once we’d left, together (the therapists are incredibly in sync), you feel this incredible sense of closeness despite actually having no involvement together. The benefits of the aromatherapy oils (all organic and natural by the way), and massage continue to work into your system once you leave the treatment room. Although I often have massage to relieve muscular tension, this is exactly what I needed- rarely do I have the opportunity to just switch off and relax (who knows how to relax properly nowadays!). The further into the hour session we get, the more I feel all my tensions, stresses and discomforts gladly leave my body- I could happily have stayed there forever. Top Tip: I’m told there are many benefits of a treatment prior to using the spa facilities, namely the use of the hot spring baths after the massage which further deepens the oils capabilities ensuring maximum benefit. Once our treatment is complete, we’re invited into the relaxation zone for a herbal tea to rehydrate and rest before enjoying the other facilities- this is pampering I could get use to.
The spa’s facilities consist of aroma steam rooms, Minerva Bath and open-air rooftop pool. The Minerva Bath, the largest of the thermal baths, is complemented by an invigorating massage jet, whirlpool and lazy river; grab yourself a noodle and allow yourself to float away into a state of tranquility, enjoying the different experiences this bath has to offer.
The steam rooms are a collection of four chambers, each releasing a steam infused with aromatic essence. You’ll find frankincense (perfect for calming and relaxing), sandalwood (anti-inflammatory and natural disinfectant), eucalyptus mint (aids congestion) and lotus flower (natural source of vitamins, minerals and nutrients) scents. Benefits of using steam rooms are endless from aiding in circulation to detoxification; you’ll benefit most from a 15 minute session in each room- ensure you use the waterfall shower before each room to clear your skin of the toxins you distill and drink plenty of water after your session for continued benefits. I particularly love the soothing eucalyptus room.
My absolute favourite aspect of the Thermae Bath Spa has to be the open-air rooftop pool. Day or night you’re guaranteed spectacular views of the city and surrounding hills- it’s quite breathtaking. There is just something so incredible about sitting in hot water in the open air. With more sensory experiences available, ensure you take advantage of the air seats and bubblings jets- just sit back and relax.
You cannot visit the spa without stopping in at the Springs Café Restaurant; the menu, which constantly evolves seasonally, includes, where possible, locally sourced produce and is freshly prepared on the premises by the head chef and team. You’ll not be disappointed; whether sampling a light bite or devouring a scrumptious three course meal, there is something for everyone- each dish created with care and detail. You don’t need to be conscious of time either as it won’t eat into your spa session as extra time will be added to accommodate. I opted for the chicken caesar salad with bacon which was made to perfection and extremely flavourful, whilst Chris decided to try the pan seared royal bream with dauphinoise potatoes and tomato relish- the dauphinoise’ were the creamiest we’d ever had- an absolute highlight. We couldn’t possibly leave without sampling the brownies on display, they looked heavenly and we were not disappointed; crunchy outer crust with a gooey chocolatey centre- perfection! Top Tip: Ask for a table by the window- enjoy the views of the gorgeous limestone buildings that adorn the spa whilst enjoying your meal.
I can’t wait to go back!