With a looming deadline and the GO Belfast Awards just a matter of weeks away, it was with great delight that I accepted an invitation to treat myself to a bit of R ‘n’ R at The Spa at The Merchant Hotel. When the landmark hotel unveiled its £16million New Chapter in the summer, The Spa was the feature I was most excited about. The first full hotel spa in the city centre, its long awaited opening spells the arrival of a new luxury haven in the heart of Belfast.
Stepping down the spiral staircase from the spa reception off Skipper Street, I instantly felt the worries of the day melt away. After a painless consultation, I was shown to the dressing rooms where a luxurious fluffy robe and slippers were waiting, and invited to take a seat on the chaise long outside the treatment rooms at my leisure, where an invigorating cup of herbal tea, served in china would await me.
Wrapped in my fluffy robe and sipping on the tea, I let my mind drift off with the tranquil music. I was then greeted by my friendly therapist, Emma, who guided me into the treatment room. Simply stunning, each room has been planned to achieve the ultimate in relaxation, with therapeutic lighting in calming blue hues contrasted by the warm welcome of the cosy, carefully controlled temperature.
Putting me at ease, Emma explained my chosen treatment – the Hot Lava Shell Full Body Massage. Exclusive to The Merchant, the novel massage therapy uses clamshells from the Philippines, which are heated to produce a sustained heat that penetrates three times further into the muscles than ordinary massage.
After a truly tranquil foot scrub, Emma began the massage, starting with my arms, before moving to my legs, shoulders and back. Shocked by the knots that had formed, particularly in my calves and shoulders, I soon began to realise that ‘me time’ is often underrated. Relaxing into the experience, I felt the stress and tension dissolve with the therapeutic heat of the shells sinking through my skin into the muscles. After a full 55 minutes, I felt utterly relaxed; a flashback of the limber Mr Soft from the Softmint ad of yore came to mind, as I realised this is what it feels like to not to be addled with muscle tension.
After the treatment, I was invited to move onto the Relaxation Room, where I was served fresh fruit and water and left to enjoy some quiet time for as long as desired.
In keeping with The Merchant’s five star rating, the service and the facilities at The Spa are second to none. Every minute detail has been considered; from the incredible hydrotherapy pool, rock sauna and aroma steam room to the fabulous drench showers complete with luxury organic Sodashi toiletries and the salon strength hairdryers and GHDs that sit in front of an immaculately lit mirror in the dressing rooms – this is unbridled luxury at its best.
The Hot Lava Shell Full Body Massage costs £70 Sunday to Thursday or £85 Friday & Saturday.
Contact: The Spa at The Merchant Hotel, 16 Skipper Street, Belfast
Tel: 028 9026 2712 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org