By Jasmine Stephens, family editor
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a grown adult in possession of small children, must be in want of a spa day. Universally, it transpired, with the exception of my husband, who only as we drove through the stunning Yorkshire Pennines, announced that he wasn’t sure he was going to enjoy ‘this spa thing’. I won’t deny that spas do appeal more to the female market, with mother-daughter days, hen parties and groups of female friends making up a large proportion of the clientele, but if an overtired, over-stressed and over-worked mother can appreciate the benefits of 24 hours R&R, then surely the same can be said for a father?
I thought about trying to overcome his cynicism by extolling the health and therapeutic benefits of the centuries-old tradition of taking the waters and the detoxifying effects of massage and other treatments, but I decided to let the experience speak for itself. Our first glimpse of Titanic Spa at Linthwaite was certainly more impressive than we’d anticipated. Set within a grade II listed Edwardian textile mill which is nestled in a secluded green valley near Huddersfield, the spa manages to embrace the building’s industrial heritage and yet bring it up to date with a modern interior and constantly expanding facilities. An outdoor sunken hot-tub was recently added and a bar is due to open in July 2015. The ancient spring which once provided the power to the textile mill, now supplies the spa with all its water and is an integral part of making Titanic the UK’s first Eco-Spa. This is about as far from the ‘dark satanic mills’ as you can get.
We were given a warm Yorkshire welcome, were relieved of our luggage and handed our itinerary. Lunch, treatments and dinner were all scheduled in for us, which as a mother of three whose life basically revolves around making decisions about when, where and what to eat, I found a refreshing reprieve. After a tour of the facilities, we changed into our swimwear, robes and slippers. My husband looked more like Jeff Bridges as The Dude than someone about to enter a world of detoxification and relaxation so I hurried him towards the Heat and Ice Experience.
According to the brochure, this part of the spa ‘guides your body though a sensory journey with the ultimate aim of inducing deep relaxation’ and includes nine ‘experiences’ each with a different temperature and level of humidity.
We progressed from the gentle warmth of the herbal infusion room, saunarium and aromatherapy room through the humidity of the crystal steam bath to the intense heat of the sauna cabin, taking a cooling shower or reflexology foot bath between each one. Even my husband had to admit that the opportunity for quiet, distraction-free repose combined with the warmth and humidity was bringing him perilously close to nap-o’clock. Fortunately a dip in the cold plunge pool both reinvigorated him and brought him back up to the required level of machismo and we headed to the salt-water regulated pool for a quick swim and dip in the Hydrozone.
All this relaxation was clearly much more strenuous than I had thought as by lunchtime I was ravenous and passed over the three salad options for a seasonal dish of Yorkshire asparagus linguini with mushrooms, pesto and parmesan. My husband chose the grilled Merquez sausages with date molasses couscous and pomegranate dressing. Both dishes tasted light and fresh despite generous portions and our excellent intentions to try out the Leisure Centre went by the wayside as, in a most impressive display of marital telepathy, we headed straight from the bistro to the Rest and Relaxation room.
With soft lighting and music, oversized bean-bags and cushions and several other guests sending soporiphic Zs around the room, it wasn’t long before I nodded off to sleep while my husband selected a book from the shelf and read up on local history. Feeling refreshed after a 20-minute nap, it was time for our treatments. Titanic offers a huge range of treatments and therapies and I had chosen the Decleor Aromassage; a 55-minute indulgence, combining tension-relieving massage and acupressure. I’d decided that my husband could do with the Elemis Face & Body Sensation; a stone massage and anti-ageing facial. He was sufficiently reassured when I told him it was from the list of ‘Gentleman’s Treatments’.
When we were reunited after our treatments, I asked him how he’d found it, but he was so relaxed he couldn’t actually reply and headed straight to our accommodation for a sleep. The one-bedroom luxury apartment was complete with a fully-equipped kitchen and lounge area and an impressively vertiginous balcony, so I took the opportunity for a shower, cup of tea and a rare chance to read in absolute silence.
Having yet again missed our chance to try out the gym, we headed for a two-course dinner. The atmosphere in the bistro was laid-back and friendly, the food was well-seasoned and balanced and the waiter did very well not to laugh out loud when my husband ordered a bottle of Peroni for his dessert.
We finished our drinks outside on the terrace, listening to the sound of the river babbling by and reflected on the day. When you are parents to three children under seven, it is virtually impossible to switch off from daily life. Nappies need changing, your phone demands attention, someone wants a snack, the washing machine needs to be emptied, there’s cleaning to be done or some work to catch up on. When we finally get the children bathed and in bed, it’s all we can do to collapse onto the sofa with a bottle of wine and stare half-asleep at our phones. Any conversation revolves strictly around need-to-knows.
The chance to temporarily step-off that constant roundabout is a chance to suspend everyday worries, to reconnect, to actually talk. To do all of this in such a relaxing and peaceful environment and stunning setting was a luxury and a delight. And even my husband couldn’t disagree with that.
For further details, go to www.titanicspa.com