Macdonald Berystede Hotel and Spa, Ascot: Musclease aroma spa ocean wrap

Tamsin Wressell soothes a sore shoulder Wednesday, 2 March 2016

By Tamsin Wressell

It's lightly raining, there's a chilly breeze and it's close to pitch black, yet I'm perfectly content in the spa's outdoor hydrotherapy pool. Lying on the underwater bench, the sky is full of stars, and with the warm bubbling water reaching my shoulders, I have no need to worry about the miserable weather conditions. Complete with spray jets to massage shoulders and back, the pool usually takes in the view of the hotel's surrounding gardens, but the starry sky provides a sight that's just as attractive.

Indoors, loungers sprawl the skirting of the deep blue pool, and the thermal area — while appearing small at first glance — packs in a lot, with an aroma steam room, salt room, sauna, infrared sauna, ice room and experience showers. After one last dip of the day in the pool, I dry off on a heated tiled tepidarium bed before retreating to my room.

Awash with neutral tones, my suite is complete with a walk-in wardrobe, plump sofa and queen-size bed in its own little alcove. The robes appear to be missing from their set hangers in the bathroom, and I'm told the ones in the spa are only available to day customers, but the fluffy towels more than suffice.

Following a full English breakfast in the morning, I head back down through the cosy reception area — complete with grand chairs and a fireplace — to the spa. Robe in hand this time, I'm led to the relaxation room to sip on peppermint tea before my treatment begins.

Elemis is the main provider for the spa, with a reel of its facials and treatments available. But to soothe a shoulder injury, I opt for the Musclease Aroma Spa Ocean Wrap. After clambering onto the foil blanket neatly placed on the bed in a manner far from elegant, I'm scrubbed down before being covered in a cooling gel and mud combination. Wrapped up tightly in the foil with a blanket on top, my therapist explains how the gel will soak into my muscles and help release built-up tension.

As time passes, the cooling gel makes me shiver hard; the menthol tingle brings a chill to my skin that no amount of layers can beat. But as my therapist gives me a pressure point facial that cleanses and moisturises, before moving onto a scalp massage that drains away my stress, I'm soon distracted from the goose bumps I can feel on my arms.

I hop into a hot shower to rinse off — and warm up — before my treatment wraps up with a Musclease oil being massaged into my body. Despite the tightness brought to my muscles during the shivers, I leave feeling extremely relaxed and relieved of tension.

I'm advised not to use the spa facilities, so the products can soak into my skin throughout the day, and come evening, my skin feels softer than ever. I take a last stroll through the gardens, but as the wind picks up speed, I can't help but envy the spa-goers I'm leaving behind, whose heads bob in the blissful hydrotherapy pool.

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