When22 April to 17 May 2009
Where Thermae Bath Spa is located in the heart of historic Bath and is Britain's only original and natural thermal spa. After a redevelopment in 2004, the new spa integrates the old Georgian building with a modern addition of glass, stone and natural light - all perfectly complimenting Bath's heritage and the contemporary treatments on offer. The hot spring of today is the same as was used by the Celts and Romans over 2000 years ago and feeds one large indoor pool, and one rooftop outdoor pool, affording views of the Georgian city centre.
What's the story? Thermae Bath Spa has teamed up with one of Malaysia's most renowned spa and hotel companies, Spa Village, to put on a Malaysian Spa Festival where the residents of Bath can experience a truly new way of being pampered. A team of beauty therapists have come from Malaysia to ensure that all treatments are absolutely authentic, and the spa's Springs restaurant is featuring a daytime menu prepared by a top chef at Spa Village. There are a range of packages on offer from a 50-minute Balinese massage (£60 including spa session, robe and towel hire) to a full Malaysian Ultimate Indulgence day which includes Malay massage, pandan and coconut hair mask and an intriguing Chinese Pearl and Rice Facial along with an Egg Undulation Face Treatment for a cool £195. I tried the Malay Traditional Massage (50 minutes for £60) which is similar to a traditional Thai massage. Using pure essential oils including turmeric, cinnamon and citronella, the therapist kneaded every part of me with long strokes really working into my 'energy' points (painful points to be honest). Traditional Asian massage tends to be quite physical and this was no exception. Balancing on the massage bed and crouched over me, she was able to put her full weight into the force of the massage firmly easing away the stress of the journey and causing a near trance in her willing victim. I've never had my hair pulled vigorously before as part of a treatment and I have to say I liked it - It was actually relaxing! Relaxed yet rejuvenated I was led to an outer rest room and given freshly made ginger tea - I could almost feel the toxins ebbing away.
But what if I can't make the festival? Do not despair. The Thermae Bath Spa is a treat to visit at any time of year. Along with the pools there are a variety of steam rooms each with their own individual infused aromatic vapours and the biggest shower of thermal water I have ever stood under. There is also a range of over 50 spa and beauty treatments on offer, from body wraps and thermal treatments to flotation, facials and even a massage for two!
How to get there The spa is a 10 minute walk from Bath Spa station. I travelled from London, Paddington on First Great Western who run frequent trains to Bath throughout the week and weekends. For further information and to book tickets visit www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk. Thermae Bath Spa, The Hetling Pump Room, Hot Bath Street, Bath BA1 1SJ.
Prices start at £22 for a two hour spa session, £32 for four hours and £52 for a full day. Reservations for the spa are only for groups of eight or more, but treatments must be booked in advance on 0844 888 0844. For further details visit www.thermaebathspa.com. For further festival details visit www.spafestival.co.uk