The Spa Spy blog

The Chairman, the hot stones and the waterfall

Robert Southey in his poem The Cataract of Lodore Falls describes the famous Lake District waterfall as ‘dashing and flashing and splashing and clashing’. When we took the 20-minute walk up to the falls during a dry spell it was more a case of ‘dribbling and trickling’. Thankfully there was plenty of warm, bubbly water in the large outdoor hydropool at nearby Lodore Falls Hotel and Spa. The forest setting is so serene and the views spectacular. By the time I had spent half an hour in the warm water testing out the various massage jets and looking out across the gardens towards Derwentwater lake I was feeling pretty relaxed.

What’s on offer

The new spa building at Lodore Falls Hotel and Spa has been designed to match the Lakeland style with slate drystone wall finishes, wooden bridges and walkways and terraced gardens. The large spa bedrooms, many with balconies and views across to the lake, are above the spa.

Besides the abovementioned pool, there are two saunas, a laconuim, steam room and a large, bright relaxation area.

Tell us about the treatment

Akwaterra massage is rather like hot stone massage on steroids.  Ergonomically designed sandstone pods of various shapes are preheated, and then used along with massage oil to relieve muscular tension. The pods themselves are filled with water at about 40 degrees and kept in a bain marie bath to maintain the temperature. The warmth opens the pores and accentuates the benefits of the essential oils used in the massage. The pods can be used cold when they are kept in ice water. Cold is useful for healing after muscular injury which is why some sports teams have cold baths after a match. But it’s not very relaxing, so I am delighted to find that my 50 minute treatment will use the pods warm.
 Amelia, my therapist, began the treatment with hot towels on my feet… lovely and my favourite way to start a massage.

Using the various shapes of the ceramic pods and orange blossom oil from the La Sultane de Saba range, she then massaged each side of my body starting with my legs and working up my back and then down my arms .She used different shaped ceramic pods in different areas; the knobbly ones allowed her to get deep into the thigh muscles and the lower back, while the smooth ones were used in long strokes up either side of my spine. The heat and the smooth shape of the pod combined to create a wonderfully smoothing sensation. I felt like one of those lizards you see on a David Attenborough film, …the ones who creep out of the shade, stretch out in the sunshine and just enjoy every moment of warmth.

Too much working on a laptop and too much driving combine to create almost permanent tension in my shoulders. I often feel as if the muscles there have become permanently squeezed together. Amelia soon sorted this out by using a hot pod in each hand and then drawing a shape across my shoulder blades. It’s a yin yang shape and as she started this shape and moved the pods up and over in a curve my muscles relaxed.

When I turned over Amelia used the warm pods to stroke up from my shoulders and along the sides of my neck. Those muscles are very tense and a few minutes of massaging this way help relax them. Amelia tackled my feet with smooth pods and worked them in hard over the instep. It was heavenly and I wanted this part to go on and on.

I could have happily remained on the large and comfortable treatment bed all afternoon, but all good things … At the end, Amelia took me to the relaxation room where I had to resist the temptation to have a quiet snooze. Instead, I went along to the Champagne Bar for a drink and another half-hour looking at the views. There are glorious places to spa in the UK and this is one of them.

Don’t miss

Sipping a glass of bubbles by the pool, while  enjoying the ‘shinrin-yoku’ the health giving effects of forest bathing.

Eating in Mizu, the hotel’s pan-Asian restaurant. Choose from beautifully presented trays of sushi and sashimi, boards of tender grilled meats and bowls of ramen - perfect light and delicate food for a spa day.