You know how it is, a day ahead full of relaxation, good company, beauty treatments in tranquil surroundings. Yes the traditional Spa Day, something myself and friends value as an essential escape from work and life stress. This week we had just such a day arranged and oh how were we looking forward to it … our emails spoke of fluffy towels, chilling beside the pool, hot stone massages, lunch with champagne, robes and slippers, relaxation rooms and aromatic candles…
We held tight to this vision as two of us drove into the car park of the facility, despite its resemblance to a crime scene in a Danish police drama.I mean every where needs a bit of refurb now and then doesn’t it? However hearts were sinking rapidly as we progressed to the ‘Leisure Club’ where nostrils were assailed not with subtle sensual fragances but industrial strength chlorine. We had ignored the slightly shabby entrance
still believing that once through the doors we would enter the expected oasis of luxury. On entry we peered through the grimy glass into the spa pool area where a group of local OAP’s were flailing around apparently attempting to recreate an Esther Williams routine c 1930. In the dim distance could be seen another pool surrounded by rocks, the colour of the water was tasteful slime green and would have provided an excellent habitat for a stray crocodile or anaconda.
Relentless optimism set in as we walked along endless corridors to the Beauty Spa reception, we tried to ignore the worn carpet tiles, though whitewashed breezeblock will always look like…whitewashed breezeblock. We met our therapists and along with two other victims (oops clients) completed our pre treatment sheets – one pen and 2 clipboards between the four of us. We recieved towels and robes (£2.50 extra payable in cash) and retreated to the coffee bar area to await the remaining two spa girls.
Entering the canteen, sorry coffee bar, we deposited ourselves on the non too clean and definitly non luxurious seating and found we were again gasping for breath due to the assault on the senses from the chlorine and disinfectant. At this point another member of our spa team arrived. Stomping across the stone floor (no fluffy carpets here) she greeted us with the words… ‘who booked this and where’s the manager?’
Remaining upbeat whilst imbibing liquid which was allegedly caffeine we began to consider a Plan B – decamp to the main hotel area for a relaxing lunch and return to the Spa for our treatments. Our new arrival left to check out this possibility, returning swiftly with the news that the Hotel was no better, though as the Spa Lunch Menu consisted of Beans on Toast, Corned Beef Sandwiches and Baked Potatos the Hotel was going some to come in behind this. Whilst this activity had taken place we had noticed a steady stream of people entering the canteen and exiting through another door. The reason for which became clear as a cacophony of noise burst forth at ear bleeding decibel level and continued to increase steadily as a relentlessly pounding beat kicked in.
It was at this point that I could no longer keep up the positive spin and descended into the abyss with my companions. Leaving the Disco Zumba we returned to the luxurious Spa Area where even the plants had given up the ghost and died. Our therapists brought us more caffeine and I ransacked all our bags for any form of pain killing drug – which turned up a crushed pack of sudafed and some prescription drugs for period pains. Our final spa girl had arrived by this time – she grabbed a couple of pills and pitched in as we went to Plan D – cut and run ( Plan C had been a suggestion of driving to Tesco for drink and nibbles – quickly quashed!)
Settling ourselves on the luxurious seating andavoiding lacerating ourselves on the artex we attacked the problem with Gusto. No task on a management or leadership course will ever daunt us… hitting IPads, Phones and Map Apps we located alternate Spa’s in the area. Hard bargaining and subtle persuasion led to success. 20 mins later we were en route and within 40 mins we were ensconced in a darkened relaxation room surrounded by pleasant fragrances and candles.The music was soft, the chairs deep and luxurious and the scene was complete when our rescue lunch and sparkling wine was served to us by two charming young men.