Un soupçon of Provence at The Garden Spa by L'Occitane at The Bath Priory hotel
With its honey-coloured gothic architecture, extensive manicured grounds and croquet lawn, The Bath Priory hotel (5 AA stars, just saying) is the archetypal English country house. You might be suprised to discover that its luxury spa offers treatments by the French skincare brand L’Occitane, which celebrates and preserves the traditions of Provence. The Garden Room by L’Occitane is the only one of its kind in the UK. Allons-y?
Walk through the ground floor of the hotel, with waiters gliding about (note to self: book lunch too, next time), to reach the lower ground level pool, sauna and steam pods.
POOL, SAUNA & STEAM
The pool’s on the same level as the gardens (you can walk right out into them) but it’s got a dreamy, subterranean atmosphere, with a sauna and a steam pod off to one side. So first, some lazy laps, some heat, some more laps and then flop on a lounger.
THE GARDEN SPA
Across the way, The Garden Spa’s burnt ochre walls, little sprays of mimosa and coffee table books with photos of lavender fields dotted around makes for a bit of a Provençal vibe. It’s so quiet in here, it makes you want to whisper.
In the four treatment rooms, one of which is for couples, rays of light coming through the shutters onto golden walls cleverly creates an impression of a Mediterranean sun, even on a grey British day.
All sorts of face and body treatments using the evocatively fragranced and natural L’Occitane products, each one starting with a Welcome Ritual foot bath. We’d booked in for two: an Almond Detoxifying & Firming Body Scrub & Wrap and an anti-ageing Immortelle Secret of Youth facial.
The Almond Detox started with an all-body exfoliation using a paste made of almond butter and oil, crushed almond shells and sugar crystals which was incredibly pleasurable. Then, cocooned in a wrap imbued with almond tree buds and proteins, rose bud and silicium derivatives and several towels, a head massage while the wrap did its work. The result? All over super silky skin.
Annie had a wonderfully indulgent facial using the Immortelle range of L’Occitane products from Corsica which not only smell of the South (myrtle, lavender, verbena) but contain organic immortelle essential oil, designed to stimulate cell renewal and collagen synthesis leaving skin. The facial also includes a cream face mask, decollete treatment and a head and neck massage. Have to say, she did look glowing afterwards.
Into the lounge for some idle magazine flipping and herbal tea sipping.
The gardens are lush. There’s a heated outdoor pool hidden away you, if you fancy.
Don’t forget to buy your L’Occitane products on the way out.
Good for: a few hours here and you’ll feel like you’ve just come back from the south of France.
Not for: a quickie – you’ll want to savour this.
The damage: 25-min mini treatments cost from £60; 60-min treatments cost from £110; 90-min treatments from £145. The Almond Detoxifying & Firming Body Scrub & Wrap and Immortelle Secret of Youth, each 60 mins. £110 Mon–Thurs. £120 Fri–Sun.
The Autumn Spa Day, Sun to Fri until Sat 30 Nov sounds good value: two-course lunch with champers, 60 min treatment of your choice, use of the spa facilities all day and 20% off selected treatments – from £125 per person.
The Garden Spa by L’Occitane, The Bath Priory, Weston Road, Bath, Somerset BA1 2XT. Tel 01225 478 395. bathpriory.co.uk