You know how sometimes life just seems to be careering on at full pelt and there seems to be nothing you can do to slow it down? Things are crazy busy for us the moment – well always if I’m honest – but it seems to be particularly hectic at the moment with pretty much all our weekends booked up from the start of March through to the summer holidays combined with the usual frenzy of after school activities and tight work deadlines. And whilst I do love to be busy, and much of what we are doing is super exciting, it can sometimes all feel a bit too much.
Back in the middle of March I was invited to spend the day at The Spa Hotel, Ribby Hall Village with some blogger friends – this practically makes it work right? Ribby Hall Village is about 45 miles from where we live but if I’m honest I don’t mind a bit of time on my own in the car so the drive really didn’t feel like much of a bind! I arrived mid morning, was given a robe and flip flops and shown to the changing rooms where the lockers were explained to me. There are no phones allowed in the spa which frankly is bliss – locking my phone away for a few hours and really switching off was exactly what the doctor ordered!
The main purpose of our trip to Ribby Hall was to experience the Aqua Thermal Journey – “an amazing journey, where mind and body are treated to all kinds of unique and tantalising treatments, varying in temperature to detoxify, relax and revitalise.” Essentially this is a series of experiences – a mix of steam rooms, saunas and hot tubs – which gradual increase in temperature. The idea being that alternating between increasingly hot and cold temperatures can “stimulate and and improve your circulation, relax aching muscles, cleanse and rejuvenate your skin, and boost your immune system, as well as feeling luxurious and invigorating.” The website suggests that the Aqua Thermal Journey should take about two hours but it definitely took us longer – probably because we were chatting so much – and we ended up rushing the end of the journey as we had a booking for lunch in the The Orangery. If I’m honest I think I could have merrily spent all day taking my time on working through the various steps of the Aqua Thermal Journey and lying on the very inviting loungers – which I actually didn’t get chance to do!
Because the idea of the Aqua Thermal Journey is that it steadily increases in temperature as you work your way through the journey, each step is numbered and a small explanation of the treatment and it’s purpose given outside the room. Sally was thoroughly amused by my need to experience all of the steps in the recommended order, I couldn’t bring myself to miss any out or do them in a different order. This is in part due to the fact I’m naturally someone who follows the rules but also because I wanted to make sure I was getting the full benefit!
Following the Aqua Thermal Journey in order meant that yes I did tip a bucket of ice cold water over my head (or at least down my back) and whilst it was brutal, I actually did quite appreciate the intensity of it! There was only one room which we all really struggled with – The Balinese Salt Inhalation Room is the hottest steam room at 49 degrees! The salt infused vapour encourages detoxification and cleansing of the skin and lungs – which I loved in theory but actually just found really overwhelming – it made my eyes sting and I couldn’t settle into breathing comfortably so soon left to move onto the next step!
One of my favourite parts of the journey was sitting outside in the hot tub in the Zen Garden – it was a cold day, but bright and sunny so being able to sit in a steaming hot tub whilst looking out into the countryside was absolutely lovely! (I did end up overheating a bit and having to get out but I think I had just sat in there for far too long!)
After experiencing the Aqua Thermal Journey we took ourselves off to The Orangery for a light lunch – I didn’t bother getting dressed as I had a treatment booked later in the day but I did feel a bit daft sitting in my swimming costume and robe as most of the other guests were fully clothed! Lunch was delicious and the service, whilst lovely, was decidedly relaxed. It was nice not to feel harassed or rushed but as Sarah had to get off to do the school run we could have done with things being served a little quicker!
I had quite a gap from the other girls living to my booked treatment but I can’t say that having to spend more time in the spa was any kind of hardship! The only downside was that I had got muddled up with my times and ended up getting ready for my treatment a good half hour too early – time I could have spent in the pool or hot tub rather than hanging around in reception but that was my own fault for not checking my booking!
I’m a big fan of NEOM fragrances and use them at home, but hadn’t realised until I was browsing the Ribby Hall Spa website that they actually do treatments – it would be rude not to try one! Having had a couple of facials fairly recently I decided to pick a body treatment – I think I could have happily chosen any of them but the NEOM Energise treatment stood out to me: “Using changes in temperature, speed-of-touch and different textures this treatment begins with the Neom Body Scrub with its potently invigorating oils of wild mint and mandarin. Your skin will be buffed head-to-toe, left feeling amazingly uplifted and ready to be enveloped in the NEOM energising cream clay wrap. Whilst you’re wrapped you’ll experience a 20 minute face and scalp massage plus specialist reflex foot massage techniques (and back massage for 90 minute treatment option).”
Oh. My. Days.
It was amazing.
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like it! The treatment started with a guided meditation which was played on a CD while the therapist started work. Now this sounds a bit odd but it was actually lush, listening to the instructions and concentrating on my breathing helped me to really relax into the treatment making sure I got the best from it. The products used smell heavenly (as you’d expect from NEOM) and the whole experience left me feel really relaxed, with beautifully soft skin. I loved that this was a whole body treatment – not just a fancy scrub but a treatment from head to toe. I would book it again in a heartbeat – and I’d also love to try some of the other NEOM treatments on offer! I was only gutted that I hadn’t left myself time to chill out after the treatment and had to set off straight home!
Ribby Hall is certainly up there as one of the nicest spas I’ve visited. That makes it sounds like I’ve been to loads – I haven’t – but I’ve certainly seen a fair range of quality and Ribby Hall sits nicely at the top end and I’m already planning a return trip with Dave!
*We were invited to experience the Aqua Thermal Journey free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain my own*