Late last week I got an email which contained 'Spa Visit' in the subject line - I didn't need much convincing to take up this opportunity and after jumping off the Wearmouth Bridge the other week, I decided I deserved a bit of pampering! So I quickly checked my Mom's schedule so she could play David Bailey for the day and got us booked in.
The Garage Spa is based at The Morritt Arms hotel, Greta Bridge in between Barnard Castle and Darlington and I'd heard lots of good things about it from the internet and a few friends who had visited. Greta Bridge has been a popular stopover spot for centuries, immortalised by Charles Dickens in the 1800's in his novel The Life And Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. Travellers heading from London to Scotland would often stop at Greta in local inns while the horses that pulled the coach rested. When the car was invented, a garage was built to service vehicles that passed and hence the name of the spa. It's only a fifteen minute drive from where I grew up and I remember passing it on long car journeys home when I was young. My Dad would tell stories of the dances he'd been to there and how he offered to take my Mom but she refused to go!
When Mom and I arrived we were provided with fluffy robes, flip flops (I always prefer to use my own though) and given a quick tour of the spa facilities before been left to get on with it and enjoy our time. We were advised to start outside in, so we headed out to the outdoor area to warm up in the tin hot tub. My Mom lives in the countryside but for us city folk been out in the fresh air is a welcome blessing. I headed into the Shepherd's Hut Log Sauna which is possibly the hottest and best sauna I've ever used. After fifteen minutes, I headed back out for a refreshing shower and to relax by the outdoor fire with OK & Hello magazine.
Unlimited iced tea and cucumber water kept us hydrated and we headed back indoors to try out the hydrotherapy tub, hot bath tub and the not so pleasant but apparently good for you health plunge pool. My Mom obviously made me test this one out first. I was rather dubious about the salt room which apparently is good for your respiratory system - after twenty minutes of sitting feeling frustrated because I couldn't see or feel anything happening when I headed back out, I did notice a massive difference. I felt cleaner and the sniffles I had, had gone. Our treatments had been booked in for 2pm so we headed to the steam room to relax our muscles before getting a shower and heading upstairs.
I had opted for the Candle Comfort Massage whilst my Mom was taken to her own treatment room for a facial. Admittedly there was a bit of confusion as I had requested a female therapist but ended up with the spa's male therapist. A special massage candle was drizzled over me which formed a really warm massage oil and I have to say, my skin has never felt so soft after.
After our treatments we were really hungry and we decided to treat ourselves to The Garage's Afternoon Tea. Being naughty we opted for Yorkshire tea rather than herbal and devoured the finger sandwiches and cakes before heading back to my parents home.
I really enjoyed my afternoon at The Garage and would definitely go back. It's one of the most well designed and creative spa's I've ever been to and to top it off they've just launched there special summer offers which make it a bit more of an affordable luxury. For just £99 you can get beach ready with full use of the spa's facilities, an essential pedicure in their paint shop, a 25 minute Hammam treatment and a 2-course lunch.
For more details on The Garage or to book a visit visit their website.