Beneath the pavements of Brighton seafront lies the newly opened Harbour Hotel spa. The secret subterranean retreat opened last month and I wasted no time in testing it out. All in the name of research, of course. So let me show you around...
Reception and changing roomsAs you begin the decent down the staircase leading to the spa reception, the coastal theme becomes instantly apparent. With a penchant for anything nautical, I loved the vibe and the quirky seaside memorabilia that decorated the space.
The reception area was instantly calming; low lit, with aromatherapy oils and a lady on the reception desk with the most soothing voice. She handed us each a robe, slippers and a towel and showed us past the gym and the treatment rooms, to the changing rooms. These were small, but clean and modern, with spacious lockers, bright mirrors and ESPA products to use in the shower.
Exiting the changing rooms you enter this relaxation room, where I reunited with Rich and we helped ourselves to a glass of lemon water. I loved the beach babe pin-up girl playing cards on the wall!
On the upper level of the Spa is where you'll find a swimming pool and hydrotherapy pool. The swimming pool was fairly small, but as we had it mainly to ourselves, it was big enough to get some exercise in to burn off afternoon tea we were about to indulge in. There were some fun inflatables in the pool too!
The Hydrotherapy Pool was warmer, with a fountain and two different types of jets to choose from. I've read that hydrotherapy pools are meant to work wonders for fatigued muscles, so I stayed in here for a while to try and recuperate from the over-training I've been doing in the gym recently. I went to Zumba later that night, and I felt like a new woman - my legs felt light and springy and the DOMS that I permanently suffer from had vanished.
The pool area was nice, but it was down on the lower level where the spa becomes really quite magical...
Two little hot tubs, the sauna, steam room and a second relaxation suite are found down a second (slightly creepy) flight of stairs, in old converted wine cellar. The old brick walls and arched walkways ooze charm and create an immersive atmosphere which allows you completely forget about the craziness of the world going on above you. The day on which I visited was a grey, cold, wet and windy one, and so it was the perfect type of day to hide myself away in a little underground oasis. It's dark, cosy and cocoon like, and yet while it's the perfect cosy escape from the harsh sea winds, it may not be such an attractive proposition in the height of summer.
I absolutely loved the 'Togetherness Pools', made from Scandinavian wood and bubbling away with hot water. We had a tub to ourselves and it was the ultimate romantic relaxation. After going a bit prune-like from spending hours in these glorious tubs, we headed back up to the changing rooms to get ready for our afternoon tea at the hotel's restaurant, The Jetty.
Brighton's not short of Afternoon Tea hot spots, but at The Jetty you get High Tea with a modern twist - both in terms of the menu and the decor.
We sat in the lounge area, with a roaring fire and a pile of coffee table books to flick through as we sipped on our Earl Grey (and Prosecco). On the walls, I enjoyed looking at the signed photos from Foo Fighters, Top Gun and other iconic stars.
The menu itself featured all your normal Afternoon Tea favourites. like scones with jam and cream chocolate eclairs and little cucumber sandwiches, alongside some more unique sweet and savoury treats. Highlights included a cheese scone with bacon jam, a chicken and mango wrap and a passionfruit and white chocolate parfait.
Everything was beautifully presented, not to mention absolutely delicious!
Whether you're a local Brightonian and fancy treating yourself (or a loved one... Mother's Day is coming up) to a Spa morning, or looking to get away for a city spa break, I can't recommend the Harbour Spa enough. They offer luxury ESPA treatments as well as use of the extraordinary facilities, and afternoon tea at The Jetty is included in most spa packages. I've also eaten dinner at The Jetty before, which was first-class - so I recommend popping in for a bite to eat next time your by the sea!
I was kindly invited to review the Harbour Spa, however all opinions are my own.