“WOW mum, we have never seen you looking so clean!’’ was the verdict from my two young children when I arrived home from a relaxing spa experience to be met by the usual chaos!
Not only was I clean, I was chilled, well fed and with the sun out, there was not much more I could ask for! I had just enjoyed a wonderful spa experience at the award-winning urban day spa in The Lowry Hotel in Manchester.
The hotel is a favourite of Manchester’s celebrity scene and I am not surprised. It’s cool and trendy and right in the heart of the city and with excellent views of the River Irwell.
The Rocco Forte hotel oozes class from the minute you step through the door and the spa is no exception. Its clean, bright and has that calming feeling. There are six treatment rooms and two dry saunas as well as a fully equipped gym.
It was relaxation I had come for and my beauty therapist Kim did not let me down. Young and enthusiastic and full of good things to say about The Lowry and Manchester, Kim was calm and professional.
I tried out the Vitality Package. For £90, I was treated to an hour and three quarters of tranquil relaxation. My body was given an exfoliation using an exotic lime and ginger sea salt. The body is brushed firstly with a cactus brush, before the salt in rubbed in. And boy does it feel good. Your skin feels alive and after a quick shower to rub it off, your skin just purrs!
Then it’s a full body massage. Since having Ruaridh (5) and Flora (2), I have suffered with back pain. And Kim was quick to work on the problem. With my head down on a specially crafted bed to stop neck pain, Kim’s magic fingers just smoothed away my aches and the low lights and soft music, allowed me to drift off into dream world.
With the massage over, it was time to try out the relaxation room and dry sauna, peace to read a magazine and enjoy a fruit tea and then sweat off a few pounds in the sauna, then a quick shower and a chance to try out the spa’s luxury shampoo.
Now I was all relaxed and refreshed and I made my way to the River Bar and Restaurant for a three-course lunch sitting outside and enjoying the sun and the views along the river. With a choice of three starters, mains and desserts, I plumped for the crab spring roll, with sweet chilli jam, Asian slaw and lime oil. The roll was crisp and light and full of filling. The jam complemented it well. This was washed down with a nice fresh glass of champagne, before trying out a main dish of pan fried plaice fillet wih squid ink tagliatelle, wild mushrooms and tarragon bubbles. I have had squid ink tagliatelle in Scilly and this was just as good. The plaice was cooked to perfection and the dish a generous size. And the mushrooms gave it an extra kick. A dessert of crumbly Mrs Appleby’s Cheshire with home-made chutney and grapes was enjoyed with a nice glass of white wine.
And as I watched the next generation of would-be Olympic rowers ploughing up and down the river, I thought “this is the life and long may it continue!’’