Travel | A Weekend Of Rest at Ye Olde Bell Spa

[Ye Olde Bell Hotel and Spa very kindly offered us a discounted rate for an incredible couple of days with them but all opinions are my own

After your late 20s, being a woman is HARD. Work, family, LIFE... So getting away for a couple of days to to chill the heck out is often very much at the top of our to do lists. Throw an impromptu hen party into the mix and a Luxury spa day at Ye Olde Bell Hotel and Spa is the way to go.

The Em Edit

It would seem that we're spoilt for choice for spas in the UK, but just because there are options doesn't mean they're all what we'd hope for and we really wanted to make sure that we celebrated the gorgeous bride-to-be Hollie in a style befitting her gloriousness. In the past, I've experienced issues around service, cleanliness, overcrowding and treatment availability - That's why recommendations are so important, and we have Georgina and her own glowing review to thank for this one in particular. 
Based just outside of Retford in Nottinghamshire, Ye Olde Bell Hotel and Spa is easy as anything to get to from anywhere in the UK (Including London, where two of our group travelled from) The best thing though, is that it's just TWENTY minutes from my house. Meaning I'm basically going to live there now.

We arrived at Ye Olde Bell Hotel for check in around 2pm, meaning we were quite obviously a bit peckish. The menu at Ye Olde Bell offer quite a variety of food, including Afternoon Tea, sandwiches and pub classics like fish and chips. We went for one of each sharing platters - These were made for two and we shared three between the five of us (Who were VERY hungry!) so the portions are spot on. We may have also sunk a few bottles of Prosecco and behaved thoroughly disgracefully but, all in all a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
Following lunch, we checked out our rooms. We were given a twin and a triple between five. To say that the building has been around since the 17th century, the rooms are beautiful. Clean, classic and each having a beautiful modern bathroom (Some include roll top baths and walk in showers) whilst maintaining original features. Eco-friendly toiletries and handmade biscuits are lovely details. 

Jumping ahead a bit; I'm not a faddy sleeper but I do like to know I'll be comfortable and I was not at all disappointed. Despite there being a road outside and wedding on downstairs, our room was incredibly quiet. The bed was perfect and the pillows were a dream. Even with some impromptu spooning from my good friend Chlo, I slept like a log and was perfectly rested for a full day of... well... rest.
Our evening meal was a three course spectacular at the AA rosette holding Restaurant 1650. Service was incredible, the food was out of this world and I honestly don't think I've ever been so full in my whole life. Hearty pies, perfectly cooked fish, and the best soup I've ever tasted in my life (A bold statement, I know). I ate that much I was worried I'd never eat again...Until breakfast... Which was a full English PLUS continental. WELL DONE, MY TUMMY.
What can I say about the spa itself?
WOW. Just WOW. 
I’m torn between telling you all about it and simply saying: Go, try it yourself, no words from me could do it justice. Even just entering the spa building is an experience all on its own; Chalet style with elegant decor, attentive staff and that spa smell that you can never replicate anywhere else (Don’t mock my lack of poeticism here, you know EXACTLY what I mean).

We were welcomed by a member of the spa team with ice cold glasses of water, taken to the lounge and given time to choose what we would like from the lunch menu later that day. When we were all refreshed (From our really long walk across the car park..) and ready to go, we were taken through a very glamorous mirrored corridor to the changing rooms.

The words “Changing room” make me think of sweaty socks, slippy floors and Carole Smilie. But for totally different reasons. These changing rooms are on another level my friends; Indiviual vanity units with their own hair dryers, toileteries for those of us (me) who didn’t think to bring any, simple to use lockers with no sticky wrist bands. We got off to a CRACKING start. 

When we were all suitably swim suit-ed up, we were met in the main spa area. Ye Olde Bell Spa has ten individual thermal experiences for you to immerse yourself in, including a herbal laconium (It smells REYT nice) and a snow storm which excited me more than is sensible for a woman in her mid-30s.

We also have Georgina to thank for the extra large robes you see above. As Georgina mentions in her review, the robes have always been available but broaching the subject was a new one for the spa team. Following Georgina's feedback, our spa host very subtly and sensitively mentioned that other sizes were available and before we knew it, we were all ensconced in robes THAT FIT. To anyone not plus sized, this may sound like a small thing, but that feeling of being somehow "other" on arrival at a spa gives you a blah feeling for the rest of the stay. NOT TODAY THANK YOU!

We were also given the opportunity to test out two of the spa’s bespoke treatments: The Sabbia Med and, my personal favourite, The Rasul. The Sabbia Med was on of the strangest yet most brilliant treatments I’ve ever had. We were sent to a room. Full of sand. With deckchairs. Yes, you heard correctly. “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!?” I hear you scream at me. WELL, I had to suspend my disbelief as well guys, but hear me out. Whilst we chilled out on our “beach”, low levels of UV light were emitted over a 30 minute period, promoting the release of Vitamin D and making us feel like we’d just spend a week on the Costa Del Sol. BLISS.

As for the Rasul? If you’ve never had one, DO IT. What better way to improve the intimacy you have with your friends than rubbing mud into their nooks and crannies? There were boobs everywhere. It was bloody great. Do it. JUST DO IT.
Yet again, the food was INCREDIBLE. The lunch menu is limited but has something for everyone; Plus every dish is fresh, light and packed with flavour. We were offered a two course meal as start of our stay and as a savoury chick, I went for a starter of red pepper soup (DELICIOUS) and a veggie linguine which was cooked to perfection. It's said we eat with our eyes and everything that was brought to our table was beautiful. Washed down with a couple of glasses of pink Prosecco; I felt very luxurious indeed. 

We spent much of the rest of the day doing a circuit of the various bubbly delights of the outdoor vitality pool, which I could have spent a month just bobbing about in…

Jacuzzi bubbles, gossip and cocktails in the sunshine anyone...? We were spoilt for poolside drink choice, with mojitos, Aperol and Bloody Marys amongst others, all available without alcohol if that's not your thing. The spa butlers (Seriously!) are on hand for any request, which REALLY adds to the luxury vibe which I feel is lacking with so many other day spas.
What's the greatest testament you can offer a spa? Booking again. And I kid you not when I say I've already done just that. 

Ye Olde Bell Spa offer some fantastic packages, including Twilight Spa experiences, overnight stays and day spa visits. Head to their website to see more.
Em x