The 17th Century Ye Olde Bell hotel is steeped in history: it’s a former farm and coaching inn which once hosted Queen Victoria. The quirky spa, which opened in spring 2017, is split over two levels. The thermal facilities, including a sauna, stonebath, laconium, steam bath, salt inhalation room, 10-metre indoor/outdoor pool, snowstorm experience and Sabbia Med light therapy room are downstairs; the treatment and relaxation rooms upstairs. Face and body treatments are by Spanish brand Germaine de Cappucini which specialises in targeted and anti-ageing therapies.
- 10 meter indoor/outdoor vitality pool with bubble loungers, jets and massage stations
- Alpine sauna
- Herbal laconium
- Steam bath
- Salt inhalation room
- Rasul (mud and foam)
- Stone bath TM
- Foot baths
- Snowstorm experience
- Sabbia med TM
- Shower walk and ice bucket
- Poolside relaxation area and ski chalet seating with fires
- Large relaxation lounge and champagne bar
- 6 treatment rooms
- 2 double treatment rooms
- Herb Garden Brasserie with theatre kitchen and outdoor eating area
- Pedicure room
- Hair boutique and express beauty lounge
- Germaine de Cappucini
Our Spa Spy review
The traditional Ye Olde Bell Hotel near Sherwood Forest may date back to the 17th Century, but the multi-million pound spa extension opened in June 2017.
Cleverly blending old and new, an original brass bell marks the spa entrance. The spa is deceptively spacious and has an exciting, buzzy feel.
What's on offer?
The light, bright reception has eye-catching décor, Scandinavian-style design and smiling staff. The warm and chatty receptionist gave me a consultation form and asked me to sit down in the vibrant-coloured relaxation lounge and bar while she brought me a welcome drink.
Michelle, one of the two friendly spa butlers on duty, led me to the ladies’ changing room, where she showed me how to work the locker. Inside was a fluffy grey robe, towel, flip flops, a bag for wet swimwear and a jewellery pouch.
The changing rooms are stylish with duck-egg blue textiles and striking peacock wallpaper. A central counter with mirrors, hairdryers and cosmetics including makeup remover, cotton wool and hair products breaks up the changing space. There were private changing cubicles and spotlessly clean toilets, showers (with Germaine de Cappuccini shampoo, conditioner and shower gel) and a swimsuit spinner.
A second spa butler, Mo, gave me a tour of the 10 different hot and cold zones. He suggested I begin at the Herbal Laconium, a mild sauna between 40-60°C with the scent of fresh herbs,seating for six or eight people and a view over the outdoor terrace. Next door, the quirky and hot Stonebath was our favourite experience. At regular intervals, a clockwork mechanism raises a bucket of hot coals dropping into a sizzling cauldron of water, which is accompanied by storm sound effects and red flashing lights. The Alpine Sauna is the hottest experience with tinted window; the Swiss Stone Pine releases an uplifting scent into the air.
There are two gentler rooms where the heat is less intense: the Salt Inhalation Room -- which is spacious and has soft bean bags to sit on -- and the Steam Bath takes inspiration from Morocco with its pretty colour-changing lights.
To cool down, try the Snow Storm Experience which was created especially for the Spa at Ye Olde Bell. Choose from a snow shower or a snow storm and walk through the experience shower. The snow shower covered us in a flurry of ice, another spa-goer chose snow storm and walked through a blizzard, her hair was entirely covered in white ‘snow’. The Shower Walk is less dramatic with four showers including tropical rain, and cold mist or drench underneath the ice bucket. The four foot baths are set in a glitzy mosaic seating.
The 10-metre vitality pool starts indoors with a glass door which opens to the outside water stations and includes a bubbly relaxation bed, a reflexology chair and a swan neck fountain. Outdoors, the pool is surrounded by heated mosaic loungers, wicker chairs and loungers, and cute chalet-style seating.
Upstairs, there are two post-treatment relaxation rooms, both have bright colours, soft tactile textures and comfortable loungers with velvet cushions. The light one is great for reading and the dark is for post-treatment snoozes.
If you like a little preening with your spa, there’s a hair boutique and nail salon, too.
Tell us about the treatments
We had the Lady Jane Priceless Gem with a Timexpert Facial (120 minutes, £120).
My therapist, Irena, met me in the lounge and took me to our treatment room. She left the room while I changed into disposable underwear and took my place on the heated treatment bed.
Irena began the treatment by pressing heated poultices filled with crushed stones firmly over the soles of my feet and then up my body. She then placed hot crystals on the chakra points over my legs, torso and head.
After the comforting introduction, Irena exfoliated and then massaged the backs of my legs, my back neck and shoulders, and then my arms and fingers. Irena asked me to turn over and repeated the pattern on my front: heated crystals, exfoliation and massage. Her pressure was just right and I had a great sense of being cared for.
Irena raised the bed so that I was in a comfortable seated position and placed fluffy towels under my head as support. We briefly discussed the facial element of the treatment; I said that I didn’t like the fine lines or dark circles around my eyes.
Irena held a scented towel just above my face and asked me to breathe in deeply. She cleansed and toned my face before applying a cool mask. While the mask set, Irene gently massaged my neck and décolletage using short uplifting strokes. She removed the mask, wrapped a hot towel around my neck and shoulders, and massaged my scalp. Irene applied a finishing moisturiser to my skin, lips and eyes and sprayed a Mediterranean-influenced perfume in the air.
I felt and looked amazing after the treatment and was so sleepy I wandered straight to the dark relaxation room to continue my Zen…
The Spa at Ye Olde Bell offers Germaine de Cappuccini face and body treatments, traditional massages and unusual therapies with an international flavour -- from a mini Turkish ritual massage to a Japanese hydrating water therapy. There are treatments for men and mums-to-be as well as manicures and pedicures.
Most spa days include a two-course lunch in the Brasserie which extends to an outdoor terrace. We chose the main course and dessert and enjoyed a Barbary duck breast and glazed baby vegetables and an indulgent banana parfait with caramel, bitter chocolate sorbet and raspberry meringues. Much of the lunch menu is gluten-free including salads, soups and heartier meat and fish dishes.
If you stay overnight, try the fine dining Restaurant Bar 1650 which serves European classics such as dover sole and beef fillet, or the casual St Leger Bistro-by-the-bar with a gastro-pub inspired menu.
We loved / we didn't love
The warm, friendly welcome and attentive service.
The imaginative spa experiences including the unique Snow Storm shower.
The innovative Sabbia Med (sunlight therapy) room. Lay in the sand and be transported to a Mediterranean beach.
We didn’t love
There were a couple of teething glitches when we visited: one of the foot baths wasn’t working and the shower door wouldn’t lock.
The vitality pool isn’t large enough to swim. If you’re looking to get some laps in, this may not be the spa for you.
Who do you think would like it?
Solo spa goers: The Spa at Ye Olde Bell is small enough to feel intimate and the spa butlers will make you feel very welcome.
Small groups or couples: The experiences are the kind of fun you want to share with a loved one.
Gourmands: The food is excellent.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded the Spa at Ye Olde Bell a Good Spa Guide rating of 5 bubbles. The quirky heat facilities are a delightful surprise, the vitality pool and outdoor space are perfect for soaking up the sun and all the spa spaces are thoughtfully designed. The friendly staff are the icing on the cake.
Ye Olde Bell has an AA Rosette Restaurant, Bistro and a Garden Terrace and bar which serve locally sourced classic dishes with a conteporary twist.
The 17th Century AA 4-Star Hotel has 59 individually styled rooms and suites including courtyard rooms adjacent to the spa.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday - 930am - 6:30pm
Wednesday and Friday - 9:30am - 9:00pm