The Hetling Pump Room
Hot Bath Street
Bath BA1 1SJCall 01225 331234
I’ve never been one of those people who’s particularly at home in my own company – especially on an outing or excursion – preferring more the interaction of others and the sharing of experiences. As such, a solo trip to Thermae Bath Spa, complete with tailor-made 50-minute facial and an interim lunch in The Springs Cafe & Restaurant, was one I was a little daunted by. I needn’t have been.
Despite having had plenty of time to prepare and plan my day, I still managed to forget my swimming shorts, but fear not: The No. 8 shop in reception stocks all you need to not scare the other Spa users, as well as a selection from the Pevonia skincare range – more of which later.
The whole operation here is slick; from checking in, picking up your robes and slippers, securing your locker and paying for food, drink and treatments – the swiping of your wristband as a transaction and settling up at the end of play could not be simpler.
Thermae Bath Spa is the only spa in the UK to offer bathing in naturally warm spring waters and, from the off, on the lower ground floor in the Minerva Bath, that’s exactly what I enjoyed. My preconceptions of possibly being a little bit ‘lonely’ quickly faded as I fully immersed myself performing gentle lengths in a very big bath. My bathroom suite at home simply does not offer-up this opportunity. Within the Minerva Bath there is also a massage jet, a whirlpool and a lazy river.
Moving up a couple of floors you reach the Steam Rooms and Waterfall Shower, a dedicated level devoted to ensuring you are gently relieved of fluids in the essential oil-scented, glass-enclosed booths that really do revitalise and refresh.
A quick cold shower then it’s off to the pièce de résistance, The Rooftop Pool. By day or by night the views offered of the city and surrounding hills are breathtaking, and that coupled with the natural warm water and evaporating steam make for an idyllic and ‘wow factor’ experience. I could have stayed there for hours.
I couldn’t however as I was booked in for my treatment in one of the many rooms in the Hot Bath area. Being a part-time rugby player and outdoorsy type I maybe should have opted for a deep massage, but inquisition got the better of me and I plumped instead for the 50-minute facial; basically sleeping while having your head played with. I know now why dogs look so content when you scratch behind the ears. Despite attempts to stay awake – much like battling a general anaesthetic – it wasn’t going to happen as I was expertly taken through a medley of cleansing, toning, masking, rehydrating and exfoliation with their chosen range of Pevonia skincare products.
I didn’t wake up a new man, but I was as comfortably lethargic as I have ever known and, after a few minutes in the relaxation room adjoining The Hot Bath lunch beckoned.
There is something quite odd about sitting to eat in robes and slippers, but I was one of many so the feeling soon abated. The Springs Cafe & Restaurant offers light, healthy (albeit I did have a beer) and tantalising options that won’t undo all the good work and keep you in that health- conscious zone for a little longer. I enjoyed the breaded Gruyère cheese escalope followed by the king prawn noodles. Both dishes delivered oodles of flavour and the king prawns packed a punch to boot.
Another trip up and down the lift saw me complete a further circuit of the facilities, once again the Rooftop Pool being a particular highlight and ‘going home time’ was delayed as long as possible.
The Thermae Bath Spa suits all, is an experience that all Bath residents should take advantage of at least once and all visitors to the city should be made aware of. As it turned out going on my own was not just a pleasure, it really did mean I could do everything exactly ‘in my own time’ and that set me up perfectly to complete my ‘ladies that lunch’ day with a bit of early evening shopping in the many surrounding excellent shops that Bath houses.
For a full breakdown of facilities, treatments, history and prices you really should visit the website as just a page in a magazine is nowhere near enough space to do The Thermae Bath Spa the justice it so deserves…