Being the intrepid spa fiends that we are, we were very excited to be invited along to the new Magdalen Chapter Spa in Exeter. One of the most iconic buildings in Exeter has been converted into the 59-bedroom Magdalen Chapter Hotel. Exeter is a relatively small, charming, clean city, with plenty of shops to keep you busy, should shopping tickle your fancy. However, back to the spa…
At the back of the hotel is a private walled garden with a circular-shaped lawn. The spa at The Magdalen Chapter is in two parts. Follow the garden path to the left and you reach a single-storey building proffering changing rooms, showers and an inside/outside pool complete with open fire. A dip in the morning rain before breakfast was delightful. The enclosure is very private and hidden behind the wall, so you can bathe indoors and out, and relax in peace.
Follow the wall around the other way and you’ll find the treatment rooms (four rooms, one is a double), a relaxation and product retail area, and a small gym. This is not a place to spend hours, although it is a perfect little spot for a treatment to soothe your cares away.
The treatment menu has been kept simple, with only one option for each type of treatment. Our bespoke REN massage, carried out by Spa Manager Hannah, was one of the best massages we've had in a good while. The massage consisted of a range of Swedish and Japanese massage techniques, and included pressure-point stimulation. Hot towels on my feet, followed by Hannah's expert touch on the pressure points on the back of my head, instantly initiated relaxation. Hannah drizzled hot oil over my body and used her forearms to smoothly iron out my achy, knotted muscles. The massage was thoroughly enjoyable, and the pressure Hannah used throughout was skilful, intuitive and nigh-on perfect.
The hotel restaurant is fashioned on a huge summer parasol, and is an interesting addition to the hotel. The British menu changes daily or weekly depending upon the fresh and locally sourced ingredients available. We enjoyed a fantastic beef dish, paired with a deep red wine recommended by the sommelier.
The hotel exudes contemporary flair, and each room is unique. On arrival, we were offered an iPad for use in our room and were told that the mini-bar in our room was complimentary. A good start! The bed was huge and supremely comfortable. I could easily have stayed for days.
The staff were a real treat and a genuine credit to The Magdalen Chapter. Dressed in smart grey trousers, white shirts and black Converse trainers, their style was smart casual with a modern twist. Each and every member of staff I spoke to was refreshingly amiable, chatty and had bundles of personality.
There isn't really any similar offering to The Magdalen Chapter in Exeter, and it really is a well-needed and worthy addition to the city. We would definitely go back.
Rates at The Magdalen Chapter start from £150 per night including breakfast. For bookings call 01392 281 000 or visit: www.themagdalenchapter.com