Tuesday, 4 April 2017

A Visit to the Bristol Harbour Hotel Spa

Bristol is good at a lot of things. But when it comes to pampering and relaxation, there aren't really many places to choose from if you're in need of some serious down time. My go-to place used to be the Relaxation Centre but that closed down a year or so ago, so aside from the Lido - a lovely place but not, strictly speaking, a day spa - options for R&R are seriously thin on the ground.

Now, I can't say I have the funds for regular pampering sessions, but when it comes to present ideas for birthdays or Christmas, I'd always choose a massage over a snazzy handbag. So, I was excited to hear that there is - at last - somewhere a bit special to visit in Bristol that I can point potential present purchasers towards.

Opened a few weeks' back, the Spa at the Bristol Harbour Hotel is a tranquil, subterranean warren featuring treatment rooms, relaxation zones, sauna, steam room, gym and a gorgeous indoor pool. Sensitively lit to help you totally unwind, the spa is a bijou haven away from the hustle and bustle of the city - it's hard to imagine that you're just moments from the busy St Nick's Market.

Occupying what was once a bank vaults - the hotel was a Lloyds Bank building in a former life - there's a unique feel to the space, though some visitors may find the lack of natural light and low ceilings a little confined. Personally, I liked the underground aspect of the spa - I'd imagine it would offer a seriously cocooning experience if you really needed a day to get away from it all.

I visited on the Spa's opening night and enjoyed a very relaxing hand and arm massage but there's a good variety of treatments on offer, for both women and men. Pregnancy treatments are also available, plus you can try some holistic treats such as reflexology and hopi ear candling. One of my favourite salon brands - ESPA - is used in lots of the massages and body treatments. 

Manicures, pedicures and waxing are also available. And if you're really looking to splash out on something to soothe mind and body - as well as pampering your face too - the Ocean Spa Ritual sounds utterly blissful.

I would wholeheartedly recommend combining your spa visit with lunch, dinner or drinks at the hotel. Again, Bristol's hotels can disappoint if you're looking for somewhere a bit luxe for a weekend away, afternoon tea or evening cocktails, so the Bristol Harbour Hotel's quirky, decadent style offers a much needed alternative to the more bland, conference-style offerings in the city. 

We had a glass of wine in the recently opened Gold Bar, a gorgeous space that successfully blends contemporary decor with the building's exquisite original features - I couldn't stop gazing at the stunning ceiling cornices and elaborate stonework that gives the room a wonderful sprinkling of old-school glamour. 

I've been told that the food at the hotel's Jetty Restaurant is pretty special so it seems that I really should be sampling its wares too, perhaps along with that Ocean Spa Ritual I mentioned earlier. I've got a birthday coming up so maybe now might the time to start dropping hints and perhaps leave a spa brochure lying around? 

For more information on the Bristol Harbour Hotel and Spa, visit the website here.

All photos kindly supplied by the hotel, all words my own. 


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