Ice Spa, Baby…

Mar 25 2014

Stylish Spy

On the Road

3 min read

It was hard to suppress my gurgles of delight when I paddled into the wet area of St Gervais-les-Bains' Ice Spa. It was as if someone had made a list of all my favourite spa toys, then installed them in one big shiny room in the middle of the mountains!

So, a brief intro: I'm in France at the moment, checking out what our continental cousins are up to in Spa World. So far, things are looking good. In the shadow of Mont Blanc, the small ski resort of St Gervais-les-Bains is the only Alpine region with its very own spa scene thanks to its natural hot springs (in which I shall be taking a dip next week). The good news for spa bunnies on a budget who hate the cold is that the Rhone Alps region is absolutely beautiful and, during the "off" season in May, the weather is gloriously warm. There are barely any tourists around and you can enjoy cut-price deals everywhere.

The Ice Spa is a slow 15-minute stroll up the hill. I was immediately impressed by how glitteringly clean the Ice Spa was. The changing rooms are fairly compact with a key-pad code locker system. Once changed and in my fluffy white robe and disposable "claquettes" (I guess French for flip-flops!) I went through into the main "bar" area.

Space-age 60s-style chairs were dotted around with mood-enhancing colour-changing lights. Ice Spa is the perfect place to go with a group, although I was quite happy by myself. The bar area serves up delicious fruit-based juices and drinks. I tried the house special, a Virgin Mojito, a refreshing rum-free blend of mint and lime.

Green and blue waters at The Ice Spa

You access the wet area through a pebble-floored corridor and walk through blue-and-green lit water. I loved it! The main room has a Jacuzzi, a large aqua lounger area with both air and water jets, a steam room, sauna, and two experience showers. Where to start?

I first encountered aqua loungers on the  NCL Epic spa and have been hunting them down ever since; there are some great ones at SenSpa at Carey's Manor, too. You lie back on an underwater lounger, press a button and whoosh! Jets of water massage you from your neck to your ankle! The air-and-water jets delivered a pleasingly-firm pummelling to my stiff neck and achy lower back. The experience showers ticked every box, too: an uplifting mandarin scent and gentle tropical rain in one, and a hot/cold gentle/firm rush from the other, with jets placed at varying heights from your feet to a glorious drenching shower overhead.

The Ice Spa is a terrific bargain. Prices start from just 13€ for a two-hour visit; the 25€ "Confort Plus" special buys you two hours of spa time, a drink, snack, robe and claquettes. The massage menu seems comprehensive with everything from hot stone to "California" massages.

Getting there: Sustainable Spy loves to let the train take the strain. Hop on Eurostar, have a spot of lunch at the L'Express Bleu (at a fraction of the price of the famous Train Bleu restaurant) at the Gare du Lyon, then board the St Gervais train, which takes you through stunning mountain scenery. You'll be happy and relaxed before you've even arrived!  Raileurope offers a £171 standard class return fare from London to St Gervais Les Bains.


Stylish Spy

25th March 2014

Spy Likes:

Minimalist lines; organic products; facial massage; tranquillity; interesting people-watching.

Spy Dislikes:

Discarded towels on loungers; steam rooms that aren't steamy; mobile phones.

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