On a chilly February evening, my friend and I, feeling more than a little jaded following the Christmas and New Year come down, headed to Ribby Hall Spa in Wrea Green, near Blackpool in search of restorative relaxation.
We’d been planning it since before Christmas, after hearing lots of good reports and to give us something to look forward to during the bleak first couple of months of the year.
The Spa Hotel stands alone within Ribby Hall Village and offers an impressive range of day spa and overnight packages plus various beauty and relaxation treatments. It’s adult only and welcomes Ribby Hall guests and visitors alike.
We opted for a Twilight Aqua Thermal Journey, available from 6pm-8pm at a cost of £29 each. We arrived early at 5.30pm, were given robes, slippers and towels and shown into clean changing rooms with ample lockers, showers and dressing tables.
The idea is to follow the aqua journey in a special sequence, designed to ensure you get the most from each experience, with two hours being the recommended time to really feel the benefits: aroma room, aroma steam room, saunarium, Balinese salt inhalation room, herbal sauna, pedidarium (reflexology foot baths), outdoor rustic sauna, tepidarium (warm room with heated loungers), ice fountain, plunge bucket and rope shower and monsoon experience showers plus indoor hydrotherapy pool, terrace hot tub and a number of relaxation rooms. This mix of hot and cold experiences promise to detoxify, relax and revitalise. Yes please!
Thursday proved to be a quiet night to visit with only a few other women sharing the journey with us. One of the best things about a trip like this is the forced relaxation – there is nothing to be done but kick back, let go and immerse yourself in the experience. It also provided a welcome and uninterrupted opportunity for a good old fashioned chinwag.
For me, the steam rooms were a dream (I’m not a huge fan of dry heat but have impressive stamina for steam rooms) and the hydrotherapy pool with its overhead water jets provided a robust shoulder massage. We both approached the plunge bucket and rope shower – a suspended bucket of cold water released by pulling a rope – with trepidation and darted away on first contact of cold water on skin, screaming like little girls. But after ten minutes in the complementary sauna, we were racing each other to get underneath the bucket and cool down!
The piece de resistance for me was the outdoor, terrace hot tub. Under the night sky, with ice crunching underfoot we made our way into the heated tub and sat back under the night sky as the stars twinkled in the peace and quiet – bliss. We could have stayed there all night. I would like to return to experience the contrast of a summer’s evening.
By the end of the journey, as we laid back on heated loungers, our conversation dwindled and we both enjoyed a sleepy period of quiet before reluctantly making our way back to the changing rooms to shower and dress.
Finally, we were treated to a glass of bubbly in the bar (included in the package) which provided a tantalising peek into the restaurant, The Brasserie, with delicious smells wafting through. We spent three hours at the spa, and at £29, I felt it was great value for money. And mission was most definitely accomplished; I left feeling relaxed, cleansed and grateful for the time spent with my friend.
There are all sorts of spa packages and treatments you can add, to suit all budgets. And I’ve heard that the food in the restaurant is lovely too.