A seven months ago, I won a competition by Bedguru for a spa day for two and Greg and I only just got around to using it the weekend before last. The event was a Virgin Experience pack that entailed a back and shoulder massage and free access to the gym, swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi. Please note: These aren’t my photos as I didn’t feel it was appropriate to take photos and the Spa also had a policy on not taking photos.
What is Bannatyne Spa?
The Bannatyne Spa groups are situated all over the country, primarily in the North and Midlands, the closest to us was Oxford as it’s only an hour drive. The voucher can be used for any of the venues, all you need to buy one from the Virgin Experience website, register it and choose your venue and then you’re good to go. Although as a word of warning, please expect up to eight weeks in advance as they can be exceedingly busy!
Once we arrived, we had to fill in a couple of forms stating emergency contacts and our state of fitness, etc. We were then allowed through to the facilities to use as we pleased but as it was about 12:30pm and we had our massage booked in for 1pm, we decided to to wait as there wasn’t a lot of time for much else. We were given the choice of having the massage in our normal clothes or purchasing a dressing gown for £3 for the day. Greg and I thought it would just be easier to purchase the robes and wear our swim gear underneath rather than having to awkwardly strip half naked for the massage therapists.
The spa & massage
Upon entering the spa area, we were greeted by reception and shown to a large room to wait until the massage therapists were ready for us. There were about a dozen deck chair style, heated beds for us to lie on and the room was lit with candles and had relaxation music playing gently in the background. It was certainly a delightful way to relax and get us in the mood.
Most of the massage rooms were for single use at a time but when I booked the appointment they asked as to whether we would like to be in the same room to which I said yes so we were given a double room. The therapists asked us to take the top half of our clothing off and lie on our front, underneath the towels provided. Once we were ready the massage therapists came back in to the room and started to get to work. I had never actually had a massage before so I didn’t really know what to expect.
They started by placing a lotion on our backs and massaging it in and at times used what felt like elbows, rolling pins and hands. I’m going to be honest and say at times it felt painful but a good pain but the majority of it it felt rather pleasant. I’m not entirely sure how long it was but I would say approximately 30 minutes but I can certainly vouch it was worth it! I am one of those people that constantly has a knotty back but after the massage it felt so much looser and just a lot better in general than it had done in a long, long time. After feeling very much relaxed, we were advised to take the rest of the day easy.
What else did the spa have to offer?
As Greg and I hadn’t eaten lunch beforehand, we decided to grab something from their cafe. I had cheesey Welsh Rarebit and he had smoked salmon and eggs benedict on toast, along with a Mocha for me and a black coffee for him. Although the portion sizes weren’t particularly large, they were reasonably cheap, tasty and satisfying. As we were still wearing the robes and our swim gear, we decided to check out the pools. First off we tried the jacuzzi, I hadn’t been in one for I don’t know how long so I was most looking forward to this aside from the massage. Although we didn’t stay in there too long as it was a little crowded. We then tried the sauna and steam room but didn’t stay in these too long either as they were also quite crowded and fairly hard to breath in. However, they did make my lungs feel fresher once I came out of them. The pool actually wasn’t too busy so we had a half an hour swim. Not to self: Remember not to swim in a bikini again as they aren’t particularly great at keeping you covered when moving around in water! We decided to have a quick stop in the sauna and steam room and then on to the gym (Unfortunately the Jacuzzi was really overcrowded and I couldn’t be bothered to wait).
The gym had a large number of up to date equipment which was nice as when I used to go to my local gym, a lot of it was outdated. I haven’t used weights in so long that I didn’t bother with any of that side. Instead I used the treadmill and a step machine which you could change the settings to climb the length of the World’s tallest buildings. I started climbing the Empire State Building but I only got to level 10 as I fancied trying something else. The treadmill had a built in screen that had little videos playing for a selection of circuits. Mine was of a walk round a country park that included lots of dogs which made me keep awwing at them all. Greg decided to use weights and the treadmill as he prefers lifting weights to cardio while I’m the opposite.
We then decided it was time to go home as it was pushing on early evening and we wanted to get home before it was dark. I really enjoyed my spa day out and I think I will be looking at more Virgin Experience days for future adventures. I would just like to say thanks, Bedguru for picking me as the winner. 🙂
Have you ever been to a spa day?