Treatments we love: Elemental Herbology at The Royal Crescent, Bath

RCH Vitality Pool with Jets.jpg

There’s always a moment with a massage, we’ve found, when your unconscious brain processes the atmosphere in the spa and treatment room, the sounds and scents, and that first touch from the therapist. Then, either your mind and body remain, even very slightly, on the alert – or they go ‘yes!!!’ and let go completely, melting into the couch. And that was how it was as Sarah succumbed to an Elemental Herbology Five Element Aroma massage when she visited the very wonderful Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa in Bath.

The award-winning Spa & Bath House are in a former coach house at the bottom of the five-houses-wide garden. Sarah and her husband Alex plonked weary post-London bodies into the Vitality Pool, pondering how extraordinarily restorative it is being gently pummelled with massage water jets. A few minutes each in the Sauna and Steam Inhalation Room before they ploughed up and down the 12-metre heated Relaxation Pool. And for more energetic visitors, there’s a fully equipped Fitness Room.

After a divinely delicious dinner (Executive Head Chef David Campbell has a raft of accolades) in the pretty Dower House Restaurant and a sound sleep in a super-comfy bed – oh and a scrumptious breakfast – it was time to prep for those Elemental Herbology (EH) treatments.

Now, Beauty Bible has known and loved EH products, which are based on the Five Element theory, since they launched nearly a decade back. But, curiously, we haven’t had one of their treatments.

For treatment, think BIG treat. In fact, writing this now, Sarah is hugging the thought and rather wishing her aching joints and tired brain could be expertly tended by Marianna, her excellent therapist, right this very moment.

The infusions of essential oils are chosen to suit your body and mind. So they match one or more of the five elements - wood, fire, earth, metal and water – to how you feel that day. A balance of all the elements is needed, depending on your skin type, lifestyle, the seasons and environmental factors. 

So Sarah was given wood for rejuvenation and earth for balance. The treatment itself is a restorative sequence of warm herbal steam towels, heated stones and those wonderfully fragrant oils delivered by the skilful hands of an expert massage therapist like Marianna. 

(Afterwards, do not – repeat NOT – be tempted to shower or even shampoo your hair because those lovely oils go on working their magic for hours.)

Sarah and Alex spent under 24 hours there but it felt extraordinarily much longer both in terms of enjoying every moment at the time, and, later that week, still feeling so relaxed and, well, yes, rejuvenated. So if you are in or near Bath (one of our favourite cities), do consider booking in for a treatment and while you are at this deeply luxurious hotel, have a delicious meal and preferably stay overnight too.

The Half Day Spa Retreat package, £130 per person Monday to Friday, includes 1-hour use of Spa, 1-hour treatment of your choice and a light lunch or afternoon tea. Other packages are available and do keep your eye on the hotel website,, for special offers.