Ramblings, Review

A relaxing spa morning & lunch @ Hotel du Vin

I’m not going to lie, after a busy working week I was beyond looking forward to my visit to the spa and bistro at Hotel du Vin this weekend. Like most thirty-something gals, I now much prefer a relaxing few hours of me time and a bite to eat than I do a boozy outing (well most of the time), so I was delighted to be invited to try out a pamper package at one of Birmingham’s swishest hotel’s.

I’m already a big fan of Hotel du Vin – you can read my review of their Sunday Brunch here. It’s in a great city centre location right by Snow Hill station, the food is always good, and the staff, in my experience, are absolutely delightful. Thankfully when I visited on Saturday for my  pre-booked Spa Retreat Spa package I had a similarly positive experience.

For a very reasonable £80, guests and visitors alike can enjoy a 1 hour treatment session with a HDV therapist, unlimited use of the spa facilities and a delicious lunch (with a glass of fizz) in the bistro. I was told to put aside at least 3 hours in order to enjoy my visit to the full, and I’m now glad I actually kept the entire morning free. 

Spa treatment choices include a full body massage or one hour facial, or two 30 minute treatments such as a full body exfoliation treatment and head massage, or an express facial and back massage. I chose the hour long massage (obviously – I sit at a laptop all day) and Corabeth, the charming spa manager, booked my treatment appointment and even my lunch slot in advance, ensuring all I had to do was relax when I arrived.  

Making my way to reception as I arrived at 10:30am, I was reminded how pretty and grand Hotel du Vin is. A friendly member of the front of house team directed me towards the spa, which is hidden away at the bottom of a flight of stairs in the basement of the hotel. 

Entering the spa area I was shown around the facilities (the changing rooms have recently had an aesthetic facelift lift) and given a towel, a fluffy white robe and some matching slippers before being invited to make myself at home. 

With 30 minutes before my massage I got comfortable on a lounger in the relaxation room and enjoyed a complementary pot of tea and gentle plinky plonky music. I’m a sucker for low lighting and just being in a warm, quiet room to be honest, so I throughly enjoyed leaving my phone in the changing rooms and just embracing the peace. 

At 11am as planned I was roused from my nap (sorry, I’m getting on a bit) and led to one of several treatment rooms for my massage. Corabeth asked me which specific areas to concentrate on and helped me choose a massage oil. I know it’s quite hard to have a bad massage but I really enjoyed my relaxing aromatherapy treatment. The pressure was spot on and I felt all sorts of aches and pains from my back and shoulders disappear before the massage came to an end. Put it this way, it took all of my energy not to fall asleep (again) which I think is the true sign of a great spa treatment. Kudos to Corabeth for attending to my most broken areas as requested and helping me feel super relaxed before my lunch. 

After my massage I enjoyed another 45 minutes in the spa, letting the lovely herbal oils soak into my skin, before a quick steam, sauna and shower. I then headed up to the sun drenched bistro for lunch. 

Being 1pm the French-inspired restaurant had a few lunch diners already enjoying food but thankfully my table in the window had already been reserved, and on being seated I was handed a chilled glass of fizz to enjoy whilst pursuing the menu. A bloody good way to start to lunch, let’s be frank. 

The set menu offered a choice of two courses (starter and main or main and pudding) as part of the spa package, as well as a choice of 4 breads to enjoy first. The onion loaf and sourdough were delicious dipped in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and provided an enjoyable start to the meal. 

I chose a starter of Seared Octopus and the Normandy Chicken Cobb Salad for my main. My starter arrived promptly and I have to say the dish smelt truly fantastic. Thankfully it was also a pleasure to eat. Delicately flavoured pieces of tender octopus sat on top of braised green lentils with a fresh salsa verde. Tasty and seemingly quite a healthy spring menu option, the additional smoky flavour of the added bacon was unexpected but welcome. A lovely seasonal dish that looks a little unusual but tastes heavenly. I would most definitely order this again. 

My main arrived looking like sunshine on a plate and very grand indeed, with each component of the salad separately displayed proudly. The presentation was more like a platter than a traditional salad plate but I actually thought it was a clever idea and made an often drab choice more interesting. It was bright and colourful with lots of each of the salad elements, including a very healthy dose of tangy Roquefort cheese, and collectively the flavours were rich and delicious. A very hearty salad and lovely to have such generous portions of all the toppings; the crispy smoked pancetta cubes especially were really tasty. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the spa and bistro at Hotel du Vin, and cannot praise the staff enough. The food was well presented and tasty, and the additional chocolate dipped strawberries (part of the spa package) are a really nice touch. It’s the added extras that always make HDV such a pleasure. 

While the spa isn’t as big as some might expect (there’s no pool/jacuzzi if that’s what you’re after) the therapists are excellent and the treatments they offer are more than adequate. I’ve already planned to book myself in for some pre-wedding pampering. 

There are a variety of spa packages available, some including overnight stays, and prices vary. You can view the spa brochure here if you’d like to check out the options.

Hotel du Vin, 25 Church St, Birmingham, B3 2NR

*Disclaimer: I was invited by HDV to review the Spa Retreat package. The treatment, food and drink were complimentary in return for an honest review, but all views, opinions, photos etc are very much my own*

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