Locked up with nowhere to go... it's been a tough old year-and-a-half for the spa industry. But not even the Ugly Sisters can stop this resilient bunch turning their story of rags (or in this case sweats) to riches.
"After the past 16 months, it seems people can't wait to get back to their much-loved spas and finally unravel,” said Good Spa Guide Director Caitlin Dalton.
“We have witnessed a huge boom in spa staycations since they re-opened - notably from the countryside and coastal spa sector – and wanted to celebrate these categories in particular.”
Your carriage awaits
The evening began with a glass of Wildlife Botanicals alcohol-free fizz, packed with healthy florals and nutrients to ensure this Spa Spy felt just peachy the next day (thank you).
Our setting for the evening was a twinkly ballroom filled with lofty LED-balloons, fairy-lit plants and a Good Spa Guide glitter wall adorned with the logos of our sponsors, without whom we couldn’t run these awards.
“It’s great to see so many faces again,” said Spa Business Development Manager at Natura Bissè Zoe Douglas. “The industry coming together again like this is exactly what we all needed.”
Our fairy God Mother
Presenting for us this year was comedian, author, model, actor and presenter Ellie Taylor, best known for appearances on Mock the Week, Qi and The Mash Report. She entertained the room with self-effacing stories about being a Matalan catalogue model in 2005 - "the UK equivalent of Gucci," she quipped - and chatted to the audience with ease.
Food glorious food
It’s hard to get 200 plates of food 'just right' but we tucked into Prosciutto, goat’s cheese and figs to start; a main course of herb-roasted chicken, Parmentier potatoes, baby leeks and a wild mushroom sauce; and, to finish, a strawberry and Pistachio torte, with a dark berry coulis and candid strawberries.
Our vegetarian Spa Spy loved her lentil and chickpea terrine to start followed by an Aubergine fritter korma. A crisp South African Chenin Blanc and a deep Australian Shiraz complemented the meal perfectly, and kept the conversation flowing throughout the awards.
And here they are folks – the class of 2021 whose dreams finally came true, if just for one night (even our newly-designed statuettes look fit for a Princess).
Congratulations to all our finalists and runners up, too; a real achievement in these testing times.
Best Spa for the Eco-conscious – sponsored by Comfort Zone
Aquarias Spa at Whatley Manor
Best Spa for Fitness & Wellbeing - sponsored by Natura Bissè
Three Graces Spa at Grantley Hall
Best Hotel Spa – sponsored by DLT Media
The Spa at Pennyhill Park
“We are absolutely delighted to have won the award for Best Day Spa,” said Senior Marketing Executive of Aqua Sana Emma Wood (pictured left).
“The spa industry has really struggled throughout the pandemic, and I have loved seeing everybody dressed up and celebrating."
Here here Emma, here here.
May I have this dance?
After the awards came the dancing (remember that?) - on a flashing dance floor with covers band The Choice.
Several danced the night away but this Spa Spy sensibly called it a night before she could turn into a pumpkin (or worse still kiss a frog).
And, after 16 months of wearing flats, my glass slippers were beginning to pinch. Does anybody know where I can get a decent foot massage?
See you next time.
3rd August 2021
Minimalist lines; organic products; facial massage; tranquillity; interesting people-watching.
Discarded towels on loungers; steam rooms that aren't steamy; mobile phones.
Behind the scenes