Spas We Love: Bodysgallen Hall, Llandudno
Bodysgallen isn't exactly on the way to anywhere - unless you're touring Snowdonia or en route Holyhead for the ferry to Ireland. Which is why over the past 10 years we've had to decline countless invitations to check out the spa at this stunning hotel, now a National Trust property with exquisite gardens, and offering great local walks. (It happens to be the AA's Hotel of the Year for Wales, BTW.) The Jo was invited to give a speech at the hotel - to a group of headteachers holding their conference there. Which turned out to be less scary than it might have been, probably due to the skills of masseuse Diana who kneaded away travel tension and pre-speech nerves in the most perfect way.
The multi-award-winning Spa itself is tucked away a couple of hundred yards' walk from the hotel, in a low-built stone conversion. A crackling log fire flanked by inviting chairs greets you on a winter's day - first time we've come across that, in a spa. And the welcome is equally warm. The spa changing room leads onto a long indoor heated swimming pool, where it's also possible to lounge between treatments, though Jo didn't have time to do much more than slip on a robe and head for her massage, alas.
Decléor is the main brand featured on the treatment menu (along with Xen-Tan tanning treatments, Jessica manicures/pedicures, and CACI if your face is in need of a bit of gravity-defiance). We often find spa rituals over-fussy when what we really want is someone's fingers and thumbs working on 'computer knots', so Jo opted for a simple £55 one-hour Decléor Aroma Massage, choosing 'Flow' from the menu of four mood-shifting massage balms. Brilliant choice: Diana was a true, gifted therapist rather than a beautician who's turning her hand to occasional massages (which is the case in too many spas to mention). And a good price, we think; you can download the full treatment brochure here.
The hour in the treatment room, with its very comfortable bed, went all-too-quickly - though there was just time for a reviving English Breakfast tea in front of aforementioned fire, before Jo had to head to her beautiful room, and dinner. Vowing not to leave it another decade before a return visit to this very special place - hopefully, with husband in tow next time.