The Spa Spy blog

Elan Spa at The Greenway

The Greenway Hotel and Spa is set just outside the regency town of Cheltenham. The 16th century manor house is traditional Cotswolds stone, while inside is a good mix of old and modern. Think traditional country house hotel without the usual pompousness but rather some gentle, quirky tweaks. Both the hotel and spa are very laid back.

Elan Spa at The Greenway is a petite, modern, feminine spa with a range of treatments from the holistic to the medispa. A great way of looking and feeling your best, in a discreet, calm setting.

In the high summer, the centrepiece of the spa is the suntrap courtyard, which is equally delightful in the winter months when the outdoor fire is lit. There’s also a bubbly outdoor hot tub and lots of comfy seating to while away an afternoon.

If the weather is good enough you can dine in the courtyard. Otherwise the spa brasserie overlooking the courtyard has excellent quality food, which comes from the main kitchen so there’s no lessening of standards. Also overlooking the courtyard are the relaxation area and champagne nail bar, both beautifully light with floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

Inside there’s a pool with jet beds and swan pipes to bubble away and soothe your shoulders. Thermal experiences are just around the corner from the pool and include an experience shower (choose between cold mist and Caribbean storm), sauna, steam and sanarium -- we loved the steam room. The pool and thermal area is very modern with slate walls and dark steel accents, the lounger beds are in pale pink and beige and really soften down the strong design.

Unusually for a hotel spa, there’s no health club offering here so it is very quiet and private. No loud classes or music playing from the gym to distract you from your blissful spa day. Customer service is just right with plenty of very polite staff on hand, and the therapists are attentive but not intrusive.

Treatments are well delivered and varied, from Crystal Clear non-surgical facelifts to Shiatsu. I had an Egyptian Massage (55 minutes, £79). My therapist, Rocky, explained that an Egyptian massage is about balance, using soft tissue and deeper muscle massage to relax muscles and remove tension. He used a mixture of warm base oil and sea salt to leave my skin feeling super soft. The massage was much more diagnostic (than most), Rocky found the problems (mostly knots in my back) and worked until the acid build up was dispersed. It’s similar to massages in the Middle East or some parts of Europe, perhaps less about a holistic sense of relaxation and more about making you feel better physically.

My spa partner had the ESPA Re-hydrator Facial (55 minutes, £69). ESPA is a relatively new brand for the spa, but fits perfectly alongside some of the more unusual treatments. After a consultation where the therapist analysed his skin using ESPA’s Vision Lamp, she cleansed, exfoliated and treated his skin with immediately visible results.

The spa also has lots going on – on the night we stayed there was a fashion show in aid of Macmillan where spa-goers donated to charity and spent the evening admiring the catwalk clothes with a glass of bubbly. A great way of using the spa space proactively and providing a sense of community.

Elan Spa is part of a group of spas including Bovey Castle in a majestic moors setting, and the elegant Mount Somerset. Each has its own personality and Elan Spa at the Greenway is calm and intimate with an excellent array of treatments. There were lots of women, friends and mothers and daughters in the spa when we visited, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a feminine, peaceful space that just right for chatting, reading and totally unwinding.