Ad| Press Trip. Do you believe in fate? I declared to the husband I was going to start a spa series on the blog as I always get asked for recommendations for them. Shortly after this, an invite to Ye Olde Bell Spa * dropped into my inbox! My husband had yet to visit so we both took the trip down the road for the day.
Fun fact: Ye Olde Bell Hotel was a very close contender for our wedding venue. It has lovely gardens and a great bar that serves outside into said gardens! The spa opened in 2016 and I often forget it’s only a few miles away from me. It doesn’t feel 3 years old when there either, everything is so well maintained its like new!
On this visit, I was invited to try out Ye Olde Bell Spa * for the day, have a treatment and lunch. A full spa day from 930am to 530pm costs £95 including a two-course lunch. A half hour treatment is £40. Robes, towels and cute branded flip flops are provided with this. The lockers already have these in, which was slightly inconvenient as I really needed bigger flip flops for my size 9 feet, and I needed more than the standard size M robe, so had to ask for a bigger one. I was given an XL but truth be told it still wasn’t that big so would suggest some more size variations to make it more inclusive. Considering most of the experience is very personal that would be the cherry on top for me. Spoiler alert: this is the only negative in this review!
We filled in the usual forms and were offered a tea, coffee or water whilst we did this. We were also given the menu for lunch to choose from to order in advance to save time later on which I liked- time in the spa is precious!
Ye Olde Bell Spa is compact but perfectly formed so accessibility wise its easy to get around for those less mobile. It is host to a small hydrotherapy pool which starts inside and leads outside. Plus 8 experiences in their thermal area. They cap the number of guests allowed to book so there’s no real waiting around for any of the rooms. On a Friday in May, we even had most rooms to ourselves as we went around.
You also get a ‘spa butler’ as part of the service. Both people I’ve had on my two visits have been super friendly and more than obliging to take a quick photo (priorities!), show you around and bring drinks to you – there’s nothing better than sipping Prosecco whilst having your back pummelled by a water jet! It does feel really special and after my first visit, I missed that touch at another spa.
We started our day with a tour of the thermal area before the other guests arrived. Meaning I could go into the steam room and get photos before the steam started! so here’s the facilities run down :
- Herbal Laconium
- Alpine Sauna
- Steam Bath
- Salt Inhalation Room
- Snow Storm Walk
- Shower Walk and Bucket Shower
- Foot Baths
The Herbal Laconium is the coolest of the dry heat rooms. It has a central section with herbs that are heated with bursts of air every so often. I particularly liked the two high chairs which meant I couldn’t stop singing the Baywatch theme tune after sitting on one! I was wearing my new F&F brown leopard print swimming costume (£16) (With added belt from a pair of ASOS Bikini Bottoms.) I should have chosen a red one! The advice is to start in this room to get heated up before going around the rest of the rooms. The Alpine Sauna is a traditional sauna and is very hot! Finish here or in the Steam Bath as they are the hottest. Luke loved this room, but as I’m not a huge fan of sauna’s I left him to it for 15 mins whilst I stayed in the pool.
The Stonebath is a lovely steam room, as its a mix of sauna and steam- the steam doesn’t take over like in most steam rooms and it’s hot but bearable. I won’t spoil it but the central feature does make you jump when it bursts into action!
The Steam bath is beautiful, but very steamy once it gets going. these photos were prior to its switch on! It’s pretty warm but a more bearable heat that the sauna.
The Snow Storm walk is this walkway where you choose ‘snow storm’ or the lesser ‘snow walk’. Where snow and ice scatter down on you from the ceiling as you walk through. It’s the main cold experience alongside the shower walk which also has a cold bucket shower should you wish to partake!
The Salt Inhalation Room is lush, it’s warm and has soft loungers in there, and a massive salt wall. It’s the one place that silence is asked for. You just sit/lay and inhale the air whilst the lights change colour through the rainbow. I went in here for a while as my asthma had been playing up and it’s said to help with respiratory problems.
Relaxation and The Pool
The foot spa forms part of the relaxation area and it has to be said the chandelier above the seating is spectacular. They told me it took ages to install as it was done by hand! It was worth it though I’d say! Surrounding it is various seating areas; padded loungers, chairs, egg chairs and a day bed. Outside there are a big apple pod bed and some alpine style lodge seats. There’s also my fave, tiled heated beds which are opposite the pool.
Which leads me to last but not least the pool. I’m a real water baby and could spend all day in here. I love spa pools, but they do have to have some kind of feature and this one has plenty. Inside there’s two air loungers, a chair and a stand-up body jet. Outside there’s another 3 body jets and a large air lounger, plus a water curtain. I’ve been to some spa’s five times bigger than this one with not even half the amount of pool features. My fave is the inside chair jet and I love to sit cross-legged on it as the jets pummel all my knots and aches!
After all this exploring it was treatment* time. I don’t always have a spa treatment because simple old me is happy with just the spa experience, however, as it was gifted I wasn’t going to turn it down! All the treatment rooms are on the first floor (including two treatment rooms that are chargeable: a mud rasul room and Sabia med room (a beach room with low UV rays that emulate sunshine)). It can be reached via the lift and has two double treatment rooms as well as single ones. We were in one of the doubles and it was very spacious. I was asked what pressure I liked for a massage (none) and delivered. Afterwards, we were taken to the relaxation room- it has a balcony that overlooks the pool, and a dark room with comfy shaped beds to chill out in too.
Once we’d finished there it was time for lunch. The spa has recently opened the restaurant to non-spa visitors- I might pop round one day in my Christy bathrobe for a spot of lunch!! Joking aside the food is that good I would go visit! We went for starters and mains, for our two courses. One vegetarian and one standard menu. The menu is split into three, from lighter meals to a more heavy meal. Having only had toast for breakfast I went with the heavier option of main and had belly pork which was lush. Luke had mushroom gnocchi which he loved. Starters wise I had grilled curry cauliflower which was all the flavours and Luke had scallops which were also v. nice.
The only thing left to do after that was to lay on the heated outside lounger under a blanket for extra warmth. Digestion never felt so good! The eagle-eyed of you may have noticed I changed. Because I’m a water baby my costume was v wet so I changed before lunch and got a new robe so I was dry! This ASOS top was bought at the end of the last year so didn’t feature in my Mid and Plus Size Swimwear roundup last year. Good news is they have made it again this year but in white as the base colour. I’ve linked the photo and bottoms below as it seems to have sold out at the moment but keep your eyes peeled as it often comes back into stock.
After much lazing around and relaxing it was time to go. The day went really fast though and it was time to leave before I knew it. Gutted. Overall Ye Olde Bell Spa gets a strong 9/10 for me. It’s small but perfectly formed, its spa butlers make it feel luxe, lunch was lush and the facilities are strong. I’d like a few more rooms or a jacuzzi and some plus robes for a full ten, but I will return that is for sure!
What I Wore
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