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The Malvern Spa

Malvern used to be a spa town back in the Victorian age, but that all died away many decades ago, and the old bath houses for the Water Cure are all now banks and blocks of flats. However, a few years back an ambitious developer decided to build a brand new spa in the town. It’s in a most incongruous place, sandwiched between an industrial estate and a retail park on the outskirts of Malvern. I think it’s a really ugly building – a big white monstrosity plonked down one roundabout along from Morrisons supermarket.  I’d heard from colleagues at work that it had a state-of-the-art gym, but that’s of less than no interest to me and I had no intentions of darkening its doors. So all in all, The Malvern Spa was something I had noted as a curiosity, but hadn’t investigated further.

I’ve been getting regular back, shoulder and neck massages every fortnight for the past year to stop the daily stress and tension I’m dealing with from causing major problems with migraines and massive knots in my back. I did wonder whether it was in fact doing me any measurable good, but didn’t want to give it up for a trial period to see (migraines are so ghastly, I’d do almost anything that might help avoid one). But then the woman on whom I’m reliant was unavailable for six weeks over Christmas and New Year, and I had to go without. That soon answered the question – on my first week back at work, I woke up one morning virtually unable to move my neck. It had totally seized up. That made the drive into work somewhat hairy, as I found it extremely painful to crane my neck to look over my shoulder when pulling out of some of the many acute junctions the town seems to abound in.  Clearly Something Had To Be Done.

So in desperation I phoned The Malvern Spa and asked if they could fit me in for a back and shoulder massage that afternoon. Fortunately, they could. It was a most interesting experience…….

The Spa is set off what they call a Grand Salon – a big hall with lots of comfy sofas, an interesting looking brasserie at one end serving light lunches, and a fountain as its focal point. More to the point, apart from the staff, I was the only person there who was fully dressed! Everyone else (mostly middle-aged but very well-preserved women)  was lounging around in white towelling dressing gowns and slippers! Most peculiar. I gathered that they were there for the Day Spa, and that dressing gowns were the required dress between dips in the indoor-outdoor Malvern water swimming pool, and visits to the saunas and the crystal steam room……I saw just one man there, in his early twenties at a guess, who had clearly been reluctantly dragged along by his girlfriend. He looked as if he would have been much happier with a pint of beer in his hand (rather than a herbal tea) and was doing his best to disappear into the surroundings!

I have to say though, to be totally fair, that the woman who did my back knew what she was doing and had very strong thumbs which she wasn’t afraid to use on my various knots. She did complain at first that she couldn’t actually feel any individual knots, as my back was completely rigid – like a board. But she was able to get it moving and feeling so much better that I did in fact book a repeat visit two weeks later. That too produced a very satisfactory massage, and I felt much better afterward. This week, however, my regular woman is back at work, so I don’t expect to  need to go back to the spa for another massage for a while.

I think that The Malvern Spa would be a good place to go for a “girlie day out”, making use of the day spa facilities, and perhaps a specific treatment, as part of a group of like-minded friends for a special occasion. Indeed I have recommended it to a friend of mine who wants to take her mother for some pampering for a major upcoming birthday. But I can’t see myself making a habit of going there on my own without a clear and pressing need. I’m not the sort of person who’s prepared to pay a substantial sum for “the total tranquility of the relaxation suite” – I can relax at home for free!

{ 2 } Comments

  1. Carol L | 26 January 2011 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    I once went to a spa with the mother of my (then) boyfriend. Somewhere near Stoke-on-Trent, I can’t remember exactly. The ‘Turkish’ (you have to say it with a Potteries accent to evoke the memory for me) was great, but the high point of the day for Sheila was always the tea and scones. Very odd experience altogether – but I still prefer steam to the dry heat of sauna and might never have experienced either were it not for Sheila.
    In any case, I’m glad it helped to ease the tension for you….

  2. Cori | 29 January 2011 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never been to a spa — the notion of wandering around in a dressing-gown (even if everyone else is doing it) is rather off-putting. And on the few occasions I’ve done similar, it’s been entirely unrelaxing. I totally agree with you about relaxing at home for free!

    However, the massage sounds like it was worth it.

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