Finding relaxation – county spa review

Bannatyne, Fairfield Hal

Bannatyne, Fairfield Hal - Credit: Archant

Having a spa treatment is one of life’s great luxuries, especially during rainy March. We sent a Hertfordshire Life team out to a range of spas in the county to report on the experiences

Breathing Space

Breathing Space - Credit: Archant

Breathing Space, Harpenden, Reviewer: Julie Lucas.

Bannatyne, Fairfield Hall

Bannatyne, Fairfield Hall - Credit: Archant



Champneys - Credit: Archant

This small award-winning day spa is tucked away just off the High Street in Harpenden.

Espiritu Spa, Radlett

Espiritu Spa, Radlett - Credit: Archant

I was recommended one of the spa’s signature treatments, a cocooning lavender body ritual.

Hanbury Manor, Ware

Hanbury Manor, Ware - Credit: Archant

The treatment room was beautifully decorated with a middle-eastern feel, and lit by candles and soft lighting.

Odyssey Spa

Odyssey Spa - Credit: Archant

The heated massage bed really did make me feel cocooned and is perfect for people who feel the cold.

Retreat Spa

Retreat Spa - Credit: Archant

Most Read

The ritual began with full body exfoliation. This was followed by a mud wrap, facial, scalp massage and then a soak in a jacuzzi bath. A full body massage completed the treatment.

Sopwell House spa

Sopwell House spa - Credit: Archant

After two hours of being pampered, I could have gladly stayed on the bed and gone to sleep. It really was like a spa day condensed into a couple of hours.

Breathing Space is a small, friendly but professional spa offering 99 per cent natural treatments as well as osteopathy and physiotherapy.

Facilities included a small gym which offers personal training, a good sized yoga studio, hand and foot area and a relaxation room.

I finished my day with a revitalising smoothie in the spa’s popular Blueberry Café.

It really did give me the breathing space I needed and left my skin feeling beautiful.


Bannatyne Spa, Fairfield Hall, nr Letchworth, Reviewer: Jane Males.


The health club and spa are situated in a beautiful Victorian building with a modern hotel-like reception. The spa has a contemporary feel, but retains its huge domed ceiling retaining original ornate beams and stained glass windows. It is split over two levels with the treatment rooms, including a twin one, on the first floor, along with heated marble beds, mood lights and soothing music playing.

Bannatynes offers individual treatments as well as spa days for both men and women. Treatments include sea weed body wrap, hot lava shell massage, bamboo stick deep tissue massage, chocolate massage scrub and moisturiser - you can even choose from orange or mint to enhance the chocolaty experience. They also offer Gelish nails and Leighton Denny manicures.

I found the staff extremely welcoming and friendly. I was shown around and given a robe and slippers and then relaxed on the heated marble beds before my treatment. The treatment room was contemporary but still retained original features. Dimmed lighting, candles and relaxing music added to the atmosphere. I had the hot lava shell body massage. Before the therapist started, she asked if I suffer any aches. I mentioned my shoulders - a hazard of working on a computer. The hot shells were worked along my back and shoulders and helped loosen up my shoulders. The heat from the shells was extremely relaxing and soothed away the stresses of my hectic day. The therapist then massaged each leg, foot and arm, finishing off with a head and neck massage. I felt wonderfully relaxed and rejuvenated with all my aches gone.

I would definitely recommend this treatment and wouldn’t hesitate to book again.


Champneys, Tring, Reviewer: Liz Giroud.

First impressions were really good. I was taken into a reception room and offered tea, coffee, fresh juices and pastries. Staff (all immaculately dressed and polite) then explained how the day was going to run and gave me a soft white dressing gown and flip flops.

A stately building set in 170 beautiful acres, Champneys has a grand reception, while the spa areas are contemporary with modern chandeliers and curved sofas. Dim lighting created a relaxed atmosphere.

My treatment was a bamboo massage, involving two bamboo sticks. Therapist Jade made me feel really at ease and explained exactly what would happen in the treatment. It was a deep tissue massage and one I would say is ideal for anyone doing a lot of sports or with tense muscles. It wasn’t a tranquil massage, rather something my body needed after recently starting a boot camp.

It’s worth knowing the resort flows in a circle, so you can’t really get lost.

I would recommend going with a friend or a group so you can make the most of lazing around the pool catching up with friends. I would also say stay overnight – why get completely relaxed to then drive home?

If you have booked for the day or for a short break, make the most of the exercise classes available - there are relaxing and fun ones as well as more high energy ones.

There is also a shop, so you can take home your favourite Champneys pampering treats.


Espiritu Salon and Spa, Radlett, Reviewer: Louise McEvoy.


Espiritu Salon and Spa, in Battlers Green Farm, Radlett, is a haven for those looking to take a break from the world and indulge in some pampering in a rural retreat.

With a striking glass frontage, the building has a light, airy, contemporary feel, with upcycled furniture, retro posters and drinks served in vintage china giving it a quirky twist. Soothing music and friendly staff ensure a relaxed atmosphere, while the extensive services on offer guarantee something for everyone.

The spa offers everything you would expect – facials, massages, body wraps, manicures, pedicures and waxing – and also offers holistic therapies such as reflexology, meditation and emotional freedom technique - a therapy used to help reduce stress, tackle addictions and deal with traumas. There is also the Fabulous Room, where you and three friends can enjoy one of three pamper packages.

The hair salon offers a full range of services and has a separate area for men.

Mummy Mondays is a fabulous concept, allowing busy mums to have their hair cut or enjoy a beauty treatment while their children are entertained with toys and books provided by the salon. Children under 10 also receive a free hair cut for every mum paying for a service.

I had a blow dry and a manicure and it was a relaxed and indulgent experience and I was very pleased with the results.

Espiritu is a hair and beauty salon with a holistic twist, offering great value for money.


The Spa at Hanbury Manor, Reviewer: Claire Freeney.


The sweeping drive up to the Hanbury Manor house in Ware and its beautiful cedar trees on the manicured lawn put you in a good mood.

You enter via the main hotel entrance and make your way to the spa on the ground level. I was greeted by the beauty consultant who led me past the lovely indoor pool to the treatment room which had a feeling of tranquillity and wellbeing. She talked me through the treatment and tailored it to my skin type.

The treatment room was cool but I had an electrically heated blanket to cover me. The room was softly lit and soothing background music created an atmosphere of calm.

My treatment was a Decleor specific facial. It commenced with a relaxing aromatherapy back massage using a cocktail of essential oils, followed by a facial using an Iris serum and a cleanser to help regenerate the skin. While a face mask was left on my face, the therapist gently massaged my arms and hands.

On completion of the treatment, I was offered a glass of lemon water which was lovely and refreshing.

The treatment lasted 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Overall the spa is a beautiful sanctuary, which left me feeling well and truly pampered. There was the opportunity to use the pool and jacuzzi before the treatment if I had wanted to, allowing me to prolong the experience.


Odyssey Spa, Knebworth, Reviewer: Sarah Grosvenor.


This Thai-themed spa has eight treatment rooms and has undergone a recent refurbishment. A new relaxation room has ambient lighting, luxurious sofas and plump cushions and feels like you have been transported somewhere in the Far East.

Odyssey offers full spa days, which incorporate use of the pool area, including steam room and spa, and the relaxation room, as well as lunch, refreshments, and robes, slippers and towel. The relaxation suite is also available for private use for celebrations and parties.

It offers a full range of treatments including facials, massages, tans, nails and lashes, as you would expect. For a luxury experience, try one of the Odyssey Rituals which incorporate massage and facial packages, or choose from the Exotic Treats package featuring body exfoliations and wraps. Customers spending over £45 on treatments can use the spa area for free.

The staff were very attentive and welcoming and tailored each treatment to my skin type. The robe and slippers were a nice touch, as was the glass of prosecco at the end of the treatment in the relaxation room. I had the Absolute Spa ritual, which started with a Thai foot massage, then a full body massage and an enzyme resurfacing facial using Elemis products. It was incredibly relaxing - in fact I fell asleep. The heated treatment beds were fantastic as was the therapist. It felt like a unique experience tailored to my needs and one I would highly recommend.


The Retreat and Spa, Gosling Sports Park, Welwyn GC, Reviewer: Sarah Grosvenor.


The Retreat has its own access to a very impressive pool area and the spa itself is beautifully decorated. There is a relaxation room where you can relax further between treatments or have lunch.

The spa is open seven days a week and offers a number of treatments using Decleor products including massage, facials, manicure, waxing and tanning for men and women.

Its spa days incorporate use of the 17 metre heated spa pool with water jets, a Finnish sauna, Indian blossom steam room and laconium. It’s worth allowing extra time in this area as it is surrounded by loungers where you can relax and read a magazine. Alternatively the relaxation room is a fantastic alternative.

The Retreat has the advantage of having not only a heated spa pool with water jets to start your relaxation day off nicely, but various steam rooms and saunas. I was therefore incredibly relaxed before my treatments. Robe and slippers are provided. Lunch was delicious and served in the relaxation room which was full of magazines and loungers with cushions.

I had a sports massage, which was tailored to my problem areas and the facial was suited to my skin type. The manicure was excellent and the staff were attentive - they even offered to get my keys out of my bag so I wouldn’t damage my newly painted nails. I will definitely return.


The Signature Spa, Little Hallingbury, Reviewer: Claire Freeney.


Signature is an independently owned spa in an idyllic location near the river in Little Hallingbury just outside Bishop’s Stortford,. The entrance to the spa is very welcoming and has a contemporary feel with dark wood floor and natural colours with a subtle oriental theme. Beautiful lotus leaf aromatic candles with a delicious scent fill the air.

There are three treatment rooms and a nail bar area, using Jessica products. The beauty therapist was very friendly and I was offered herbal tea while I filled in a form and harp music gave an air of calmness and relaxation.

The treatment room was beautifully presented with soft lighting and an array of body treatments and skin care. The spa uses the ESPA all natural skincare range. I particular liked that the oils were dabbed on my arm, allowing me to choose the scent I found most appealing and suited my skin tone.

My back, face and scalp treatment started with a holistic back massage which eased away tension, especially in my neck, followed by a facial tailored to my skin type. I chose a regenerating facial which hydrated my skin and had a lovely floral sent. It was a very personal service and my skin felt very radiant and refreshed. The treatment lasted 90 minutes.

There was lovely relaxation lounge to enjoy post-treatment, where you can lie down if you wish and extend the experience.

Wedding and bridal packages are also available, as are treatments for men.


The Spa at Sopwell House, St Albans, Reviewer: Sharron Marriott.


Turning into the driveway at Sopwell House you know that what lies ahead is really special - from the grand building set in beautiful landscaped gardens and the warm and friendly welcome at The Spa reception reinforced that feeling.

The spa successful blends the traditional and contemporary. It is very peaceful and the Japanese design running through the spa promotes a soothing calm.

Treatments use ESPA and Clarins body products, which are wonderfully indulgent, and Jessica nail products. Some of the more popular treatments include the hot stone massage, holistic therapies and aromatherapy facials. The 15 metre swimming pool with jacuzzi, steam room and sauna adds to the overall experience and those in favour of a good work out as well as relaxation will appreciate the well-equipped cardiovascular gym and free weights.

I enjoyed an ESPA total body care treatment, which combined a thorough body brushing and exfoliation with a deep body and scalp massage. The oils and products are beautiful and my therapist was very professional and considerate. It was a truly relaxing experience.

The steam room and sauna were peaceful, and, combined with my treatment, left me feeling cleansed from the inside out. A lovely touch upon arrival was the gift of a small satin ESPA cosmetic bag containing three miniature products. Highly recommended!

Comments powered by Disqus