Ahhh~ I was so excited to go the spa!! I have never been to a place of such luxury and pampering!! I’ve been so excited since me and my friends first organised and I know I will definitely go again!!
I went to a spa that is part of the park ‘Centre Parcs’ called Aqua Sana; it’s located in a big forest, the perfect place away from all the noise and the reality of life, perfect for relaxation!! The spa is inspired by Ancient Roman baths, with collumns and marble flooring; as soon as we stepped into reception, you could feel the heat and were always so comfortable.
My friend works there and luckily someone she was on good terms with was on reception, so we got in for free!! We got keys and special wrist bands, yay!!
We entered the changing rooms which were really big and spacey; they had everything you needed from hairdryers, showers, mirrors, benches, toilets and 1 private cubicle. In your locker you receive a towel and a robe; my friend H and I got changed in the toilet, but my friend J had the smart idea of wearing hers underneath! I didn’t know how to wear my hair, so I wore it in a way to match my K-fashion outfit I was wearing.
As mentioned in a previous post, this is the first time I have worn swimwear in front of any of my friends since I was 10 years old; I ordered this one-piece (actually a mock two-piece) from eBay and it’s a perfect fit!! It’s a padded swimsuit with a tie halter neck, and the tie in the middle was perfect for me to pin my key to! Since my weight-gain, my boobs have got bigger (just) which is good because it was always an absolute nightmare for me to find a swimsuit that fit my bust, without the possibility I might flash! I have to say, that I altered my boobs, twisted, turned, stretched, bent and squeezed in every possible position to check that it fitted and that I wouldn’t expose myself!! Once I was dressed, I felt incredibly confident in my new swimsuit and it didn’t bother me that I would be walking around in front of both men and women of all ages in just that!! Learned 1 new thing about myself – I have more confidence than I give myself credit for.
Of course I couldn’t take my phone with me to take photos otherwise it would get ruined! So I’m going to guide you through my spa day with the help of photos from the internet! The spa’s main hall is a circular room with stone flooring (wet so must be careful not to slip or stub toe); the rooms are located in a rough circle around the hall, and you can come and go as you please.
There was so much to choose from but my friend JY decided to ease us in and took us to the coolest heat room available, perfect for newbies like myself! The Laconium.
The Laconium is a gentle heat bath in a circlular stone room; your body heats up slowly and the citrus scent helps to purify and detoxify the body. At first the seat feels really warm, too warm really, but you soon get used to it; other people came and went but you’re so relaxed you hardly notice strangers sharing the room with you. Me and my friends were happy to discuss eyebrow threading and laser hair surgery with no concern! I loved the fact that the fragrance and the relaxing Zen music really helped to create an atmosphere that had you falling into bliss…
Next we tried the Reflexology Footbaths; this is the centre piece of the spa hall and sits four people, perfect for my group of four! The baths are on a timer and bubble furociously, slowly rising your body temperature and stimulating the reflex zones on the bottom of your feet which relax your entire body. It’s recommended that you use this treatment first but it was in use when we arrived.
We then headed to the Infrared Sauna; it’s a darkish room with seats in each corner and a block in the middle that holds the infrared heaters. Behind each seat is an infrared heater as well; these are ‘far’ infrared heaters that always remain cold, so it’s fine for you to touch them (although I didn’t entirely trust this despite my friends happily leaning on them). Infrared Saunas are more suitable for those with low heat tolerance as rather than the room being hot from the start, the infrared heaters heat you from the inside out. It was comfortably warm, and we sat around discussing relationship and friendship issues before we realised we had been in there for a long time, and people kept peeking in to see if there were any spares seats (there are only four and all were occupied by us)!! There was no special music or scents, and the room was fairly dark but I enjoyed this room a lot despite it being the least exciting!
We hastily emptied the room, much to the disapproving looks of those waiting outside, and headed for the Balinese Multi-Steam Baths! As seen above, this was like 3 ‘rooms’ within a room; again, we occupied one to ourselves since we were a large group. The relaxing music was back, as was the fragrances along with thick steam. It was fairly dark and the steam was thick, it wasn’t long before we were drenched and sweaty; I’m really not one for humidity but because I had became hot and sweaty slowly, it wasn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it would be! There is a cold hose pipe for you to use should you wish to cool off, however this in turn can make the room hotter and steamier. We continued our previous conversation whilst enjoying the heat; this steam bath is said to ‘stimulate circulation, and begin a purifying and detoxifying process’. I was concerned that the steam would somehow affect my eyes, but my eyes felt relaxed with no dryness or irritation from the many water droplets floating about.
According to the site, the specific spa that I went to has a Greek Herbal Bath, but I honestly can’t remember going to it and I know that we only missed out 2 things – the Water Beds and the Indian Blossom Steam Room; JY said she didn’t think they had one (and she works there so she should know), but at the same time there is a possibility that we were so relaxed and hazey from steam bath before that we just walked into it and forgot about it…
J then decided that she wanted to go in the Outdoor Heated Spa Pool; this was my least favourite bit because I hate water and can’t swim… I wasn’t sure if I could even touch the bottom but everyone else was going in so I had no choice! It’s a circular pool that’s outside and on the outer edge is a ‘seat’; people sit here and enjoy the jacuzzi bubbles that go off on a timer that ‘massage’ your neck and shoulders. It was perfect for rinsing off all the impurities purged from our body, and I really enjoyed floating on my back and staring up at the night sky; just imagine a circle in your vision, with trees around the edge, a clear purple sky decorated with stars and the moon… Absolutely beautiful and I really enjoyed it, despite going under when my friend appeared behind me and freaked me out…
Next we went to the Tyrolean Sauna because my friends wanted to dry off so we could eat in the cafe; it’s a traditional wooden sauna with 3 seating levels and the higher you go, the hotter it is as these seats are closest to the heat lamps. I realised that none of us wanted to talk much in the saunas as we were so focused on the heat. There are two types of saunas depending on what type of heat you are looking for; the ‘saunas’ at this spa are dry heat saunas with low humidity that don’t require humidity to induce perspiration. They are said to relieve stress, open the pores and cleanse the body of impurities; people often suggest using the sauna in combination with the Ice Fountain or the Multi-Sensory Showers (neither of which we used). This felt comfortable but for some reason required concentration lol; I think I enjoyed the steam baths more despite hating humidity!
The cafe area was beautiful; wall windows surrounded by the forest outside gave an exotic ambience to the seating area. Unfortunately the food was not only over-priced but also exotic, something I’m not particularly fond of so I settled for a double chocolate muffin!! Overall amount spent on my experience, £2.75. BARGAIN. The perks of having a friend who works in a spa!!
My double chocolate muffin and a puffy picture of my face as I waited for my muffin to be served! J commented on how my face was super red after we left the sauna, this was taken just after and she was right!! See how awful my scarring is? I guess it looks worse since my skin is flared up from all the heat but my brown gel liner stayed put throughout my entire experience!! JY then took us for a private tour of the treatment rooms where she works massaging people; we also got to see the ‘after relaxation’ room where people go after they have had their treatment; it was along room with a whole wall as a window viewing a steep bank, shaped hedges and forest trees. Lined up in front of the window were padded loungers and blankets that people rest on whilst taking in the beautiful scenery.
After lunch we went to the Japanese Salt Steam Bath! I think this was my favourite, and had a similar layout to the Laconium; it smelled strongly of salt and the steam was so thick you couldn’t see the other side of the room!! There were more people sharing this room so we just sat quietly and commented about things here and there. Apparently, the Japanese believe that the ocean air is good for the respiratory system; this steam bath uses salt, steam and essential oils of salt, jasmine and mint, that is good for congestion, purifying, detoxifying and blood circulation. The heated seats shock you at first by how hot they are, but you quickly melt into them as your body slowly heats up and you start to perspire.We then made our way to the Finnish Sauna, the hottest of the two; this one was filled with people so we had to be quiet, I sat on the top seat and felt okay throughout. 2nd learned thing about myself – I can handle heat better than I thought I could. This sauna pretty much does the same as the first one we went in but to a higher extreme because the heat is higher; it definitely seems the most popular of the two.
We quickly popped into the Aqua Meditation room; a dark, cool room with luxurious, padded seats and foot rests and a tranquil water feature in the middle. The idea is to relax to the sound of water and feel comforted by the colourful lights as you rest; they even provide you thick faux fur throws to snuggle under so you can fall asleep! We actually left J in there whilst we disappeared to our last experience room, the Turkish Hammam…
I really enjoyed the Turkish Hammam, and all of my friends were suffering from congestion so were also eager to get in there!! The room is decorated beautifully with many seats and cold hose pipes; I have to admit, that this room felt particularly hot to me but that might have been because I was a little tired, so I kept having to use the cold pipe on my feet because I felt that the floor was too hot, even though it made the room hotter and steamier. Every now and then there is a puff of intense steam; it wasn’t long before I had to get out, I think this was also due to the essential oils of Eucalyptus which is incredibly similar to menthol, which majorly helped our congestion.
We then hopped on the Reflexology Footbaths since they came on, before having one last swim in the outdoor pool; my friend was particularly quiet, so I stayed with her and watched the sky for a while. It was near enough 20:30 before we got out, but the pool was so still and quiet, that I decided to try and swim… Turns out, I CAN. I can do the breast stroke!! Everytime I have tried to swim, I’ve always been expected to do the forward crawl which I find particularly splashy and I HATE water getting in my face; I have only ever had the opportunity to learn when the pools have been crowded, loud and splashy, so it was nice that the pool was so still that I could give it a go!! I’m so proud of myself (even though my shoulders ached like a biatch the next day)! 3rd learned thing about myself – I DO know how to swim!!
We then had a shower and got ready; saw so many naked bodies and boobies that it almost seemed pointless us even having robes!! I have to say that I was SO, SO, SO relaxed afterwards that it even lasted into the next day!! I slept soundly and my breathing was much better!! That was… until I got hayfever and a cold… Omg I had SO MUCH FUN. I know this post is long, but I couldn’t not go into detail about my amazing evening!! I’m no spa enthusiast, most of the detailed information came either from the website or wikipedia!
Anyway, here are some things you ought to know before you go to a spa:
1) Comfort over style – My friends were constantly saying how they were losing their bikini bottoms; and when you’re in such close proximity of others, flashing your bits is not what you want!
2) Stay in one place when using a steam bath – The seats and tiles are very hot, constantly moving will be uncomfortable and your body won’t be able to get used to the heat.
3) Be aware that when you stand up to leave a steam bath, you will become VERY HOT – This is something I wasn’t prepared for but when you go to leave a steam room your body will become extremely hot to the point it is unbearable; however this discomfort will leave as quickly as it came.
4) Watch out for ‘hot drops’ – When you’re using a steam bath, you’ll be dripped on by the condensation from the ceiling and this may well be hot. My friends and I were constantly ‘oww’ing’ to the amount of times we got dripped on.
5) When you leave the spa area, dry off properly – Although we ‘dried’ off in the Tyrolean Sauna, our robes were damp and cool (you can take these into the dry saunas with you if you like), and I actually felt chilled when I was sitting in the cafe; it’s important to dry off properly otherwise you may end up like me now, with a cold.
6) Don’t feel like you’re being watched – No one is watching you because everyone is going about being busy with getting relaxed; you may share a room with strangers but they’ll take no notice of you, so try not to be so self-conscious.
7) Please be quiet! – Pretty much all spas ask that you are quiet; it’s not so bad if you are alone in the room, but it is respectful to hold your tongue in the presence of others. You don’t have to be silent, just quiet; and at the end of the day, no one wants to hear your problems when they’re trying to relax.
8) The cold hose pipe can make it hotter – Because you will be adding cold water to a temperature that can cause it to evaporate, the water will quickly turn into steam and can make the room hotter and steamier when you are trying to cool yourself off.
9) Try to remember where you left your robe – Spas will often have numbered hooks outside of the rooms and around the spa itself; try to remember what number you hooked your robe on, otherwise you may end up with someone else’s sweaty robe…
10) If at any point you feel unwell, get out – The main thing to remember is that if you feel unwell, leave; there should be water tanks around with cups for you to get an unlimited amount of water. You need to keep your body hydrated as you will be facing a lot of heat and sweating.
Hope this was somewhat helpful for you; I really enjoyed the experience and look forward to doing it again, maybe next time I’ll get a body treatment!! Sorry the post is so long, there was a lot to talk about even though all we did was sit in rooms and sweat!! I can’t wait until the end of April when I will be seeing Kyary Pamyu Pamyu!! I love having things to look forward to~ ♥