We arrived at 10am on a foggy Saturday morning to the Gaia Spa, located on the grounds of Boringdon Hall. Standing tall on the front lawn, expensive cars on display in front, this 16th century manor house was nothing but exquisite. I stumbled across the location on Spa Breaks as my belated birthday trip to spend quality time with my mum and sister.
The spa itself was a modern new build, replicating the likes of those found in Nordic countries. The pale wood decor and light and airy spaces were freshly fragranced with sesame and jojoba from their own line of products. Once checked in, we were given access to the changing rooms where our robes, towels and lime green flip flops could be found. There were spacious showers for all to use and GHD straighteners in dressing booths to keep the post-swim frizz at bay.
My sister and I hit the gym first thing to work up a sweat before relaxing in the afternoon. Having forgotten my usual gym wear, I rocked up in an odd combination of old leggings, a brightly coloured sweatshirt twinned with a pair of slip on ‘workout’ shoes that meant I looked like I couldn’t be trusted with tying my shoelaces; fashion at its finest my friends. With attire not the most fitting for cardio, I stuck to weights and resistance machines before eagerly showering and changing into a bikini.
Post gym we took a dip in pool. The water was serene and at a perfect temperature for a relaxing swim. Of course I had the lighten the tone by attempting to exit the pool without using the steps, causing a tidal wave of water to cascade over the edge and onto a woman’s head who was relaxing below in a smaller pool. Easy to say, she didn’t find it as funny as I did! Once the embarrassment had passed, we enjoyed the outdoor hydrotherapy pool and let the cool Devon air breeze through our hair. It transported me back to being in the Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik; pure bliss.
As the clock struck 12, the hunger pangs dragged us toward the Spatisserie, just in time for our two-course meal. Accompanied by a glass of champagne and fruit infused water, I tucked into two dishes from the Graze menu as my main course; an adzuki bean stew with wild rice and a beetroot lentil salad. The staff kindly pointed out the vegan options for me and much to my surprise sourced a vegan dessert of a dark chocolate and coconut oat flapjack. Macaroons and mini tarts aside, It was safe to say the Vegan won the award for the best pudding that day!
Post-lunch we relaxed in the outdoor patio area on the rattan day beds and sun loungers. Between Snapchat selfies and uncontrollable laughter at our choice of filters, we regained energy and hit the sauna and steam rooms. The Finnish sauna was incredibly warm at over 80 degrees Celsius, an unbearably hot temperature that consistently burnt my backside each time I sat down. The Laconium was more my cup of tea, a humid room at at 35 degrees Celsius that housed a relaxing mosaic bench with foot stools; a great space to overlook the pool too! The crystal salt steam room had to be the favourite, at 100% humidity you felt as if the toxins left your body instantly and the salty air was beyond satisfying.
At 2pm I had my treatment; a back, neck and shoulder massage. Through the use of aromatherapy oils that encouraged relaxation rather than rejuvenation, I de-stressed and settled for the hour. My massage therapist tailored the treatment to my needs perfectly and once my mind had quietened, the body and mind connected and I began to feel the benefits.
After finishing our treatments, we were led to a relaxation room. Elegant chaise longues were furnished with scatter cushions and blankets for comfort, separated by sheer curtains and health magazines afoot. After ten minutes of lounging in silence and trying not to laugh at our incomprehensible ability to lip read, we headed back to the poolside and had one last dip.
Blurry eyed and fuzzy faced from intense relaxation, we utilised the Gaia spa products when showering and the beauty equipment thereafter. Upon departure we settled the bill and ventured home. It is safe to say that £95 each for the day was a bit of a steal. It has set the bar incredibly high for other spas to live up to and will be my number one recommendation for the foreseeable future. With friendly staff, top quality equipment, faultless treatments and delicious food we will indefinitely be back. On a hen do or two hopefully!
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