Spa Spy: Spirit One Spa Galway
Finding myself lashed by the winds and the rain of an Atlantic storm that had landed in Galway at the very same time as me, I found myself blown off course into the direction of the Raddisson Spirit One Spa. There are far worse places to be in a storm !
On the surface, it seems like an otherwordly set up. Situated opposite it's parent hotel and arranged in an underground labyrinth of the treatment suites, thermal areas and flotation rooms, the Spirit Spa is accessible by lifts which serve to take you down to the multitude of rooms below.
Soft lighting, scented flowers and the generous details that make you feel at home are done with a thought for luxury. The facilities are as excellent as the layout is eccentric.
The Spirit has some nice surprises - a generous thermal area, Elemis dry flotation rooms and a wonderful outdoor hot tub with views over the waters of the Galway Bay. Of all the surprises lurking in the myriad of rooms that make up the Spirit Spa, the one not to be missed is the Sabia Med.
Fashioned like a Mediterranian beach the concept may seem a little odd, but it's far from being a gimmick. The warmth and the heat feel like heaven on a day of foul weather and a chance to unwind with a meditative dawn to dusk light cycle was grabbed with both hands. The mood is set by a thick layer of hot sand, the walls are painted with scenes which transport you to more exotic climates and 45 minutes of bliss ensue as the room gradually moves from darkness to dawn and back to dusk.
Having done the beach and a quick session in the Aroma Grotto for my hair and skin, it was off to the rainforest showers for spray mists and aromatherapy oils. Although I hadn't planned to spend the day in the Spirit Spa it seemed only right to try one of the Spirit's signature treatments and the dry flotation certainly doesn't disappoint.
In the comforting cabin of a spacious private suite, the treatment begins with a seaweed body mask before you're wrapped into a blanket and left to drift on a bed which slowly begins to sink to the floor. Although it takes a little getting used to, the sensation is wonderful. Not too overwhelming and serene in the extreme. Like floating in a warm sea without having to worry about jellyfish ! Warmed, calmed and overwhelmingly relaxed, by the time I had been given my mini facial and been treated to a head massage, my morning had become an afternoon and the gale that raged above could have been force 15 for all it mattered to me.
My final destination was the latest addition to the gym. A huge cave like salt spa. Self contained within the Raddisson complex, the only dress requirements are that shoes are covered for protection from the sea salts which cover the ground. With salt air having excellent detox properties and an effective treatment for asthma and allergy sufferers, the atmosphere is relaxing though therapeutic and after a half hour session its impossible not to come away cleaner and clearer.
By the time I had managed to pull myself away from all that underground pampering the gale above was as calm as I was and the sun had finally begun to lift the gloom. Having found my own sun trap by way of one last trip to the Sabia Med, it was off to the rooftop hot tub with views over the waters that wrap the city. With dinner fast approaching the thought did strike me that Galway had become a very good place to be shipwrecked !
Factfile: Spirit One Spa
Where: Lough Atalia Road, Galway
Treatments: A good selection of Elemis Facials, body wraps and dry flotation rituals
Luxury factor: 4/5
Value for money: 3/5
Current Offers: Spa Coffee Morning including use of the Theral Suite, massage treatment and the Elemis Taster Facial for €60
To book: Call +353 91 538 462 or see http://spiritonespa.com for more information.