The end of last week was a bit of a roller coaster round these parts. Tragic news coupled with two very special christenings made for a weekend of high emotion, both good and bad. Lucky, then, that the sister and I had planned our Bath trip for the aforementioned christenings with a little R&R in mind.
After we’d checked into The Queensberry and sated our travel-induced hunger with sandwiches and tea in the lounge, we headed out onto the crowded streets of Bath armed with our spa packs (robes and towels thoughtfully supplied by the hotel so that we didn’t have to bring our own or hire them at the spa) and accompanied by our good friend, the fabulous Miss Mead.
Anyone who knows me can attest to my love for Jane Austen, so imagine my delight when discovered it was the day of a Jane Austen costume parade. Fine (and not so fine) muslins drifted by, accompanied by waistcoated men in top hats and whiskers. I was in Austen heaven!
When we arrived at the Thermae Spa there was a queue, it was Saturday afternoon after all, but what we were told would be a 30 minute wait passed in no time, and we were soon in the high-tech locker rooms changing into our swimsuits. We made a beeline straight for the open-air pool on the roof, stepping out into the mild autumn air and low afternoon sun. The pool was BUSY, but we weren’t put off, groups of friends bobbed together in the water, chatting and laughing, couples clung to the railings around the side, deep in conversation. We quickly found a spot and a couple of noodle floats to perch on and settled into gossiping, exchanging news and stories and ‘people watching’.
I absolutely loved the atmosphere, the constant chatter and laughter contrasted with the serenity of bobbing around in the hot water seemed to relax me in a way I hadn’t really expected. And it all felt very ‘Austen’, like we were in a modern day assembly rooms, taking in the scene and society of the day, seeing and being seen.
After an hour of bobbing we headed downstairs to the steam rooms, 4 self-contained pods centred around a huge thermal waterfall shower. Each room is scented differently, and we chose our first room based on the green lights around the edge, guessing it to be a menthol-y room and we were right, eucalyptus and mint hit us with a refreshing jolt as we walked in. After 10 minutes we decided to try the other rooms, but found them all to be very synthetic smelling (I’m guessing they don’t use essential oils) one of which almost made me wretch the second I walked in, and decided to give them a miss.
Our visit to the Minerva Bath was also short-lived, the leisure centre atmosphere did little for us, and so we headed back to the roof for a final dip before we left.
All in all, I loved our visit. It was just the tonic for this frazzled mouse, and the buzz of the crowds, softened by the warm water and the pleasure of the conversation with my sister and Catherine was just right. At £26 for a 2 hour visit, the spa is not cheap, I’ll admit that I did baulk a little at the price when we first arrived, but as we walked back up the hill to our hotel, I was quiet content to have paid it.