Ayush Wellness Spa at the Hotel de France
St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands, JE1 7XP
Has a pool
Has thermal facilities
5 treatment rooms
Ayush Wellness Spa has been created with nature in mind; beautiful stone and wood combine with open glass walkways to maintain the vast and spacious air element. The spa incorporates a spacious, natural environment for health and healing, and its treatments are based on 5,000 year old Indian teachings of Ayurveda. It is the perfect combination of authentic therapies and luxurious spa-ing; an extensive 17,000-square foot haven of tranquility set within the magnificent landscaped gardens of Hotel de France.
1 person says this spa is family friendly. 3 people say this spa is a social spa. 3 people say this spa is health focused. 4 people say this spa is solo friendly. 3 people say this spa is romantic.
Hotel de France is a grand and imposing stucco building which first opened 1866. The hotel is on a hill overlooking St Helier with the sea in the distance. The main reception and most of the hotel has a very classic, slightly dated look so it was a pleasant surprise to find the spa in a huge, bright and modern wellness extension. This new wing of the hotel has 18 spacious, modern spa suites all with large balconies.
The Ayush Wellness Spa was built incorporating the five ayurvedic principles of air, water, fire, earth and space. Space and light it certainly has: the spa covers 17,000 square feet. The earth element is covered by having light grey natural slate flooring throughout.
In the huge spa reception, floor-to-ceiling glass windows look down on the pool below. The pool in turn has floor-to-ceiling glass windows, so the whole area is flooded with light, even on an overcast day. From the reception, you can either enter the changing rooms via a white-frosted glass door or descend down steps directly to the pools and thermal experiences.
There are four pools, all beautifully lit dark blue from underneath the water. The main infinity pool is 15-metres long, heated to a heavenly 30 degrees centigrade, and is mostly used for lengths swimming. The large 5-metre Jacuzzi pool has a sectioned-off area for more intense bubbling.
The third pool is the cold plunge bath, a long narrow pool that you walk into and out of via steps: a quick icy dip. The last pool is shallow and heated to 36 degrees; a place to lie and wallow and look out across the vast pool area. Plenty of comfortable loungers make this a lovely place to relax or read; many guests were doing just that when we visited on a Sunday. Doors open onto the hotel gardens with many more loungers outside.
The heat experiences are in one corner of the pool area. The oval-shaped steam room has two levels of bench-style seating, is tiled in dark blue mini-tiles, and has a glowing green crystal in the centre. Next door, the sauna has a glass door and pale wood benches. Both sauna and steam room are large and would comfortably seat 15 people. A shower outside the thermal rooms offers instant cooling.
The Ayurvedic treatment area, also very spacious and open plan, is upstairs from the main reception. A stone Buddha water-feature greets you as you enter, and the lighting is subdued. There are white-upholstered chairs and sofas to sit on while you wait for your treatment in one of the six treatment rooms. The large relaxation room has seven comfortable loungers for your post-treatment flop. The yoga studio holds classes throughout the week.
Downstairs, there is also a gym and Café Aroma, which will prepare Ayurvedic meals according to your dosha (your Ayurvedic body type).
We had the Abhyanga Oil Massage (80 minutes, £125).
My therapist, Kavita, took me to one of the therapy rooms. She asked me to take off my clothes, to put on a disposable thong, and to wrap a towel around myself while she left the room. When she returned, Kavita stood behind me while I sat on a low stool; she poured Ayurvedic vata oil onto my head. She began a very firm scalp massage which I loved. Kavita explained that unless the massage is firm, blood flow to the head is not stimulated.
Kavita then asked me to lie face down on the bed. She explained that she would leave the room and return with another therapist. She also asked whether I wanted to have all of my upper body massaged or whether I would prefer to keep my breasts covered at that stage of the treatment.
When the two therapists returned, they worked in complete silence. I was amazed at how they managed identical movements with identical pressure. After massaging the back of both legs and buttocks, with lots of the oil and rhythmic, firm movements, they moved onto my back. I then turned over and Kavita placed a mask over my eyes. The therapists uncovered one bit of me at a time and continued the same rhythmic symmetrical massage on the front of my legs, abdomen, chest and shoulders and, lastly, on my arms. They worked symmetrically, and in silence, throughout the treatment; the effect was very deeply relaxing.
The second therapist now left the room. Kavita helped me to sit up and led me, wrapped in a towel, to an old-fashioned-looking white steam cabinet in the corner of the room. The doors opened outwards; I stepped inside and sat down wearing just the disposable thong. Kavita shut the doors leaving only my head outside the cabinet.
The steam arrived in noisy ten-second bursts. My skin was slippery with oil and steam. Kavita stayed in the room, tidying up and folding towels while I steamed for 15 minutes. She told me to say if I was uncomfortable. I was fine but very sleepy and rested my head as best as I could.
When I was fully cooked, Kavita opened the doors and I dried myself off with a towel. Kavita helped me into my gown and offered a much-needed drink of water.
In the relaxation room, I lay down and covered myself with a blanket. The effect of this treatment was deeply soporific and I really felt in need of being horizontal. Kavita brought more water and a cup of Ayurvedic tea, and I didn't move a muscle for the next 20 minutes.
Café Aroma, a brasserie-style eaterie in the Wellness extension of the hotel, serves light breakfasts and an all-day menu of sandwiches, salads and burgers. "Light bite" options include calamari rings or prosciutto with sun-blush tomatoes and parmesan shavings. A "pub grub" section offers more substantial choices such as fish and chips. Café Aroma's evening menu is more traditionally structured with starters and mains including pan-roasted chicken and butternut squash risotto. If you are on an Ayurvedic wellness programme, you will have all your meals prescribed according to your dosha in Café Aroma. The café has a large terrace overlooking the gardens for al fresco dining in warmer weather.
Breakfast is also served in the Orangery and includes a vast buffet selection of pastries, cereals and cooked food as well as a great selection of fruit.
Saffrons restaurant is Hotel de France's more formal dining option. The food is a fusion of modern European cooking using Indian spices and locally sourced produce. We absolutely loved every single mouthful of the dinner we had at Saffrons. The marinated corn-fed chicken with tamarind chutney was delicious. The basmati rice pudding with pomegranate, caramelised nuts, mango ice cream and cardamom foam was enough to make relocating to Jersey seem like a really good idea.
We loved the design of Ayush Wellness Spa and its space and light.
We loved the treatments which were authentic and extremely effective.
We didn't love the lack of products in the showers: some conditioner would have been appreciated.
Fans of India: Entering the upstairs Ayush Wellness Spa feels and smells like being on the subcontinent. Most of the therapists are from India and have Ayurvedic training.
Anyone who wants to address their health and well-being on a deep level: Ayurvedic programmes from a one-day retreat to a three-week stay are available, with an emphasis on detoxification and rejuvenation. All packages over a week in length include a daily one-hour prescribed treatment, yoga and meditation classes, plus full use of the facilities.
Anyone who finds subterranean spas a tad claustrophobic: The sense of space and the light in Ayush's Ayurvedic spa is amazing.
We gave Ayush Wellness Spa a Good Spa Guide rating of 5 bubbles. The beautiful spa is spacious and light, and a joy to spend time in. The Ayurvedic treatments are authentic and wonderful. Ayush Wellness Spa is both a place to address health issues as well as to relax. We loved it.
Super Spy visited in August 2014 and awarded it 5 Bubbles
St. Saviour's Road, St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands, JE1 7XP
A combination of dining options from informal brasserie-style dining in Café Aroma to the healthy Indian fusion cuisine of the award-winning a la carte Saffrons Restaurant.
126 bedrooms consisting of Single, Double, Twin and Executive rooms, as well as Junior Suites and Spa Rooms with balcony.
The facilities are open Monday to Friday: 6.30am-9.30pm; Saturday and Sunday: 7.00am-8.30pm. Treatments are available from Monday to Saturday: 9.00am-8.00pm; Sunday: 9.00am-6.00pm.
There are no offers for this spa.