Perhaps you already have a preconceived idea of spas being plastered with floral wallpaper and saunas full of chattering women.
Well look out fellas, you’re in for a treat. Many spas around the UK are geared up for the male clientele with treatments designed solely for blokes. Some spas are even ‘men-only’. In part we have
the ancient Greeks to thanks for today’s modern spas, with sleek pools, snazzy steam rooms and exotic ‘hydro’ experiences. There were beliefs amongst the ancient Greeks and Romans that bathing in certain springs or hot pools had healing and purifying powers. So it began that people would travel from afar to soak in sacred pools in the hope it would cure their ailments.
Roman colonies began constructing hot baths around their own springs, such as those in Bath, Somerset. Over the last few centuries we have seen the ‘bathing’ spa experiences drift in and out of popularity due to class beliefs, but since the early 20th century the pleasures of bathing had been restored and versions of the spas we know today began to pop up.
Daphne Metland, Founder of The Good Spa Guide, says: “It’s only recently (since the 1920s) that the spa has fallen out of favour with men. From the Roman man visiting the thermae to the Edwardian gentleman booking into a Turkish bath, historically the spa was a place for men to recuperate and relax. At The Good Spa Guide we’ve seen an 11% growth in men looking for a spa visit in the past year alone.” So whether you want a quiet afternoon to yourself after a hellish week at work, a romantic couples spa experience, or perhaps you’re daring to suggest a stag-do spa day, we have some suggestions that might just win you round.
Whether you’re flying solo or visiting a spa with a group, you can either pay for a day spa with use of all the facilities available, or you can top up your experience with a spa treatment. Don’t think you’re limited to a ‘back, crack and sack wax’ or male manicure, often the options are vast and perhaps most importantly – macho!
Metland continues: “We find men are looking for treatments which will help with their aches and pains, rather than to talk about visiting a spa for some pampering.”
Many spas will offer a range of deep tissue or sports massages, if you perhaps have work-related injuries or stresses that need working out of your system. This might be a good time to sound the awkward-spa-momentclaxon! If you’re worried, mid-massage, that something embarrassing might start to stir, then don’t fret. Massage therapists understand that your body can react to being poked and prodded and that this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re aroused by it. If you’re a chap that isn’t a stranger to grooming and takes good care of your skin, then a quick fix facial might be an experience worth trying. Many spas feature signature, tailor made facials to target different skin concerns.
For the ‘men only’ experience, visit The Refinery in London’s Mayfair. Designed to combine the atmosphere of a Gentlemen’s club with the well-being of a health spa. With almost 15 years under its belt, it offers a range of luxury barbering, skincare and spa treatments. We recommend their Ultimate Face and Body Treatment, combining stress-relieving back and scalp massages with a deep cleansing facial – £80 for 90 minutes. Although not men only, Metland recommends The Forum Spa at The Celtic Manor in Wales, which has men-only areas within the spa as well as treatments designed just for fellas. Try their Elemis Total Time Out treatment, which lasts for almost two hours – consisting of a facial and deep tissue massage. £120 for 110 minutes.
“We find men are looking for treatments which will help with their aches and pains, rather than to talk about visiting a spa for some pampering”
If you’re not so worried about the mixed-sex spa experience, then your options are quite endless. We recommend the Aqua Sana spa, with five dotted about the country. Although located within Centre Parcs complexes, they are independent from the resorts and can be visited for the day, evening or a luxury overnight stay. All spas feature up to 15 experience rooms, from Japanese salt steam to a Turkish Hammam, as well as a relaxing outdoor pool. Try booking yourself a Back, Neck and Shoulder Stress Relief massage – designed just for men, from £45.
Lastly, if all that Jasmine-scented steam and fluffy robes was too much and you need to inject a bit more testosterone into your pampering, then try a full barbering experience with a hot towel shave. Many places nationwide offer this service after a revival in recent years of the traditional barbering techniques. We’ve selected Ted’s Grooming Rooms, from the house of Ted Baker. Specialists in their craft, you can make an appointment to get spruced up with their top of the range treatment for £60.
Visit: www.tedsgroomingroom.com for more details