This was truly an invitation we couldn’t resist. L’Occitane is one of our favourite brands ever, ever, ever… And Bath is the elegant city we go to for R&R – retail is relaxing in our case – after we finish a big work stint. We have known and loved The Bath Priory with its three acres of lovingly tended gardens for many years. Plus our wonderful designer Jenny Semple (for Beauty Bible and now The Perfume Society) lives and works there so we can have a catch up.
Just before we tell you about the gorgeous new spa, a word about The Bath Priory, which is west of Bath centre, about a 20 minute walk across the Botanic gardens. We simply love a good hotel and this is stellar. Truly charming, super helpful staff; wonderfully comfy beds and sofas in our deliciously appointed rooms – and our tasting dinner hit the culinary heights. We sat in awe in the Michelin-starred restaurant as one tiny delicious course succeeded another. When the engaging and uber-talented young Executive Chef Michael Nizzero came out to say hello, we – well, we just wanted to take him home really.
So to the new L’Occitane Garden Spa, fittingly sited at one end of the hotel actually in the garden – truly a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The sunlight pours into through the Georgian windows (unlike many hotel spas which tend to be lower ground) as your nose catches the signature scents of Provence.
This is the first ever spa by L’Occitane in the UK and it’s open every day except for Christmas. Jo opted to have the Immortelle – Anti-Ageing Facial Treatment, which she reported was 90 minutes of divinity for face, neck and décolleté. The flower of the Immortelle tree never fades, even after being picked, and it is the basis of L’Occitane’s Divine anti-ageing products, which have won an unending stream of Beauty Bible awards.
Jo comments: ‘I love being able to have a spa facial somewhere, knowing that it’s not going to cause a reaction. There’s plenty of hands-on facial massage here, and work on the neck and décolletage – and I never fail to be transported by the scent of immortelle flowers, in L’Occitane‘s anti-ageing collection.’
Sarah chose L’Occitane’s signature treatment, the Verbena Relaxing Massage, again 90 minutes. Former sports massage therapist Alex delivered a mind-altering, body-soothing combination of different techniques from Swedish effleurage to Chinese acupressure and Balinese therapeutic massage. And she came away with her mind empty except for the lemony fresh fragrance of verbena.
At the start, every client is greeted with ‘Welcome Ritual’ footbath, soothing you from top to toe in preparation for the treatment. Afterwards there are day beds to relax on with a pile of glossies (or more likely eyes shut in a state of bliss). As well as the four treatment suits (with one dual suite for couples or friends), The Garden Spa also offers a big indoor pool, sauna and elliptical shaped steam pod.
We truly didn’t want to leave. So please go and try it yourselves. We’re particularly tempted by the Spa Day options, which include a day retreat for £135, with one 60 minute treatment, two course lunch and full use of all the facilities plus 20 per cent discount on any extra treatments you book. There is also Twilight Retreat, £105, and Afternoon Tea Spa Retreat, £145: now there’s a thought for Jo, whose diary often seems to revolve around ‘cake o’clock’.
To book, please call 01225-478395, or email here