Whilst exercise and eating right are important for your health, so is relaxation and taking care of yourself. I am reading this book called Happiness by Design, which says that you can choose to be happy, by doing things that make you happy: These can then be broken down into things you do that give you a purpose, and things you do for pleasure. I know I need to work more on just doing things for pleasure. Whether that be to take some time to read a book, putting my feet into a foot spa, having a candle lit bath, putting on a face mask, or going the whole hog and having a Spa break. Here in Gloucestershire we are lucky with our location near the Cotswolds as we can easily access some amazing places such as Cowley Manor. I was invited to have a Spa Day, which included their signature Green & Spring Facial, a 2-course meal and use of the facilities.
Cowley Manor C-Side Spa Day Guest at C-Side Spa
Cowley Manor is a contemporary-chic country house hotel in the Cotswold countryside and is surrounded by 55 acres of parkland, woods, meadows, with natural springs, lakes and Victorian cascades. In the House each room comprises of handmade furniture and fabrics made by young British designers, with high ceilings and stunning views of the grounds. Free parking and is located a 15 minute drive from Cheltenham and 20 minutes to Gloucester (with good links to the M5 and M50).
Cowley Manor also has a luxury spa – which won the Smith Awards 2015 for the Top 10 Best Spa Hotels. Cowley Manor C-Side Spa consists of 2 pools (which are heated all year round: a 17m green sate-lined indoor door and an elegant 15m outdoor pool); 4 treatment rooms; a gymnasium (with personal training if arranged); a steam room; a sauna; a relaxation room; and male & female changing rooms. C-Side Spa is family friendly (children are allowed in from 9am-5:30pm each day) but no children under 16 are permitted in the gym or pool areas unsupervised. The facilities are open from 7:30am-9pm Weekdays and 8am-9pm at Weekends. With treatments from dedicated therapists using all their very own Green & Spring products available between 9:30am-8pm seven days a week.
Cowley, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL53 9NL
My Experience of being a Day Guest at C-Side at Cowley Manor Hotel
On first arriving at Cowley Manor I was taken aback by what a gorgeous location it is set in. Once stepping into Cowley Manor house it immediately made me feel at home, whilst also feeling very romantic. I loved the atmosphere, with the open fires and just how family friendly it is: There are a number of rooms to cater for everyone’s tastes – including a pool room, a lounge with television and books, and another room with a large variety of board games. When I arrived there were small fluttering’s of snowflakes but yet the steam from the outdoor pool made it seem so inviting. I was warmly welcomed at the reception desk at C-Side Spa as Charlotte introduced herself and seated me down on the comfy sofa with a consultation form, lunch menu and explained what my options were/what to do.
I was delighted to be given a C-Side bag and flip-flops to keep, and a robe to use. Charlotte explained to me where everything was, what would happen throughout the day and ensured I was happy and had no further questions. The changing room is spacious and has 3 shower cubicles, toilets and lockers (with a key that required no money). There was one big long bench to use to get changed on, but no individual changing cubicles for those who are shy. The changing room was well equipped (the only thing I need to bring me was a brush/comb, other than my gym/swim kit); there was everything from shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toner, moisturiser, body lotion, hairspray, deodorant, sanitary products, towels, hair dryer, cotton buds, face cream, spatula and pads. Each locker had a towel in, with more available on request. They were regularly attended to and cleaned.
The Gym at C-Side Spa Cowley Manor
First I hit the gym and made use of the running machines. Only my 3rd time to use one, and my first time with no help starting it off – I liked how it was pretty straight forward. There were other facilities in the room, but I am not going to pretend I am familiar enough with gyms to say what they were. It was spacious, clean and smelt good. My own bug bear would be that the view in front of the running machines was to the outdoor pool, obscured by leaves and so not very interesting. Ideally a television in front of them would have been better – especially if running a long distance/time. I was pleased to see a water dispenser right next to them – very handy indeed after working up a sweat. I did manage to give my legs a really good workout – and even was brave enough to actually lift my feet off and run (without holding on either).
The Pools, Steam Room & Sauna at C-Side Spa Cowley Manor
Next I used the pools, starting with outside. It was a really cold wintery Sunday so I was a bit apprehensive about it – but honestly it was really warm! I didn’t even go in quickly and get straight back out, as I had it to myself I did a few laps around it. I then tried the indoor pool for comparison and it was only slightly warmer. There were plenty of sun loungers around and jugs of water. Although C-Side Spa is family friendly the pools are not really designed for non-swimmers as they are 1.2m deep. I would also have liked to have seen a Jacuzzi although the Steam room was out of this world. Seriously I have never been in one so amazing. It was really spacious and really, erm steamy. I am surprised I managed to stay in as long as I did it was so hot. The sauna was just opposite (with showers in between) so easy to go from one to the other. The sauna was good but I didn’t add too much water after just coming from the steam room. I am not sure if I missed them but I couldn’t see any timers or clocks for either room so guessed the times a bit.
Green & Spring Facial at C-Side Spa Cowley Manor
When I had finished with the Sauna I was asked by Beth, the Senior Therapist & Trainer, if I was ready for my treatment. She made sure I had everything I wanted/needed and did not make me feel rushed at all. All the treatments at C-Side use Green & Spring products – which have been made by utilising the natural resources found locally at Cowley Manor, including the natural spring waters and herbs found in the grounds. I had been booked in for the signature Green & Spring Facial (60 minutes) – which is designed to repair and rejuvenate, something that is perfect in these winter months with the harsh weather and heating on my skin. Beth began the process with intense cleaning and she asked me whether I minded the use of steam (this is to increase the blood supply to the skin). Followed by an energising scrub ad secondary exfoliation (for removing dead skin cells and brightening). Then a soothing local honey and skin-clarifying milk were massaged into the skin with a hot, herbal compress filled with lavender, calendula and wheatgerm (to heal and remove toxins). Finally a deep, toning and nourishing face massage was given by application of an antioxidant face mask (to help heal, nourish and repair leaving the skin glowing and youthful).
It felt amazing! My skin feels fantastic even days later. Beth was so utterly, utterly fantastic I cannot praise her enough. I have no idea just how she managed to change the temperature of her hands so much to make them just perfect for each stage. She was so attentive right from the very start (you are able to choose which music you want playing, or can use your own). Beth explained things to me and even kindly took photographs for me. Afterwards she advised me to use a night time serum and a face mask weekly to help my skin (it often feels really dry each morning), and said that my skin had really been thirsty. It was so relaxing that I know I kept drifting off as my snoring woke me up! I was then offered a drink and I went for the Well-Being Herbal tea. This was made whilst I got ready again and then I was shown to the relaxation room. I had booked my lunch for 2pm and I was advised that it was ready and given the option of whether I wanted it brought into the relaxation room.
The 2-Course Lunch at C-Side Spa Cowley Manor
Included in my Day Spa experience was a 2 course meal and I loved that it was a nice healthy menu – even with the option of swapping a desert for an extra smaller portion of one of the salad main dishes. There was also pizzas. I opted for Confit Fillet of Loch Duat Salmon (marinated fennel, tomato & cucumber in dill dressing) and Strawberries & Cream. Cowley Manor serves food made from fresh local ingredients and a big thumbs up to the Kitchen – for not only the beautiful presentation of the food, but it really did taste fantastic. I could not fault it at all. There was also an option to have breakfast and afternoon tea, but I have no experience of this. On the tables were menus for drinks including Cocktails, Mocktails, Wines, Beers, Ciders, Soft drinks and fruit juices.
Verdict of Cowley Manor C-Side Spa Day Guest
I would definitely recommend visiting Cowley Manor C-Side Spa as a Day Guest. In fact I enjoyed it so much I could see my husband sending me there as my birthday present. Of course, as well as birthdays, it would make a great Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Anniversary or Christmas gift – and of course just because you are worth it. C-Side Spa offers a range of treatments including Massages, Wraps, Facials, Manicures, Pedicures, Waxing and even treatments for during pregnancy. I was impressed with how tidy and well-stocked up C-Side Spa was (plenty of magazines/newspapers, water and towels replenished when people used them). As above I would certainly recommend the facilities, treatments and food. A very enjoyable day – thank you very much to the staff at C-Side Spa.