From hot stones to hydrotherapy, Edition’s Phoebe Harper reviews The Spa at Newmarket’s Bedford Lodge Hotel
A stone’s throw from the main building, a verdant covered walkway draped with vines is the gateway to The Spa at Bedford Lodge Hotel. A tastefully renovated Georgian mansion, you get the sense of a grand country house, from the imposing wooden front door that leads into this haven of serenity and the beautifully manicured gardens fringed with lavender that hit you with welcome fragrance.
Inside, we sink into armchairs that threaten never to release us in the sumptuous lounge area. Afterwards, a friendly assistant escorts us through the spa’s facilities, which we are thrilled to find entirely empty on a Tuesday afternoon. With haste, I swaddle myself in the chocolate-coloured robes and slippers to return to the lounge for our lunch booking, where a glass of prosecco and smoked salmon and dill cream cheese focaccia awaits. Two other couples join us, each savouring multi-tiered servings of afternoon tea that look undeniably enticing.
Appetites satiated, we venture into the spa next door. Housed in a minimalist extension to the main building that is formed mostly of windows, it has a clean, neutral and open feel, looking out on the gardens. Enraptured to find it still empty, the outside world couldn’t feel further away as we dip into the hydrotherapy pool and the firm water jets pummel at my shoulders until I feel them start to drop.
For the next hour, we alternate in a dreamlike trance between the pool, its mosaic-tiled heated benches, the dimly lit steam room and the sauna. Twice, I dare to take the plunge under the ice bucket shower – a contraption that, although rejuvenating, is just as simple and shriek-inducing as it sounds.
Up the stairs in the relaxation area, I meet my spa assistant Mollie, who escorts me to a treatment room. Spoilt for choice by the endless array of options, I settle for a hot stone massage. With my every care attended to, Mollie offers me water, asks if I’d like my electric warming blanket on, and presents a choice of oils for the massage. Exuding a heady scent of lemongrass, over the next hour I am turned to putty as the hot stones ease out the tension from my body before the session draws to a close with a sleep-inducing scalp massage.
Floating from the room, she offers to show me a dedicated relaxation space, but I glimpse a precious window of afternoon sun and can’t ignore the call of the outdoor rooftop hot tub. Finding it vacant, its warming bubbles pass over me as an early autumn chill dances on the wind. Dreading having to leave this spotless sanctuary, back in the changing rooms we lavish ourselves with ESPA toiletries, their scent lingering long after the return home.