Spas are lovely things, aren’t they? Some (most) of the best, we’ve found, offer pure escapism – often tucked away in remote woodlands, tranquil countryside, on the beach or even in the mountains. Off you go to your appointment(s), preparing for lots of white, fluffy robes, zero phone signal and oodles of quietness, before emerging hours (sometimes days) later, blissed out and ready to return to the madness of every day life.
But what about city centre spas? Plonked in the middle of busy streets, surrounded by noise, pesky polluted air and stressed-out commuters, can they offer the same levels of relaxation? Turns out, Newcastle newbie, All About You, can. And does. It’s what makes it so special.
You’ll find the urban beauty retreat inside the city’s Grey Street Hotel, which has recently undergone a dazzling £1.2 million development during which its 49 bedrooms received a chic new makeover and it was blessed with new and improved meeting and conference rooms.
Elaine Beattie is at the helm – a Birtley-based beauty expert and master massage giver with a career spanning 30 years. Having held senior positions with some of the cosmetic industry’s biggest names, including ESPA and Decléor, Molton Brown, Éstée Lauder and Aveda, and with plenty of clinic experience under her belt, she’s one passionate professional – dedicated to making sure her clients have the most relaxing, restful experience in her hands – and leave with noticeable results.
The serene spot offers everything from facials, massages and other indulgent body treatments from beauty powerhouse, Elemis, to all your usual maintenance must-haves, such as OPI mani/pedis, waxing, spray tans, LVL lashes and brow tinting/shaping. Both men and women (including mums-to-be) are catered for and friends and couples, who can choose to indulge in a number of pamper packages, are also welcome.
“Customers can call in after work and enjoy a stress-busting massage before heading home, or pop in with their friends for a manicure or a makeover before a night on the town,” says Elaine.
“We also hope people visiting the city centre for a day’s shopping will build us into their plans. And whether they have time to linger over a glass of fizz or are squeezing a visit into their packed schedule, they will do so in an exquisitely stylish setting – it’s an oasis of calm in today’s frantically busy world.”
An oasis it is. So tranquil, in fact, we felt like we’d stumbled into a little corner of paradise when we stopped by the week before last. And it doesn’t look like a typical spa, either. Its underground/basement location definitely works in its favour – you really feel like you’ve escaped from the rest of the world. And we love the layout too – the fact that the nail bar, pedicure station and makeup area are on a mezzanine level, while the three treatment rooms (two single, one double) are tucked away.
Design-wise, it’s super luxe, boasting velvet, minky chairs, silver brickwork, plush booths, sparkling chandeliers and soft lighting that soothes. The treatment rooms are surprisingly spacious, the music is spot on (no noisy whale music or wind chime nonsense here) and the beds are roomy and marshmallow-like.
We visited one dreary Monday morning with tired eyes and even more exhausted skin – with a few stress-related lumps and bumps and a little too much oil for our liking. An Elemis facial seemed like a no-brainer – and so Elaine treated us to the brand’s BIOTEC Anti-Pigment Brightener treatment, designed to wake up the skin with a mix of massage, a power peel and gentle light therapy to help clear pores of nasties and reveal a clearer, glowy complexion.
After a thorough cleanse, using products from Elemis’ White Brightening range, to remove makeup and surface oil and grime, the 90-minute treatment saw our skin treated to a complex of brightening actives, massaged brilliantly to help get the blood pumping and a nifty peel-off mask, infused with vitamin C and daisy extracts to reduce pigmentation and mineral-rich sea algae to moisturise.
A great one for all skin types – mature with age spots, skin that’s suffered (or is suffering) from pigmentation and blemishes and the marks they leave behind, or complexions that are, quite simply, knackered. Our skin, somehow, looked more even and translucent when Elaine and her lovely warm mitts were finished working their magic – and brighter and tighter, too.
We loved that our arms and hands were treated to a little TLC while our mask got to work, too. And the fact that we weren’t left feeling oily or overly perfumed with essential oils when we emerged from the treatment room. The skin on our neck and décolleté felt softer, too.
We may have only spent 90 minutes in this chic, safe haven (we’ll indulge in a pamper day next time), but what we can’t deny is how much relief the experience brought to our day. Not because we stopped by in the morning and not because we had our chops massaged, but because of the spa’s overall ambiance and its power to put us completely at ease, making us feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city outside.
It’s Elaine and her team’s mission to make your spa experience ‘all about you’ and ours certainly was. We left feeling refreshed and renewed, ready to tackle whatever our Monday was going to throw our way. If you fancy feeling the same, we’d advise you give the retreat and get yourselves booked in pronto. A little hushed me-time never felt so good.