Here we are, back to reality with a bump after the whirlwind glitz and drama of the Good Spa Guide Awards 2017. Wow, what an event!
The words 'Birmingham' and 'glamour' aren’t often teamed together. But that all changed when the Good Spa Guide Awards descended on the Birmingham Hilton on November 14. On the second evening of the prestigious Spa Life conference, the ballroom was transformed into a glittering awards venue hosting 500 of the industry’s finest.
Everything had to be perfect… the guests were leaders in luxury, we could not put a Louboutin-clad foot wrong.
Feather filled balloons secured on each of the 40 plus tables and red carpet rolled out, the Spa Spies then zipped themselves into their frocks (some of us squeezing into our Spanx), ready to host the champagne reception.
Contrary to stereotype, there was nary a fake tan or plastic forehead in sight. It seems spa professionals are a pretty classy bunch: even the few spa chaps (a small but important part of the industry) looked dapper. Stylish Spy and I had several bouts of frock envy, with the Natura Bisse team scoring particularly highly in our personal Frock Audit.
Since many of the guests were up for awards, the excitement was as palpable as champagne bubbles. We Spa Spies had to practise our poker faces as we mingled (yes, we already knew who the winners were…).
This year, we decided we wanted an absolutely fabulous host for our awards, so booked legendary British comedian Helen Lederer. You may know Helen from her work with Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders in the 1990s, her stint onstage in Calendar Girls, as well as the latest Celebrity Big Brother. While she is well known as dippy Catriona in Ab Fab, Helen is a smart cookie, a great comedy writer and hilariously good fun.
She arrived from London gorgeously glammed up in black sequins and diamante. I chatted to her beforehand, and she told me how much she enjoyed the Temple Spa treatment we organised for her – one of the perks of hosting our awards – and was now planning to add spa trips to her already busy schedule.
As we hadn’t worked with her previously, there is always some degree of tension before the awards (luckily Spa Spies, like The Queen, don’t sweat). But we needn’t have worried. Helen had everyone in stitches even before she grabbed the mike, and somehow managed to get hundreds of winners on and off the stage with grace and humour. I normally find awards events terribly boring – something one has to sit through before the dancing and real fun begins – but this was utterly entertaining.
All our winners were all delighted (there was some screaming), and their joy was infectious. I’m always impressed when anyone makes it up some steps onto the stage in six-inch heels. Winners of the most people on stage to receive a statuette went to St Pierre Park in Guernsey, the best spa in the Channel Islands – or as Helen joked, “The Chanel Islands.”
After receiving their statuette and posing for a photo on the red carpet, winners were plied with champagne and truffles. Everyone tried to befriend the one spa manager (naming no names) who won two bottles...
Those who didn’t win – including some of my own personal favourite spas – were gracious and happy to be nominated. There were a few deflated shoulders and some surprises, but no tantrums or tiaras hurled onto the stage.
The ceremony over, Helen tottered off in her heels in time for her London train, and the Spa Spies retired to the bar for some well-earned champers. Utterly exhausted, but happy, we watched as the spas professionals hit the dance floor.
Congratulations everyone who came to our awards, and thank you for making the night so joyful and dazzling with your beautiful outfits and joie de vivre. See you all again next year.