Monart Day Spa, Poundbury, Dorchester
One of the top spas in the world – the 5 star Monart Destination Spa, Ireland – has come to Dorset. Lucky us!
In the grand Royal Pavilion in Queen Mother Square, Poundbury, a perfect town-within-a-town in Dorchester, built on principles of architecture and urban planning advocated by Prince Charles. It was the Prince himself who officially opened the Monart Day Spa at the end of last year – but did he try out the spa? Their lips are sealed.
As you’d expect from the latest UK venture by one of the world’s top spas – the Monart Destination Spa, Ireland – we’re obviously talking high end. The entrance, with its white neo-classical pillars, sets the tone – it’s luxe.
Inside it’s all velvet sofas, chandeliers, Art Deco mirrors, embossed wallpapers and original artworks.
The dining room/lounge looks like a swanky hotel.
The changing rooms are gorgeous.
You put your stuff into the lockers and take your bits and pieces around with you in these cute bags.
There are eight different types of spa experience in the super impressive Thermal Suite, a combination designed to heat you up and cool you down. The ethos here is sustainable health and wellness, so expect traditional techniques and state-of-the-art technology, all wrapped up in one lovely, luxury package.
There’s a Sauna (of course) but there’s also a Salarium and a Caldarium. Whilst the Sauna’s hot dry atmosphere reaches around 80 degrees, the Salarium is more humid and a little cooler at 60 degrees, so you can stay in for longer. Both have the same beneficial effect on tired muscles, joints and skin.
The Caldarium is the coolest of the three: a dry, warm room with heated benches and floors designed to relax and soothe away stress. You’d probably want to stay in there all day.
Eucalyptus infused steam in the Aroma Steam Room cleanses the skin, opens pores and your airways. Feeling the heat? Head to the Polaris Ice Fountain for a scoop of the c.c.c.c.cold stuff (if you dare).
That’s a wall of Himalayan salt you’re looking at in the Salt Grotto. The combination of micro-ionised salt particles and heat/steam is said to aid breathing and revitalise the skin.
The sounds and scents in the Experience Showers will transport you to a Polynesian rainstorm, Scottish highlands shrouded in mist, to light shower in Bermuda or on the Isles of Scilly; you choose, at the press of a button. Take a seat in the Infra-red Pro cabin. The chairs have clever in-built sensors which scan your body to decide on the intensity of infra-red heat needed to penetrate your back during a relaxing 20-minute treatment.
It’s important to keep hydrated in the Thermal Suite, so don’t forget to drink plenty of water – PH balanced or fruit-infused water, that is.
Take a lazy swim in the infinity pool with jets of water around the sides to massage your shoulders, neck and back. The decor is incredible, with a mosaic lily pond on the wall and fantastical marine-themed glass chandeliers.
Lots of places to just chill. Choose your own chaise longue (it’s all yours for the duration of your stay) in the Bright Relaxation Room.
Hop into a relaxation pod. It goes without saying that the robes are super, super soft and fluffy.
Downstairs, the Dark Relaxation Room is def more Knightsbridge than Dorset.
Manicures and pedicures are upstairs but you head down to the lower floor for the beauty and wellbeing treatments. There’s an extensive list – facials, massage, wraps, for women, pregnant women, men, as well as manicures and pedicures – using the Pevonia spa range, containing seaweeds and botanicals and techologically advanced formulas; Zelens anti-aging skincare products; Made for Life, the 100% organic range suitable for everyone including people with cancer. Margaret Dabbs London luxury hand, feet and leg treatments. See the full list of treatments here.
My Lumafirm® Lift & Glow Facial and Eye Treatment was 85 mins of total bliss. The combination of cleansing, exfoliating with enzymes activated by heat, massage using freeze-dried seaweed and more left me glowing – and even more youthful than usual.
SCOFF & QUAFF
They don’t have an in-house kitchen but the delicious (and healthy) light lunch – mixed bean salad; sweet potato, coriander and chilli salad; pasta with watercress pesto; mushroom frittata – was provided by the award-winning and local Brace of Butchers, with cakes and other treats from Feed the Soul and chilled fizz from Dorchester’s Langham Wine Estate.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: A few hours, an evening, half or full day (why not?!) of pure, unadulterated indulgence. Those who don’t want to hefty membership fees; you book yourself into the spa and for treatments whenever it suits.
Not for: Spa weekends. As this a day spa, you will have to leave at the end of the day or evening (though you really won’t want to).
The damage: Good value, considering what you get for your money. My Lumafirm® Lift & Glow Facial and Eye Treatment cost £115 for 85 minutes. Half day and day packages, £120–£380. Treatments, facials, anti-ageing, body wraps and massages from £45. Evenings Essentials, from 6–8pm: the Monart Mini Therm’s two hours in the spa (£60); 55 minute treatment-only sessions, from £60–£95. See the full list of treatments and packages here.
The Monart Day Spa is open from Tues to Sun, 9am – 8pm.
Monart Day Spa, 8 Queen Mother Square, Royal Pavilion, Poundbury, Dorchester DT1 3DX. Tel 01305 595000. monartspa.co.uk