Saturday, 26 April 2014

Spa Day at Tudor Park Marriott Hotel

For my birthday back in November, my boyfriend gave me a voucher for a spa day for two at a Marriott Hotel of my choice from Buyagift. I had just started a new job and was so incredibly touched by the gesture and couldn't wait to book my visit! I'd never been to a spa before and couldn't believe I'd soon have the opportunity to relax and feel pampered from head to toe. I had visions of white fluffy robes and slippers, bright blue pools and relaxing on a table listening to whale music.

After a bit of thought I decided that it would be fun to take my best friend Lou with me for a girly day (checking that boyfriend didn't mind, of course!). It would be the perfect chance to catch up after nearly a whole year apart. After months of clutching onto the voucher and wondering when to go, I finally booked the day (with lots of help from the brilliant Marriott team) and eagerly awaited the week before Easter when we would be able to relax and enjoy this very special treat.

The gift itself was brilliant. It allowed me to take one friend to the spa for the entire day, and entitled us to one full treatment each. We had the choice of either a facial or a full-body massage, and I booked two massages since I knew that our poor stressed bodies could do with a little TLC. I was presented with a little voucher in a pretty tin, and all the instructions I needed to book my day. It couldn't have been easier.

I won't lie - I was a little nervous about the whole booking process. I'd heard great things about Buyagift but with all of the terms and conditions, I couldn't help but worry that something would go wrong; that booking would be complicated, or that there would be a misunderstanding or a misplacement. I'm sure it's just me! I had no need to worry however - the process was smooth, and the woman on the phone from Marriott Hotels was incredibly helpful - I booked out treatments, was told what to bring and was reassured that it would all be fine. The process couldn't have been easier!

The day finally came and, with our bikinis packed and leisure wear in our bags, we made our way to the Tudor Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club in Maidstone, Kent, for our special day.  Thankfully, the weather was beautiful and we were incredibly excited!

The entrance of the hotel was welcoming and the foyer itself was very smart. We were quickly directed towards the spa reception which was easy to find and caught a glimpse of the pool and gym on our way. We booked in without hassle (my worries of lost reservations were quickly dismissed!) and were given a quick tour of the facilities. We were also told we could go along to any of the fitness classes running that day. We couldn't wait to get started. But first, we settled for a chat and a delicious hazelnut latte in the lounge area, looking out over the lush green golf course and planning the day ahead.

Our first stop was a Zumba class for an hour. I've done Zumba so I knew I'd enjoy it, and we both had a lot of fun. It felt good to be exercising and really energised us. We were by far the youngest in the room, but the regular ladies were very friendly and I think we just about managed to keep up. I loved having the opportunity to make the most of the classes and facilities at the spa and it was a great welcome.

We decided that a dip in the pool would be the best thing to follow a work-out. I was pleased  that my new bikini from H&M was holding out and fitted like a dream.  The pool was peaceful and I really enjoyed the chance to try the sauna and steam room. I've not had much experience with either, and although I really loved the way the sauna left my skin, the steam room felt - and I'm going to quote myself here - 'like sitting in a tumble dryer'. It was a very strange sensation, and I much preferred the sauna, but I loved having the chance to try something new!. After a little while enjoying the pool and sauna - and chatting the entire time! - we ventured upstairs for a light lunch before we went for the main event - our full body massage.

Now, I wasn't sure how to feel about letting a stranger rub me up and down with scented oils. I hadn't let myself dwell on the concept for long, but I was very uncertain as to what I could expect! Once we checked in at reception again, we were led to our rooms by two lovely ladies and allowed to undress (not completely!) and unwind on the beds before the session began.

The room was warm and the massage table, lined with fluffy towels, was so incredibly comfortable. With the low lighting and soothing music, I tried to empty my mind and focus on the masseuse's hands on my skin. As soon as she touched my back, my worries about awkwardness subsided and I felt my tension leaving my body with every stroke. I could feel her easing the knots in my back one by one - slightly painful, but a huge release of stress. I tried to let my mind remain in the moment - to not think about later that day, or next week, or work...but to appreciate the opportunity and to really relish the treatment. I felt warm, soft and incredibly happy. It was blissful.

The massage left me soft and completely revived. I honestly had not felt so calm for a long, long time. Years of stress and tension built up after two degrees and a new job had been eased out of me. I felt incredibly content as I slipped back into my clothes and headed towards the changing room to get ready for a final swim. My back had, in all honesty, never felt so supple and soft. I couldn't quite believe it. I had opted for a massage with medium pressure, whereas Lou had asked for firm. She loved it too and, though she ached a little more than me, said it was a fantastic experience. We both sat in silence in the changing room for a few minutes, appreciating the peace that had overcome us!

After a final swim and sauna session, Lou and I ventured outside to take in the surroundings. The hotel itself is in a stunning location, with a huge golf course and beautiful little streams and ponds. I could imagine that it would be a lovely location for a wedding celebration. The sun started to ease, casting long languid shadows over the grass, reflecting our own relaxed bodies.If we had been able to stay for longer, I would have enjoyed a nice cup of tea in the late afternoon sunshine.

After a little wander and a few minutes taking it all in, we headed home for an evening of Ben and Jerry's and Frozen - the perfect end to a perfect day.

I loved my spa day at the Tudor Park Marriott Hotel. The staff were really fantastic - polite, helpful and very friendly. Never once did we feel out of place, and we were able to ask any questions. We were at the hotel for 8 hours and, if I am honest, I could have stayed there for many more. I think maybe next time I'll book a weekend break - and that facial!

I had the most wonderful day with my best friend and, when work gets stressful, I can think back to that moment lying on the massage table and instantly feel my back loosen. I'm already daydreaming of my next spa treatment. Thank you Marriott Hotels, Buyagift and, of course, my generous boyfriend for giving me the chance to show my poor tense body and soul a little love and TLC.



  1. That sounds INCREDIBLE!!!! I am so glad you loved yor first massage experience! I felt the same way when my mom first ever booked one for me. I was nervous because I didn't know who the person was but one you get in there it's so wonderful you don't even think about it:) That hotel (and surrounding area) are beautiful.

    1. You really don't worry once it's happening - it's just a strange thought! It really was, I felt very lucky xx

  2. Such a lovely birthday present :)

    I'd never been to a spa before my sister's hen do last year and I was kinda excited and kinda nervous too but in the end I loved it. I've been meaning to book another one ever since and luckily my friend has treated me to a voucher for my birthday so we've got a spa day with two treatments booked for July, I'm also hoping to maybe convince my boyfriend to go to the spa at Centre Parcs when we're there on holiday in September :)

    I was so nervous before my first massage too, but it's lovely isn't it :) You just have to remember that to them it's just a job, they've seen it all before :D

    I really love that you could do a fitness class as well, that's a great added touch. I've not tried Zumba but keep meaning to give it a go!

    This place looks absolutely gorgeous, and what a beautiful sunny day too! You should have had afternoon tea in the garden afterwards!

    Thanks for sharing, I've really loved this post :D

    Chloe x

    1. At least it's not just me that gets nervous! I hope you enjoy your spa day in July - pop a post on your blog about it afterwards! I really recommend Zumba too, it's a lot of fun. We should have had the afternoon tea - but we completely ran our of time! Definitely something to do next time I'm there. Thank you for your lovely words :) xx