Spas We Love: Bedford Lodge Hotel Spa

First: a word about Jessie Lawrence, our Website Coordinator who - as our thousands of testers know - processes all tester applications and then the forms you return with comments about the products tested.  She also looks after all those lucky Beauty Bible ‘insiders’ who have won prizes in our weekly draws.  Well – after a new edition of The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible (launched December 2013) and a whole new book – The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible (to be launched spring 2014) – our Jessie was in need of a bit of pampering and TLC. Galloping to the rescue came the fantastic team at the recently launched Bedford Lodge Hotel Spa, housed next to the Georgian-built hotel in the heart of Newmarket (the centre of British racing so you get the little joke?).  Jessie and her friend Stacy went for a spot of R&R and when we asked what it was like, Jessie murmured dreamily ‘it was like walking into a bubble of gentleness and calm.  The staff members were wonderfully considerate and accommodating.  Once we got in those snuggly dressing gowns we forgot about the world outside.’

If we tell you that ESPA, one of our favourite – and most highly regarded – skincare and treatment brands, has a presence at Bedford Lodge Hotel Spa, it gives you a flavour of the place.  (ESPA is very choosy about where their name is featured.)  They offer their signature range of facials – Age-Defyer, Advanced Enzyme Facial and ESPA Personalised Facial (just writing this is making us want to go there this minute…) and the massage therapists are also ESPA-trained.

Jessie particularly loved being offered a massage that was tailored to just how she was feeling so she got the maximum benefit: massage therapists really need to be like the best hairdressers and connect with you – we have experienced treatments that have been ‘plonked’ on our bodies just like some snippers ‘plonk’ any old hairstyle on you, regardless of what you look like.  Therapist Faye recommended an ESPA personalised 60-minute massage using Fitness Body Oil. The oil was used as an inhalation vapour before being applied to the body so the benefit was both inside and out.

Jessie reported that the massage ‘was like taking a journey through marshmallow clouds… The bed beneath me disappeared and my troubles evaporated. She was massaging happiness and relaxation into every muscle and joint.  The only thought I did manage to construct during the 60 minutes was to wonder how Faye seemed to have mastered the art of moving from one side of the massage table to the other without seemingly taking a hand off my body… Given the dimensions of the massage table I quickly settled on some form of magical levitation and let myself be drawn back to the land of pure indulgence!’

The Spa is beautifully designed with rounded edges and curves that make visitors feel safe and cocooned.  While most of us don't actually want to do very much at a spa, the facilities are pretty irresistible.

BEDFORD LODGE 2Water, of course, is a big feature with a big hydrotherapy pool with five ‘water experiences’ – that may sound a bit dotty but we love it: there’s nothing like relaxing in a splishy-splashy-sploshy environment then lazily pottering off to the sauna or steam room (there’s a hammam too, and visitors are offered a Rasul mud treatment to leave skin velvety soft and glowing from head to toe).  Jessie particularly noted the mood lighting, which continually changed and was ‘utterly calming and relaxing’. If the weather allows – or you are a Spartan at heart – you can disport yourself outdoors in the rooftop hot tub.  Jessie and Stacy loved being there in the dark, relaxing in the warm bubbly water while the breeze blew the clouds across the sky.

Devotees also come for the beauty room, which offers manicures and pedicures.  It really is a one-stop-shop for pampering, according to Jessie.  ‘The logistics of fitting massages, rasuls, facials, time using the gorgeous facilities with a healthy lunch and a very naughty but nice glass of champagne were organised by the super-efficient and super-nice Helen Lacey. It was a taste of heaven and we were treated like royalty.’

PS: we nearly forgot to say that the food is delicious and the choice of drinks ranges from wonderful smoothies to some very good champagne (that’s for when your horse comes in first…).

Bedford Lodge Hotel Spa, Bury Road, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7BX/01638-676130 E-mail :