EDB editor Leanne Fawcett popped along to Seaham Hall Hotel and Serenity Spa for her first solo spa experience, giving her the chance to recharge the batteries after having a baby boy seven months ago. Here’s what she thought…
I LOVE spa days. They’re the perfect way to have a break, a pamper and a bit of ‘me’ time away from the chaos of everyday life. I’m lucky enough to have experienced spa breaks at some of the region’s nicest hotels, as well as sampling facilities at spas within five-star hotels abroad. But never have I been to a spa on my own. However, I’m one of those people who loves their own company so the idea of spending the day relaxing, being pampered and having a bit of lunch and a glass of wine was nothing short of bliss. And let me tell you, after welcoming my beautiful baby boy Ellis in April (avid readers of our magazine will know he’s a regular in here), I needed it.
So, it was with a mix of excitement and anxiousness that I set off to Seaham for my first spa experience since before I fell pregnant. Excitement because it was just what I needed (functioning on little sleep, with a thirteen and an 11-year-old to look after and a business to run does take it’s toll on your mind and body) and anxiousness because I’d only left Ellis for a few hours at a time to go to work, so I wasn’t sure how I’d handle being away from him for nine hours. Upon my arrival at the beautiful coastal retreat, I was welcomed by the team who advised me that my treatment was booked for 10am, so I had a little time to relax in the spa first. The treatment I was booked in for was the new 90-minute Ishga Five Sense Ritual (guided by the sound of swell) and a 30-minute post-treatment relaxation in the ‘swell’ suite.
This is one of the high-end treatments offered by the spa, and it certainly is worth the extra cost (typically this package, with full use of the spa and a two-course lunch in the Ozone restaurant will cost £295 per person). My masseuse Emma talked me through what I would be experiencing and that alone was enough to transport me to a place of pure bliss – thanks to the sounds playing quietly in the background this was a white sandy beach with waves crashing gently against the shore (on a gloomy wet Seaham day this was the perfect escapism). In fact, sound is key to this particular treatment.
Drawing on the link between mind, body and sound (think about the power of a piece of music, a favourite song lyric or familiar sound to transport us to a happy or nostalgic place), each stage of the massage is accompanied by sound, designed to complement the ishga experience. Specifically developed by Swell, the unique composition of field recordings, traditional instruments and therapeutic sound techniques aren’t there simply to relax you (though of course that’s exactly what they do), they’re there to ensure you become completely submersed in the moment, tuned off from the outside world. If it sounds like heaven, well, that’s pretty close to where you’ll feel you’ve been taken.
To start I was given a foot and leg scrub, after which I was taken to my bed for a back scrub. All products used for this treatment are from the ishga skincare range. This was followed by a hot stone back, neck and shoulder massage, which for me was absolute heaven – so much so that I managed to nod off part-way through, which after just a handful of hours sleep, came as no surprise to me or Emma! After this massage was finished, I turned over and was given a chest and arm scrub and massage, a facial and a head massage. I didn’t want it to end.
The whole thing really is the complete wellbeing experience – it’s every treatment you’d want rolled into one and leaves you feeling completely rejuvenated and relaxed. To complete the treatment, I was taken downstairs to the ‘Swell’ room where I spent 30 minutes resting on a warming and vibrating bed, with headphones on to listen to tranquil sounds, designed to ensure you remain fully calm for as long as possible. You’re also given a bowl of refreshing mango sorbet, some sweet and salty popcorn and iced water, which is the ‘taste’ element of the five senses. I have had many massages in my time but I have to say this really did stand out to me – it’s a pick ‘n’ mix of the best treatments you’d want from a spa day, and eliminates the dilemma you’re so often faced with of whether to choose the massage or facial.
I’d definitely recommend it and will be back again! After my 30 minute post-treatment rest, I was ready for some spa time, before I went for food. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to lie back, read my book, have a swim and enjoy some of the many spa facilities (not the ice bath I’m afraid, despite my football-mad daughter loving them and telling me I should have one). I even managed to resist my phone, although I did have to check in on how Ellis was doing with Daddy from time to time. Lunch was two-courses in the Ozone restaurant (Just a few months earlier Pink ate here when she stayed at Seaham Hall for her concerts at the Stadium of Light).
I opted for salt and pepper squid to start followed by beef nasi goreng. Both were delicious, and tasted even better washed down by a chilled glass of sauvignon blanc. After my lunch, I headed back into the spa for a bit more rest and relaxation, before going home to the craziness of life with one baby, two children, a husband and a business. So, was my first solo spa experience something I’d repeat and recommend? Absolutely yes. For me, there’s no better way to switch off and give yourself the break we all need from time to time. We’re all guilty of putting everyone else’s needs before our own – a solo spa break is the perfect way to be selfish, to put your own needs first, and give your batteries the recharge they so desperately need and want.