Take me with you....
Spas on cruise ships are often small and tucked away on lower decks, but not on Silver Dawn – the newcomer in the SilverSea fleet of luxury cruise liners – which has broken the mould with its large, light and spacious Otium Spa.
Shall we spa?
Spa-ing here starts in your cabin, where a robe and slippers appear as if by magic when you have a spa booking. Once doned, step out of the lift at level 4 and head to the spa reception just in front of you; walking along the curved corridor allows you to make a rather grand entrance.
The décor is restful with earthy tones and sea hues; the lighting makes it feel like dusk at the end of a long, sunny day.
At the centre, you’ll find a large circular relaxation area with padded beds divided by gauze curtains and comfortable chairs.
A large water plinth filled with ice and bottles of Champagne left to chill creates a social space for post-treatment bubbles, cocktails or mocktails (it’s not so much what’s good for you here but what makes you feel good). Use the ice to cool down after a session in the steam room or the sauna (there's one of each for men and women).
Corridors in the spa are also curved, making the whole place feel spacious - the couple’s treatment room is larger than many on dry land. There’s also a gym, hairdressers, outdoor terrace, barbers' shop and beauty salon.
We tried the Optium Experience (100 mins, £342).
Mei Leng, my therapist, was full of energy and knowledge on first meeting, allowing time for a very thorough consultation.
Shocked by how tight my back and shoulders were, Mei Leng personalised the full body massage to concentrate on the areas that needed the most attention. Her plan: to loosen my shoulders, relax my neck and make my lower back operate more smoothly.
How did it measure up?
I knew I would be in good hands but Mei Leng’s hands were magical.
The treatment began with warm oils smelling of raspberry and chamomile, and hot pink Himalayan stones which Mei Leng added to help relax my muscles ready for the massage.
Those magic fingers then found the knots in my muscles and worked hard to unknot them. Whenever an ‘ouch’ escaped me, Mei Leng applied a cooling cream. By the end of the session, my shoulders were loose and my back pain-free; I felt invigorated.
Mei Leng ended the session by showing me how to massage my neck at home and how to sit properly at my computer. She followed this up advice to drink more water and use a body brush. All of this was done with a sense humour and some gentle encouragement.
The sense of space and light in the spa.
The chance to relax and enjoy a mocktail with my partner in the social space at the centre of the spa.
Our treatment: yes, we went back for more of Mei Leng’s ministrations.
We didn’t love
The price tag: treatments in spas at sea tend to be at the high end, however, Silver Sea is very much a luxury cruise line.
The lack of a vitality pool within the spa (despite the spa brochure showing one): the main pool and hydro pools are higher up on deck 10.
Who do you think would like it?
Anyone wishing to enjoy a restful hour or two during their stay.
Stressed-out workers: a spa treatment could help them relax and enjoy the cruise.
Couples: book a couples’ massage in the double treatment room for a more romantic experience.
13th June 2022
Warm treatment beds; fragrant steam rooms; therapists who listen to what you say; unexpected treats such as back massages that start with hot towels on your feet.
Small towels; crowded changing rooms; black mould in the showers; therapists who sniff; anyone who doesn't take my lavender allergy seriously - until I'm actually sick on them!
Behind the scenes