On the outskirts of Birmingham, you’ll find Santai Spa within the large, modern and chic Genting Hotel. Think atmospheric lighting, dark shimmering colours and floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing cityscape views. Float around the 15-metre pool, relax on a heated pool lounger, try the salt cave and sauna, then get some fresh air in the outdoor hot tub overlooking Pendigo lake. Treatments are luxurious and pampering or targeted and medi-spa. Facilities are for over 18s only.
- 15 metre pool with hydrotherapy jet features
- Outdoor terraced jacuzzi
- Ionised salt cave
- Experience shower
- Mosaic hot stone loungers
- Fitness suite
- VIVE juice bar
Our Spa Spy review
Malaysian-themed Santai Spa is part of the Resorts World entertainment complex near Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre. One minute you're in a shopping mall in the West Midlands, the next you feel you're checking into the hush and comfort of a five-star Kuala Lumpur hotel.
Santai Spa is small but perfectly appointed, with a theme of dark wood, deep greys and reds, pearlescent mosaic tiles and Islamic-inspired geometric patterns throughout. The pool area feels quiet and floor-to-ceiling glass drench the spa in natural, welcome light.
What's on offer?
Santai Spa's reception area is bright with orchids and the mirrored Vive bar, specialising in juice and well stocked with fizz. A friendly receptionist greeted us and took us to the comfortable chairs and sofas while we filled in our consultation form.
Santai Spa's changing rooms are compact but were faultlessly clean during our visit. The amply sized lockers are operated with fobs -- simple and easy to use. The showers were well-stocked with shampoo, conditioner and body wash, and there are two small vanity stations with mirrors. We loved the little lavender bag in our locker and the plentiful supply of fresh towels.
The wet and thermal facilities centre on a 15-metre pool, complete with hydrotherapy bubbles and jets. There's also a salt cave, sauna, rain-shower and an outdoor hot tub. The salt cave, a steam room infused with a fine mist of salt designed to benefit the skin and respiratory system, has horseshoe-shaped seating that would comfortably seat eight people. The rain-shower is fun to use with its various choreographies of fragrance, temperatures, light, and intensities of "rainfall".
Our favourite was the outdoor hot tub. We braved the winter drizzle but, once in the warm water, could have bathed for hours. The distant views over Pendigo Lake to the NEC and M42, rather than detracting from the luxury, helped us feel tucked away from everyday life.
The relaxation area, between the pool and changing rooms, has four heated mosaic-tiled loungers, shaped to cradle the natural curve of the body.
There's a well-equipped gym, too.
Tell us about the treatments
We tried the Lava Shell full body massage (75 minutes, £115).
My therapist, Ania, found me in the spa and took me through to our treatment room. It was very simple with just a picture of a Buddha giving a nod to Santai Spa's south-east Asian influence.
Ania explained how a Lava Shell massage works: special gel sachets inside tiger-striped clam shells create a heat that can last for well over an hour. The warmth from the shells when used as a massage tool is excellent for easing tense muscles, boosting circulation, and aiding relaxation.
Ania applied massage oil -- one I'd selected from a choice of three -- to help the super-smooth Lava Shells glide easily over my body. She used them almost as an extension of her hands to work through my knots and leave me feeling hopeful for the future of my back. The delightful warmth from the Lava Shells combined with Ania's firm but carefully personalised massage must have sent me to sleep because, before I knew it, she was working her way down my arms to my fingertips and I was coming round from a soothing holiday dream.
I felt supple, lighter and lulled after my massage; I would cheerfully have drifted off for a few hours. My limbs ached the next day, as Ania had warned me they might, but even this felt like a "good" ache, as though I'd been working out.
Heaven Skincare by Deborah Mitchell is famous for using bee venom in their products, and you can try the Abee Toxin Massage or Facial at Santai Spa. As well as massages, facials and beauty treatments, Santai Spa offers a range of medi-treatments such as light and laser therapy and injectables.
If you are visiting for the day, you can eat in the reception area in your robe; as the other guests were similarly dressed, we felt quite comfortable. We tried Malaysian high tea: first dim sum (the vegetarian option included yummy dumplings, a veggie skewer with umami-rich dipping sauce and a yuk sung-style lettuce leaf with mango salsa), followed by hand-made sweet treats. The latter were exquisite but enough for two people! We also had "Flora Tea", made from a compressed ball of green tea leaves and aromatic flowers which opened dramatically when steeped in hot water.
If you prefer more savoury than sweet, you could also try light lunches such as chicken Caesar salad and a superfood salad.
We loved / we didn't love
Not having to clock-watch: I was told my therapist would find me in time for my treatment (and she did). I was also "invited" for lunch once everything was ready for me.
The excellent customer service: For my entire visit, the staff were friendly without being over-familiar, attentive without making me feel fussed.
We didn't love
We would have preferred opaque glass in the shower cubicles! Smoked glass left us feeling a little exposed.
A specific post-treatment relaxation room would be a great space to continue massage-induced zen…
Who do you think would like it?
Santai Spa is best suited to quiet catch-ups rather than big parties, making it the ideal day spa for mothers and daughters, couples, best friends, and solo travellers.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded Santai Spa a Good Spa Guide rating of 4 bubbles. The customer service was excellent, the food delicious, and the facilities are well designed and maintained. A dark relaxation space would just tip Santai Spa over into spa bliss…
Open daily from 7am - 10pm
Monday – Saturday 10am to 8pm
Sunday 10am to 6pm