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Skin deep

It's tough when you've got to spend the day having your feet massaged to earn a living. Hazel Davis investigates one of the finalists of the British Beauty and Spa Awards

Published on August 28th 2008.

Skin deep

The annual British Beauty Awards are the Oscars of the beauty world. And with nominees in every category, as a region we obviously know how to look after ourselves. Waterfall Spa in Leeds and Easthorpe Hall in Mirfield are up for the Day Spa of the Year award, Samantha Calvert from Dewsbury is nominated as Manicurist of the Year, Huddersfield’s Titanic Spa is down for the Destination/Hotel Spa award and Susan Green from Wakefield is in the Nail Professional of the Year category. And the Pretty Woman salon in Oakwood, Leeds appears to be up for every award going, including best actress, cinematography and animation (probably).

My friend’s hot stone massage made her woozy and unresponsive. She came out in a daze, declaring that she might never work again.

For the sake of public interest, I volunteered to check out one of the region’s newest shining spa lights, Titanic Spa, to find out whether its nomination is justified. (It’s a hard life).

Titanic Spa is nestled in the Colne Valley in the former Lowestwood Mill building, now a glorious residential-cum-hotel mill conversion.

The spa opened in March 2006 and claims to be the UK’s first eco-spa. Offering spa treatments and products from Decléor, Elemis, Carita and ghd Spa, it’s right at the top of the pampering chain.

Armed with a rare day off, I took a good friend along. On arrival we were led into the Club Bar where we were offered a delicious salmon and salad lunch with a creamy latte and a carrot juice. Members of the Titanic Club are entitled to complimentary tea and coffee and a good read of the papers. Women of all ages were sat in the bistro in dressing gowns with serene looks on their faces. We could hardly wolf our lunch down fast enough.

We were shown into the changing rooms and coaxed into the fluffiest dressing gowns known to man before being shown round the facilities.

And what facilities. To start, my friend and I opted for the get-to-know-each-other-very-fast mud chamber treatment (£35 each), where we were ushered into a hot chamber with baskets of face, body and leg mud and told to derobe, slather it on and sit tight.

The mud felt great and the room was deliciously steamy. The only problem was that my friend and I – both self-employed workaholics – could only manage to sit still for five minutes before wanting results. The whole process is supposed to last 20 minutes, with a refreshing mineral shower. I hopped around outside the chamber, threatening to put my dressing gown on and leave, but eventually the mineral showers came on and we were free to go, skin deliciously soft, slippers orange from the mud.

The heat experience is something else. The treatments on offer originate from cultures dating back thousands of years and include a saunarium, aromatherapy room, crystal steam bath, foot baths, ice room and plunge pool.

We were able to hop from room to room, chilling in the ice room and sweating it out in the sauna, before dousing ourselves under the bucket shower or massage shower (a glorious heavy jet of directed water).

Then it was time for our treatments. I went for an Elemis Visible Brilliance Facial (£75) while my pal had a hot stone therapy massage (£80). My facial, delivered by a soft-spoken Katie Price-lookalike felt amazing and I almost went to sleep while she was massaging my feet. My friend’s hot stone massage made her woozy and unresponsive. She came out in a daze, declaring that she might never work again. I tried to check my mobile phone messages but was told that I had no signal.

Spas often promise a paradisical retreat, and then through the blinds you can see a builder scratching his arse or an ugly line of industrial bins, but not at Titanic. Every stop is pulled out to ensure the illusion (but is it an illusion?) of tranquillity is preserved, even down to the lack of mobile coverage. I could honestly have stayed there forever. A dip in the bijou pool cemented the deal for me. With no scary deep-end (it’s the same depth all over, perfect for a sissy like me) and a distinct absence of speeding, splashy boys, it’s my kind of pool and my kind of spa.

Day packages at Titanic start at £99, residential packages at £145, and treatments from £25 (waxing from £9, manicures from £15). Book at www.titanicspa.com or call 0845 410 3333.


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