If you are looking for a beautiful but intimate spa to enjoy some pre-wedding pampering then a visit to The Spa at the Bedford Lodge Hotel in Suffolk is the perfect little country retreat for discerning brides and their loved ones.
Situated just an hour and a half out of London, The Spa at Bedford Lodge is housed in a stunning Georgian property, located in the rural equine town of Newmarket. When the town is not hosting races, its quiet stables and paddocks are a serene welcome to those driving in for the first time.
The entrance to the spa is a lovely big black country house door that opens to reveal warm and modern interiors. I am here to get all the bridal beauty essentials done with the ‘Pre-Wedding Prep Package’ which includes an ESPA Personalised Facial, Full Body Salt and Oil Scrub, Jessica Manicure and Zen Spa Pedicure.
Lunch at the Spa Lounge
I arrive early to enjoy some lunch in the Spa Lounge and experience the Hydrotherapy Pools before my treatments. The spa lounge offers delicious but healthy dishes which, I’m pleased to add, can include a glass of Champagne. The interior design throughout the spa is noticeable and I am already feeling indulged as I sit back in my high winged armchair and tuck into a yummy crab salad.
The Hydrotherapy Pool
Lunch preludes some serious spa time and I make my way to the hydrotherapy pool. As I hang my waffle robe and towel on the hooks by the pool, I notice that they are cleverly located on the walls next to the sauna and steam room meaning robe and towel are toasty and warm when you come back to them. The hydrotherapy pool makes quite a statement with floor to ceiling windows flooding the pool with natural light and providing pretty reflections off the heated seat covered in iridescent mosaics.
In my experience of spa I often think that hydrotherapy pools get a little overlooked. Not only are their warm waters immensely relaxing but the combination of strong jets are highly beneficial in boosting circulation and bringing some life back to dull colourless skin. Above everything else, it is like being in a space of neverending massage where you are the therapist the treatment only ends when you wish it to. I spend the next hour moving from pool to sauna to steam room and then back to pool with a freezing cold bucket of water thrown in to remind myself that pain and pleasure are all part of the beauty ritual.
Beach Club Style Relaxation
Just above the hydrotherapy pool is a mezzanine relaxation area leading to an outdoor rooftop hot tub. If ever there was a spot for a bride and her friends to hang out in between treatments, it is here. Large draped daybeds and rattan hanging garden chairs provide guests with a beach club style atmosphere which in the summer would be positively holiday-ish.
Salt & Oil Scrub
As reluctant as I am to leave this cool hangout zone, it is time to get down to the nitty gritty of some serious beautifying. A spacious and warm treatment room is my home for the next two hours and Elisha is my therapist. We start with the body scrub – a treatment that often provokes different reactions because, I’ll be honest, it is fairly messy. Elisha uses sea salts and essential oils to vigorously scrub away winter’s accumulation of dry skin. Shower and emerge with super smooth and glowing skin covered in a light film of essential oil. This treatment, after my pummeling session in the hydrotherapy pool is like a full body workout – I feel totally invigorated and my skin is tingling at having some life thrown back into it.
Personalised ESPA Facial
I lie back on the wide treatment bed in preparation for my personalised ESPA facial. Elisha gives me a hand mirror while she holds an ultraviolet light over my face. Together we identify areas of my face that are in need of attention – dehydration around the eyes and forehead, sun damage on the cheeks and congestion around the nose. I am a big believer in getting your skin analysed regularly, it is constantly changing and what might have worked for you six months ago may not necessarily be working for you now.
As a bride-to-be you want your skin to be looking its absolute best so this treatment is ideal in helping you to establish products and a routine to take you from pre-wedding into post-honeymoon. The facial itself is deeply relaxing and I feel myself dipping in and out of a micro sleep whilst Elisha applies lotions and potions before expertly massaging my face, head, neck and shoulders. My skin is positively plumped and congestion free, the lines around my eyes have subsided and Elisha has dabbed a delicious mango lip balm on my lips to finish – it’s like a little facial dessert.
Glossy Hands and Feet
The good thing about the Pre Wedding Prep Package is that you can book all the treatments to enjoy at the same time or you can book them individually. If you feel you want to get your facial done the week before the wedding but your nails only a few days in advance then this package can work well. Rachel, my nail therapist, appears to be another highly trained and well versed individual when it comes to beauty.
After years of perfecting her art on luxury cruise ships, she is now resident at Bedford Lodge Spa and preening Suffolk’s discerning clientele. Her skills are apparent as she confidently paints my finger nails in ‘Sexy Siren’ a bright red gel polish that could look hideous if not applied perfectly. My feet are soaked and scrubbed before also receiving their all important paintwork and I am left with flawlessly pretty little squaovals on both fingers and toes.
The Pre Wedding Prep Package costs £150 and lasts approximately three hours. Use of the hydrotherapy pool and thermal areas are complimentary during your stay. Lunch is not included but is highly recommended.