Gaia Spa, Devon
Rebecca Matthews discovers a whole new world of bliss at Gaia Spa, Devon’s unfeasibly luxe new spa experience
There’s something magical about stepping through the arched doors of a sprawling Elizabethan manor – all lofty towers, turrets and mullioned windows – and drifting into an otherworldly space: bright white and airy, softly scented with essential oils, a flying statuette of Gaia – the ancient goddess of nature – soaring above.
This stunning development is housed in a new, modern wing of Boringdon Hall, offering state-of-the-art facilities and contemporary luxuries in the setting of an historic hotel – albeit grounded in an ancient wisdom.
Gaia or ‘Mother Earth’ is woven through the innovative design of the spa, from the beautiful signature wood carvings suspended from the ceilings of the treatment rooms to the stunning logo details throughout. Gaia, and living in accordance with natural laws, is key to the spa’s ethos, which centres on providing the time and space to focus on your wellness, naturally – a challenge to us all amidst the pace of modern life.
Gaia Spa’s world-class facilities are designed to do just that. There’s an infinity pool and hydrotherapy pool, where you can swim through a door and sit outside, taking in the fresh Dartmoor air while you soak in the warm jets of water. There’s a series of heat experiences, ranging from a Finnish sauna and Crystal Salt steam room to a Laconium herbal sauna, traditional steam room and a series of shower experiences varying in intensity, temperature and sensory effects.
Then there are the 12 beautifully designed treatment rooms, where the highly trained therapists conduct the blissful range of Gaia rituals and treatments. Echoes of Morocco abound in the sumptuous Deep Relaxation Room where those having treatments can relax and reconnect before views of a wild flower meadow. There’s even a gym, beauty salon and private relaxation room. Everything is exquisitely designed with impeccable attention to detail to ensure spa-goers savour – and feel the benefits from – a heavenly journey of natural relaxation and connecting with their inner selves.
It certainly did the trick for me. Deadline-wearied and aching from too many late nights hunched over a computer, I was in dire need of the mind, body and spirit nourishment Gaia Spa promised.
I began my journey with a soak in the pool and enjoyed the various heat experiences – savouring the sensation of the deep warmth penetrating my body. Each experience comes with different health benefits, from boosting immunity to relaxing the muscles and improving the circulation. I particularly enjoyed the zesty eucalyptus and lemongrass aroma of the herbal sauna.
Then it was time for my treatment. I had opted for the Gaia Jade Facial. From the moment I stepped inside the treatment room and enjoyed a foot ritual – my feet were immersed in warm water and massaged with a fragrant cream – I knew this wasn’t going to be a run-of-the-mill facial. The exceptional level of training Gaia Spa pour into their therapists is obvious. Lying on my heated treatment bed, savouring every second of the delectable Gaia products being softly massaged into my skin, I drifted into the deepest state of relaxation. My therapist gently rolled a healing Jade crystal wand across my skin to stimulate lymph drainage and blood flow, followed by the most incredible scalp massage. I felt like I was floating – suspended from the moment, my body and most certainly my to-do list. It was pure heaven – so heavenly that it was easy to forget that the facial promised visible results as well. My skin looked smoother and clearer, and felt silken for days.
Although I was loath for this sublime experience to finish, being delivered to the calming climes of the Deep Relaxation Room, a beautifully lit space with velvety beds, luxe drapes and meadow views, ensured I revelled in my new-found state of relaxation a little longer.
My husband, Brendan, carried a similar look of dreamy relaxation to the one I imagined I was wearing. He had chosen the Gaia Hot Stone Massage. A therapeutic full body massage delivered using a blend of Gaia oils and warm volcanic stones, the treatment is designed to relieve deep muscle tension, soothe aches and pains, and instil relaxation and rejuvenation. He, too, had found the nagging demands of modern life and his daily to-do list had been swept away by the experience, leading him to a calmer, dreamier place.
It was onto a rather calm and dreamy place next, as we headed to the Spatisserie, with its soft furnishings, peaceful ambience and sweeping views over Dartmoor. The Gaia products’ themes of ‘awakening’, ‘balancing’ and ‘calming’ carry through to the lunch menu: there’s a choice of tapas style dishes and larger dishes each enriched with nourishing ingredients. Commencing with a tasty awakening elixir, we feasted on a delicious beetroot and quinoa salad with seasonal leaves and grilled goat’s cheese, and spiced shredded lamb with flat bread tzatziki and Greek salad washed down with Champagne and an exquisite chocolate cake to finish – a suitably sumptuous finish to the dreamiest of days.GAIA IN A BOTTLE
Three years of careful research and development have been poured into creating the Gaia product range. In keeping with Gaia’s ethos of promoting natural wellness, each ingredient has been chosen for both its physical properties and psychological impact. The products fall into the categories ‘awaken’, ‘balance’ and ‘calm’. Created using traditional artisan methods in Devon, the range is packed with natural and nourishing ingredients, balancing delicious scents with nurturing, therapeutic benefits.
Copyright Wed magazine 2016