The ultimate wellness experience at Ayush Spa
As I walked through the entrance of Ayush Wellness Spa, I was filled with anticipation of the relaxing afternoon ahead of me. I was warmly greeted by the receptionist who offered me a locker key and directed me towards the changing room. Glancing over towards the bright and spacious spa, I was sure that the next time I passed the reception desk, on my way home, I would feel completely refreshed. I located my locker and found a comfy robe, towel and pair of slippers inside. After changing into my swimsuit, sliding on my slippers and grabbing my robe and towel, I made my way into the airy and luxurious spa where natural light was beaming in through the floor to ceiling windows.
I sauntered over to a lounger near the hydrotherapy pool, placed my magazines on the side table and considered which of the world class facilities I was going to use first. I decided to make my way over to the steam room, a gorgeous oval tiled room where relaxing sounds and twinkle lights in the ceiling created an atmosphere of complete tranquility. Taking deep breaths, I felt my stress begin to melt away. I next moved on to the sauna, and then to the hydrotherapy pool where I noticed small jets in a section of the pool floor. Moving my feet back and forth over the bursts of water provided some much needed massage to my tired feet. After dipping a toe into the cold plunge pool, I decided I wasn’t quite ready to take the plunge though I did see other braver souls doing just that.
Feeling thoroughly relaxed and with just 30 minutes to go until my treatment, I took some time to unwind by the pool and tuck into some magazines. With 10 minutes to go until my treatment, I returned to spa reception and was led up to the first floor treatment area. With a distinctly Indian feel, the upstairs reception area was bathed in earthy brown and warm red tones, with deep wood accents throughout.
I was welcomed by a receptionist and given a card on which I was asked to provide information about my physical condition and ailments, offered a glass of warm water with lemon and invited to take a seat. As soon as I had completed the card, my therapist, Priya, greeted me and led me towards the treatment room. With the same earthy colour palette, deep-coloured wood cabinetry, and a continuation of the high ceilings seen across the facility providing a feeling of space and airyness, the treatment room was one of the most spacious I’ve seen.
Priya left the room for a moment to give me time to change into a towel and take a seat on an armchair located in the corner of the treatment room. When Priya re-entered the room, she asked about my skin type and then proceeded to create a beautifully aromatic mix of oils designed to help my skin achieve balance. Using the oil blend, Priya began to massage my scalp, then moved on to my upper back and shoulders where I felt the knots in my back begin to ease. An arm and hand massage followed, releasing all the tension I never realised I had in my hands. Even though my hands are in almost constant use during waking hours, I was still surprised by how much looser they felt after the massage.
Next, Priya led me to the treatment table where she adjusted knee and neck rests so I could just let myself sink into the table. Priya next placed a second towel onto me and covered my eyes before pouring the beautiful oil mixture into a funnel-like drum, which was now placed above my forehead. Within minutes, a stream of warm oil began to drip onto my forehead and through my hair, providing the most relaxing sensation. Over the course of the treatment, Priya was constantly guiding the drum and leading the oil in a series of patterns across my forehead. It’s not often that I have a spa treatment where I’m so at ease that I could fall asleep, but this was one of those treatments where I experienced such a deep state of tranquility that I could have easily nodded off. The only thing keeping me awake was knowing that falling asleep would have meant missing out on the full treatment experience.
At the end of the treatment, Priya squeezed the excess oil out of my hair and led me through to the relaxation room where she gave me a sweet and balancing vata tea and a warm glass of lemon water before inviting me to rest on one of the cosy beds. Reclined on the relaxation bed and looking up at the draped fabric pulling out from the centre of the ceiling, I couldn’t think of anything other than how peaceful I felt. In those moments, I was completely free from thoughts about my ‘to do’ list or life outside out the spa. After 45 minutes in the relaxation room, I returned back to the change room to wash my hair and prepare for my journey home.
As I returned home, I felt a sense of calm unlike any I’ve ever experienced and felt much better prepared to take on any challenges the day or week might hold. My experience at the Ayush Wellness Spa made me realise that although spa days might seem like an unnecessary indulgence, they are quite the opposite, and that a few hours of ‘me time’ really is an essential investment your personal health and well-being.
Treatment: Shirodhara, 55 minutes, £85