So it’s been all pregnancy and wedding related posts all over the place here lately, so let’s jump back in time a little to post-wedding and that minimoon series I haven’t yet finished…and we’re going on our full honeymoon in less than a week now!
Once the wedding was over, we totally crashed. It wasn’t only physically exhausting setting up and taking down the venue as well as the actual wedding and dancing all night thrown in there, but mentally exhausting too. We had such an amazing time, but we’re so glad we booked this UK break to take a few days to take it really easy before our big honeymoon – we totally couldn’t have coped with any busy airports or activity filled days afterwards!
And that’s why I was so glad that we’d booked me in for a spa day at a pretty fancy place near our Airbnb. When I did my SUP yoga retreat last year, I became absolutely obsessed with the idea of wellness breaks. I’d never thought before that I’d be interested in ones that incorporated fitness into a spa break, but I really surprised myself by realising that the exercise part of the yoga retreat ended up really appealing to me in the end. I talked about this a lot here – how my experience of fitness up until lately was all negatively tinged by the way we were forced into sports at school and how a different route ended up changing my view of it completely, away from it being something gruelling and painful, to fun and making me see the way my body works in a totally different light. Basically, since then I’ve really loved the idea of a full wellness with boot camp spa retreats that incorporate healthy eating alongside fitness and wellness – I have to admit, I definitely don’t eat particularly healthily (especially right now!), but menus designed for retreats like these look amazing.
Anyway, while I’ve recently wanted to do something like this and was totally up for it on our minimoon, Ben’s not quite so keen on the idea! Instead we compromised and booked a Nurture Day for me at the Bamford Haybarn spa at Daylesford Farm on Day 3 of our trip. This included a 90 minute yoga class and 90 minute body signature treatment, so sounded like a brilliant compromise between fitness and relaxation.
Unfortunately, I’ve got a bit of a mixed review of the spa. The purchase process was very odd as we purchased the spa day online but I wasn’t prompted to book a date – it appears that the listing buys you a voucher that you then need to book otherwise, but I was given access to an online system which showed my purchase and any bookings at the spa. I got in touch via email to book the date I wanted and waited for a response. While I tried to figure this out, I was at work on a Monday morning and my phone popped up with a notification that my card had just been charged for a yoga class there – wait, what?!
It turned out that there were 3 ladies under the name “Sian Thomas” signed up at the spa, and one had attended 3 yoga classes, only gave her name, and it was charged directly to my card! I was really quite unnerved by this as surely they had a better system for identifying people than that, and I was very concerned that my card could be charged in a location that I’d never actually visited before! Luckily they sorted it out and refunded the charges, but it was quite weird. In the meantime, I was booked into the yoga class and my spa treatment for the date requested.
Sadly, it didn’t end there. The day before the visit, I managed to walk into a table at the foot of the bed in our Airbnb and smash my toe – yes, it did make walking pretty difficult the rest of the trip, but at least it wasn’t before the wedding! I realised I wasn’t going to be able to manage the yoga on a broken toe and sore foot, so we thought it would be best to arrive before and let them know, then explore the farm shop and surrounding area until it was time for my treatment. But that didn’t quite work out.
I arrived at the spa, which was immediately beautiful and relaxing, and explained my predicament to the lady on the desk. They were totally understanding and said that was completely fine…except that they had no record of my booking whatsoever! There was no explanation given, just simply that there was nothing with my booking anywhere on the system, nor could they access my records. As far as we can tell, when they refunded the charge they’d put on my card, they’d deleted the rest of my record. We pulled up the emails on my phone, but apparently they had no record of these at their end either, argh! So much for a relaxing spa day!
Luckily they were willing to do what they could, so they managed to swap the yoga class to a facial later in the day, and the body signature treatment to a shorter full body massage afterwards. It was frustrating, but I took it in my stride and happily accepted – I’m not one for complaining at all and was finding the whole thing supremely awkward!
So onto the actual spa itself! I was first shown to the relaxation room (pictured) which was a beautiful conservatory that was warm, smelled beautiful and overlooked the countryside. They gave me a pot of green tea while I waited and filled in some forms. The facial was amazing – I’ve only had a really basic one before, but the therapist took a good look at my face and skin first, recommended some options, then dimmed the lights and got going. It had approximately six million steps with hot stones on my stomach and several different products included. I was shown back to the relaxation room in between the treatments with more green tea, and even though I normally need a book in these situations to focus on, for the first time ever, I’d come out without one! Instead I took the chance to pull a notebook out of my handbag and note down memories from the wedding. (This is something I highly recommend to any brides or grooms post-wedding – it’s amazing the small things from the day you forget!). Then onto the massage, this was also amazing – the treatment room was huge with a large heated bed, and the therapist was brilliant. He quickly discovered the impenetrable knot in my shoulder and got to work on it, but also spent plenty of time making sure I was totally relaxed – I’d say the best massage I’ve ever had.
I was a little wary as I left about whether they really had properly sorted everything out, and as I handed over my robe, it turned out I was right to be wary – I was asked if I was ready to settle up and pay the bill, the one I’d already paid online and they’d messed up! Luckily I’d waited till Ben had arrived because I would have panicked and paid, but instead they got the manager who agreed that the treatments I’d had could replace the ones I’d booked, and were happy to overlook the apparent £10 difference – although I’m sceptical of this as I had only a 30 minute facial and 60 minute treatment as opposed to the 90 minute yoga and 90 minute treatment.
Basically, if the whole spa experience had been just the treatments, I’d be back again in a heartbeat, but unfortunately the service was crazy! They were never rude, but it was just really disconcerting to have my card charged at a distance, my treatments cancelled, then be asked to pay all over again…I can see where it all went wrong, but for a relaxing spa minimoon break, it wasn’t the best ever!