For my 21st birthday, my mum surprised me with an overnight stay at The Malvern Spa, so on 13th June, we packed our bags, jumped in the car, and made our way to Worcestershire. The drive was around an hour and a half, but listening (and pretty much screeching) The Greatest Showman soundtrack made the journey flyby.
“Great Malvern originated as a spa town with therapeutic qualities attributed to its springs. The Malvern Spa is one of the most significant spa developments in the UK, offering luxurious accommodation and first class spa facilities.”
Built in 2008, the 4-star hotel, spa, restaurant and gym’s (yes, they really have it all!) location is rather strange. Don’t get me wrong, the views of the Malvern Hills were stunning, but the actual spa is on the outside of a business park. Whatever you do though, do not let this put you off. The inside is entirely different.
When we arrived, we walked through the large glass doors and checked in. Check in is at 3pm, but we were told if we turned up earlier, we were welcome to have a drink in the bar whilst we waited for our room to be ready. I believe we arrived around 2:45, but luckily, our room was already ready. The receptionist asked us a few questions, gave us a form to fill in, and showed us to the lift to our room. She told us that once we were ready, she’d give us the grand tour. A quick throw-your-luggage-on-the-bed manoeuvre and a nosey at what type of instant coffee they provided in the room later, and we were back downstairs, waiting to see what The Malvern Spa had to offer.
After our tour, me and mum headed back upstairs to our room, to unpack and get ready to go into the swimming pool and spa.
We opted for a standard twin room, but the room was anything but standard. Air conditioning, en-suite, walk in shower with body jets (not all of the showers have body jets), flat screen TVs, tea, coffee and hot chocolate, a hair dryer, an iron and ironing board… The room had everything we could have asked for and more. The beds were extremely comfortable, and they even had a ‘Pillow Menu’, so if you wanted a different type of pillow, they’d happily provide you with your choice!
Towels, robes and slippers were also provided in the rooms free of charge. I was quite surprised on how soft they were, as sometimes when a hotel provides towels or robes, they can be quite scratchy and itchy.
Once we were in our swimming costumes and robes, we jumped back into the lift once more, and headed straight for the pool.
The Malvern Spa has both an indoor and outdoor pool, and you can swim in between the two of the pools, without having to get out of one, and walk to the other.
Both pools are heated to 35 degrees, so even if it’s cold and miserable outside, you can still enjoy the 5 different water jets and bubble massage stations.
The outdoor pool is surrounded by sun loungers and a brand new decking area that was only a week or so old when we arrived.
Like the outside pool, you can find sun loungers situated around the inside pool, making it a perfect spot to relax and read a good book. Food isn’t permitted around the pools, but we were told if we wanted a drink from the bar, they’d happily bring it to you whilst you lounge around.
In between the sun loungers, there was another little room which split off into 4 more rooms. Inside the centre room, there were three different showers, a foot spa and a huge ice fountain. Here’s how The Malvern Spa explains them all:
Foot Spa – A gentle way to begin the calming and cleansing spa ritual. Relax on the tiled seating and fill your personal foot bath to your own temperature and soak away the stresses in your feet.
Ice Fountain – This self administered treatment involves scooping handfuls of crushed ice from a large central fountain and rubbing vigorously onto the skin to stimulate circulation and close the pores.
Bucket (Drench) Shower – For the more adventurous, a much quicker way to cool down is to use the cold bucket shower which instantly drenches you in chilled water for an exhilarating end to your fire and ice experience.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything on their website about the other two showers, but here’s the basics of them:
- Left Shower – Just your bog standard shower really. Not much to say on this…
- Right Shower – Now this is what I call a proper shower. Inside the shower were two buttons – the ‘Tropical Rainstorm’ (I think that was what it was called), and another which I think had the word cold in, but I can’t remember the full name of it. The rainstorm option was exactly what it said on the tin. A warm, rain feeling shower.
Now, even though the second option had the word cold in, I decided to ignore this and give it a go. My advice? Trust the names of the facilities. If something in the spa says it’s cold, it doesn’t mean it’s just cold. It means be prepared to freeze your tits off.
Inside the four rooms were home to different saunas and steam rooms:
Crystal Steam Room – This large, fully tiled steam chamber with fibre-optic ceiling display is infused with essential oils that fill the intensely warm and humid air with relaxing aromas. A fantastic way to open the pores and relieve tension in your body, you will step out feeling calm and refreshed.
Salt Grotto – Begin your experience by enjoying the healing properties of the salt grotto. Gently warm your body on the heated tiled seats while being enveloped in the salt atmosphere. This rich, natural source of salt microns and negative ions is reputed to have a restorative effect on the respiratory system, skin and ionic balance of the body for a complete feeling of wellbeing.
Herb Sauna – For a more contemporary sauna, seasonal herbs and natural essential oils are gently steamed to cleanse body and mind in the herb sauna. This state of the art sauna radiates a soft heat with a higher humidity than the harsh dry heat found in a standard sauna so you can relax for longer.
Kelo Sauna – One of only 10 in the UK, this unique rustic sauna is constructed from naturally fragrant wood found only in the arctic circle. A large social space, there is plenty of room to recline, chat or simply soak up the aromatic atmosphere of this special experience.
Personally, I didn’t really enjoy the Salt Grotto. Whilst the noise of the water trickling down was extremely tranquil, I found it the most boring out of the four. The Herb Sauna and Crystal Steam Room were my favourites by far, and I would have happily taken them both home with me.
After having a little swim and a steam, we started to get hungry. We walked through to the bar, expecting them to tell us that they only had typical bar snacks like nuts and crisps, but instead, they provided us with a full day time menu which is served up until 7pm, and then their a la carte menu replaces it from 7pm onwards.
We both didn’t want to order too much as we didn’t want to spoil our dinner, but we settled for two portions of chips and a side salad each. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the chips, but my rocket and parmesan salad was beautiful.
Once we had eaten, we headed back into the pool for one last time before we had our spa treatment.
The Malvern Spa offers a range of different treatments including facials, HD brows, cosmetic injectables, mens spa treatments and more. My mum and I opted for a back massage and with it being my first ever massage, I had no idea what to expect.
We checked in with the spa receptionist, who showed us to the treatment waiting area. We were given a form to fill in which we had to tick any of the health conditions we had, and what we were hoping to gain from the massage.
Soon after, two spa therapists greeted us and brought us into two separate treatment rooms. A quick chat later, she popped two different oils onto my hand, and gave me the option to choose between them both. I picked the *ESPA Detoxifying Body Oil purely because of how it smelt.
Half an hour later, and the massage was over. Honestly, time seemed to fly by – I would have guessed that I was only there 10 minutes!
Once mum and I had met back up again, we took one last dip in the pool and a quick 10 minutes in the sauna, and then we made our move back to the room to get ready for dinner.
We brought a few different outfits to choose from in the evening, but it turns out that we shouldn’t have really bothered since there were quite a few people who were still in their robes. Both me and mum said that next time we go, we’d both just stay in our robes, so then we could go back in the pool and sauna afterwards.
Dinner was incredible. The food was amazing, and the staff were fab, and couldn’t do enough for us. With mum being vegetarian, there’s not normally a lot of choice for her, but luckily they allowed her to also order off of the lunch menu (the menu we ordered from in the afternoon) if she wanted.
For starters, we chose the classic prawn cocktail with buttered brown bread (£6.50) and pea and mint soup with goats cheese bon bon (£5.25). For some reason, I wasn’t 100% keen on my prawn cocktail, but I think it was just my personal taste, rather than the quality of the food. Afterwards, I had the grilled sea trout, mussels, langoustine, samphire and crushed potatoes (£16.50) and mum went for the pesto, rocket and pine nut tagliatelle pasta (£6.75).
The pool area closed at 10pm, meaning that you definitely have time for one last dip in the pool before bed, but since we had got ready for dinner, we ended up just sitting around their newly built decking area. With 4 swinging chairs, comfortable outdoor sofas and the fire pit made it hard to resist, so we got comfortable and warmed ourselves up.
After relaxing around the fire, we decided to call it a day, and head back into our room.
My mum is a super light sleeper, meaning that whenever we stay away somewhere, it’s likely that she won’t sleep very well due to outside noise. To both of our surprise, the room was pretty much sound proof. We honestly couldn’t hear a single door shutting outside, or people walking up and down the corridor.
We woke up the next day, both feeling very refreshed and well rested. Unfortunately, breakfast stopped at 9:30am which is super early for us both, but we made sure that we set an alarm the night before so that we didn’t miss it.
Breakfast was in the same place where we had our dinner, so once we were dressed, we made our way back downstairs and into the dining area.
For starters, you could choose from their ‘breakfast station’ which was full with cereals, fruit, bread to toast, pastries and different fruit juices.
I wasn’t feeling particularly hungry, so I grabbed a banana and some orange juice.
A lady arrived at our table, and took our ‘main’ breakfast order. I went with the American style pancakes, whilst mum opted for the vegetarian full english.
And this is where things started to go downhill.
We sat there for 45 minutes, watching everyone’s elses food arrive at their table, whilst ours was nowhere to be seen. The breakfast room wasn’t even particularly busy at this time, and there must have been around 4 or 5 other tables there.
When our food finally arrived, they missed out a few things off of the vegetarian fry up, so mum had to send it back and wait for the rest to arrive.
Since we had to wait a while, it meant we didn’t have time to go in the pool again before we had to check out at 11am.
Waiting for our breakfast and missing one last dip in the pool wasn’t the end of the world, but it definitely wasn’t the best way to end a fantastic birthday break away.
At check out, someone had told the receptionist about our wait, and they automatically removed the price of breakfast without us even having to ask. Something as silly as them removing the cost of our breakfast (I believe it was only £10) definitely made us feel better, and feel as if this is a complete rarity.
Despite breakfast not being the best, we really did have an amazing time at The Malvern Spa, and we’ll definitely be going back again in the future.
The next time we go, I think I’m going to have a few different treatments such as a facial and get my nails done. I also wouldn’t bother dressing up in the evening, and would love to spend more time lounging around the pool area with a good book.
What do you think of The Malvern Spa?