When we booked a stay at Ye Olde Bell Hotel, we knew they had a spa. However, we were not prepared for just what a wonder their spa was. Come with us for a relaxing staycation in our Spa at Ye Olde Bell review.
We were hosted by the Spa at Ye Olde Bell but all opinions are entirely our own.
After a bit of a mix up (we totally misunderstood where we were meant to be having lunch) we found ourselves dashing into the spa 15 minutes late. We had happily plonked ourselves into the restaurant in the main Ye Olde Bell hotel before the poor wait staff had to inform us that we were meant to be eating at the Spa.
We ran in, feeling all flustered, and were introduced to a lovely gentleman called Jerry. He settled us into some chairs in the lobby and helped us order a calming beverage.
Lunch is served in a nice little restaurant. It is bright and airy, with a semi open kitchen. Guests can choose to eat inside or take a table outside in the sunshine.
The lunch menu is split into three sections. You have the light options, the heartier choices and the indulgent selections. I knew that fitting into a swimming costume meant picking smaller choices BUT how is anyone meant to skip a tasty croquette! I opted for two courses whilst Mr Fluskey had three. Everything was prepared beautifully and the flavours picked a decent punch. Of particular night was the absolutely perfect salmon cooking and the desserts which were divine!
I could have happily eaten another round of dessert, allowing us to try all of them but it was time to spa!
A Look Around the Spa
We were given a small tour around the main spa facilities. The lovely host, Jerry explained how each section worked and what was on offer. We could slurp as much tea, coffee and ice water as we liked but other drinks were chargeable. I made good use of the tea station throughout the experience, before ending the day with an Aperol Spritz in the pool.
Around the pool where some rather novel seating areas. You’ll find sunbeds sure, but there is also a very snuggly rattan pod. ￼
Follow around the corner and you’ll find a collection of Alpine Lodge seating areas. These are perfect for hen dos or family gatherings and they are a great sun trap for a glass of wine.
We made a beeline for a large day bed inside (it was just a couple of degrees too cold to be outside for my lizard liking) and after depositing our robes and towels, head straight for the pool.
A Lubbly, Bubbly Pool
The pool starts inside and has an opening to the outside area. It is not a pool for swimming, you wouldn’t get very far. Around the edge are a variety of hydrotherapy structures. Press the button and watch the bubbles ascend from the metal bars. They did your back, your bottom, your legs or just a pleasant bubble to relax in. There was even a fountain for massaging the shoulders but I was trying to avoid getting soaking wet straight away so this was saved until later.
After being bubble blasted for a little while, we were ready to make our way through the thermotherapy rooms
This room was kept at a very pleasing temperature when sat in swimwear. It was like a hot day in the sun but the air wasn’t too dry and the fragrance of the lavender/herb bags was just enough to notice every so often. At first, we took the high, lifeguard style chairs but realised we fancied slumping to relax so we claimed a bench afterwards.
This room was by far my favourite. Giving off strong steam punk vibes, it was centred around a large furnace and water tank. Every fifteen minutes or so, an iron bucket of stones heated to 400°C is cranked out of the furnace and dunked with a great hiss of steam into the water. It comes out and is let to steam dramatically into the room.
On the ceiling was a wooden fan that could be hand-cranked with a wall-mounted lever. Two fellow guests kept using it, thinking it would cool them down but their efforts were in vein. The strain of using it, combined with the fact it actually increased the heat around the room left them befuddled and sweaty.
I just loved the mechanical nature (even if the noise did shock me the first time) and seeing the steam made. It was a strange mix of industrial and primal.
“Be brave”, I thought. I was nice and toasty from the previous room and so a little snow shower would be lovely and refreshing, right? Turns out, I really am just a total wimp when it comes to the cold. I hit the button and went to stand under the snow generator but I lasted all of five seconds before tiptoeing away with my tail between my legs. I made straight for the foot spa to warm up my chilly tootsies.
Mr Fluskey fared much better and took around 10 seconds of snow storm before deciding to find the next warm room which was…
The Alpine Sauna
When you picture a sauna, this is it. In fact, you will have to picture it as I was too scared to take my phone into the heat. Warm wooden lined the walls and made the raised seating benches. Guests lazily lolled across the slats, faces gently perspiring in happy worship of the Scandi gods The Swiss pine wood permeates the air, transporting us to a small hut in an Alpine forest.
Shower Walk and Bucket Shower
After getting sweaty in the sauna, we hit the shower room. I didn’t entirely read the sign so went in slightly unprepared. There are four different shower experiences which come along with sound effects and lighting. I loved the tropical rain shower complete with a distant roll of thunder but got a little shivery in the alpine mist forest. Of course, it was only Mr Fluskey that took on the cold bucket shower but even he gave quite a yelp.
This is the absolute classic steam room. Super hot with 100% humidity and kryptonite for mobile phones (so there are no photos again). We weren’t in here that long as for some reason, we weren’t enjoying the heat. It may have been the wine…?
Salt Inhalation Room
We completed our turn around the thermo rooms with the chillout area dominated by a large salt wall. Projected onto the salt was a colour changing light which we had seen scrolling through the rainbow earlier on our tour. We took our seats and sat mesmerised, trying to see the colour shift. 10 minutes later, I realised we had forgotten to hit the button on the way in and so I had been staring at the same shade of blue convincing ourselves it was changing reeeeeeeeally slowly.
We ended the day, sitting on a bubbly bench in the pool, sipping on a cocktail.
Elsewhere in the Spa
We hadn’t book in for any treatments but Jerry was kind enough to show us upstairs. There was a cool vitamin D room. The walls were decorated to look like a lovely English seafront but you are likely to get a lot more vitamin di here than you are on your typical British seaside break.
I loved the quick glimpse into the private hammam room, used for couples treatments. It was very pretty. We also saw the relaxation area and beauty rooms. I looked at my poor lockdown nails and regretted not getting a mani.
The Changing Rooms
The changing rooms were reminiscent of a fancy gym. Each locker, closed using a code that you can set, was equipped with a towel, bathroom and flip-flops.
It wasn’t busy when we originally entered the spa, but as all the guests left at once at 6 pm, it was pretty busy afterwards. Several groups of ladies had to their lockers to retrieve their shower bits I dived into a shower cubicle straight away. I was quite disappointed to see that there was no conditioner. Discussions between adjacent showers highlighted that other guests were equally dismayed by this.
I happily threw my swimming costume into the electric ringer and then dried myself in one of the two private changing rooms. It definitely paid to be first in the shower. I did a rough dry of my hair as I had read that there were straighteners available. However, I couldn’t find any and my hair was a bit dry and frizzy due to the lack of conditioner. I ended up washing my hair again in the room later.
Final Thoughts on Our Spa at Ye Olde Bell Experience
But for a little squeeze of conditioner, this was the perfect spa break. The variety of rooms kept us entertained and melted our muscles to a happy jelly. We loved that guests could be totally virtuous, choosing the detox teas, or enjoy the excellently decadent food and drink. It would be an ideal spot for a catch up with a loved one, be it your mum, your other half or a best friend!