By Verity Ramsey
The definition of “utopia” is an imagined place in which everything is perfect. Luckily for me, imagination became reality on a mother and daughter spa day out to Rowhill Grange Hotel & Utopia Spa.
Just a thirty minute train journey from London Victoria, Rowhill Grange Hotel & Utopia Spa, in Wilmington, Kent, feels a million miles away from the capital. A long, sweeping driveway led us to the hotel, where we were warmly welcomed by staff and pointed in the direction of the Utopia Spa. On arrival, we were seated and offered tea and coffee while we chose our lunch from a menu of four starters and mains and given our prebooked itinerary for the day. My mum’s treatments had been timed to coincide with mine so that we can enjoy the pool together.
We were then taken to the changing rooms and talked through the facilities which include a sauna, steam room and three pools over two levels. We then saw these for ourselves as we entered the spa, which had a completely different feel from the rest of the property, decorated as a traditional Roman bath, complete with pillars and ivy and even the odd gecko painted on the wall. As well as a full length swimming pool, the other two pools are smaller, hydrotherapy pools which warmed us up from our chilly journey from London.
After a dip, it was time for our first treatment. The property has nineteen treatment rooms and I headed to mine for the “Tri Dosha Energy Flow Massage – Marma Abhyanga”, which is described as an ancient therapy combining pressure to specific marma (vital) points all over the body and yoga joint stretches. My therapist explained that the massage manipulates the healthy flow of energy through the body.
The treatment focused on vital points down the spine, legs, arms and chest, which wasn’t always gentle but definitely left me with an overall feeling of connection throughout the body. This treatment covered the whole body and part of it is based in the chest area which the therapist said was optional, in case people are not comfortable with this level of intimacy. The yoga stretches incorporated in the treatment added a new dimension from a usual massage and is amended to fit your flexibility. I left the room feeling loosened up and much more flexible.
My mum chose the “Tri-Dosha pummelling massage – Pinda Sweda” which involves a pummelling technique, focusing on stiff joints. The pummelling is facilitated by therapeutic herbal powders, crushed in a pestle and mortar and tied into a muslin cloth. Mum chose the treatment due to a shoulder injury and the treatment was very effective, leaving her with much looser shoulder muscles and most importantly she said she was in a lot less pain. The therapist explained that this treatment is very personalised to the guest, with herbs chosen according to a questionnaire answered prior to the treatment on different areas of life and sleep.
After sitting by the pool admiring how much better we felt, it was lunch time. I had chosen the smoked chicken, mushroom and melon terrine followed by the pave of salmon, three bean and chorizo cassoulette, while mum had gone for the roasted pumpkin soup followed by coq au vin and creamed potatoes. We were welcomed into the restaurant in our gowns by very friendly staff and much to our relief were later joined by other guests dining in spa gowns. The food was delicious in perfect portion sizes to avoid feeling too full and bloated for an afternoon by the pool.
We later relaxed in the Jacuzzi until our second treatment, mum chose the “Tri-Dosha Pure Radiance Face Massage – Mukhabhyanga”, a remedial therapy where firm pressure lifts facial muscles, leaving her feeling refreshed and energised. I went for “Total Harmony”, the spa’s signature treatment which involved all an over body brushing session with warming lava stones. I left Utopia Spa with skin softer than it’s ever been and feeling totally refreshed to head back to London.
Our day at Rowhill Grange was a fantastic experience, a great opportunity to relax in a beautiful but accessible setting. I’d highly recommend both treatments I chose and imagine that even those who only go to relax by the pool, would not be able to leave Rowhill Grange without feeling completely rejuvenated.
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