Escape the stresses of the economic downturn with an uplifting 90-minute aromatherapy massage for the price of two drinks
A good bet for thrifty spa goers is to visit either an independent day spa that has competitive offers or to use the extensive facilities of a destination spa but on a day package. This allows you to make use of most of the pools and thermal suites (often missing from urban day spas) without having to find the extra money for a night’s accommodation.
South Thames College Beauty Therapy Centre, Wandsworth, London.
OK, so it’s not five-star and the therapists are trainees but for sheer inflation-busting pampering at one-tenth of the going rate this place is unbeatable. A 75-minute massage is £6 – no, the price tag is not missing a zero – and a 90-minute aromatherapy massage hikes to £8. A hand and foot mask is a quid (£1), a body cleanse is £3 and a facial £6 – the whole works would come in at under £20. Treatments take place in a large salon with curtain dividers but at this price who cares.
Siam Beauty, Clapham, London
Cheap urban spa treatments are hard to come by. On a busy road in south London, this little place is the antithesis of a five-star spa, although use of the tiny sauna and steam room is included in the price of a superb Thai massage (£30 for a one-hour).
Casa Spa, Paddington, London
For a spa in Central London, it’s a steal. An hour in the Turkish bath will set you back just £45. If you want to add in a massage as well, you’re looking at £60. Hen and stag nights are available for £55 per person. You can choose from a mezze of treatments and kick back on the sofas without feeling rushed.
Kalmora Spa, Goudhurst, Kent
Visit the spa for a treatment between Tuesday and Thursday and make savings with the “off-peak” tariff. For example, an hour-long Rejuvenate AromaFacial Massage treatment is usually £45, but only £34 off-peak. Kalmora also has treatment rooms in Devon, Chester, and Birmingham.
Champneys Henlow Grange, Bedfordshire
Visit midweek and a relaxing spa day package is £119.95 (or only £99.95 at their Springs resort in Leicestershire). Among the items included in the package are a 25-minute massage, a 25-minute facial, a thalassotherapy pool session of 25 minutes, a light lunch and a choice of over 20 classes per day.
Chi Mind, Body and Spirit, Devon
The treatments are exceptional value for money. My 90-minute treatment cost £36. A Chi manicure (30 minutes) costs £15, salt-glow body scrub (30 minutes) costs £20 and the mud envelopment (one hour) is £30.
Alton Towers Hotel Spa, Staffordshire
For just £18.50 you can mellow for five hours in the Aqua Relaxation Rooms which have everything from a crystal steam room to reflexology footbaths. A Pamper Day package at £80, includes a light lunch, full use of the spa facilities and one treatment from a choice of four.
CenterParcs, Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire
Aqua Sana is CenterParcs own spa brand, open only to residents, though these can invite friends in on a day pass. The World of Spa session is good value at £35; £27 on Monday and Friday evenings. Other spas at its sites in Elveden, Longleat and Whinfell Forest.
The Butlins Spa, Skegness, Lincolnshire
The Spa at Butlins costs £20 per person. On top of this you pay for any of the treatments you are having. These range in price from £10 hand treatments and £20 for 45-minute manicures to £60 for a Hawaiian Hot Mineral Stone massage and a Mud and Salt Poultice massage.
Harrogate Turkish Baths, Yorkshire
Just as in its Victorian heyday, the idea is to work up a sweat by moving slowly through inter-connecting rooms: Tepidarium (warm), Calidarium (hot) and Laconium (roasting), finally cooling off in the Frigidarium. It’s a bargain, too, with spa sessions priced from just £11. Best of all, you can stay as long as you like.