Blissed out at the Midland

Blissed out at the Midland

A spa day in Manchester
By:
Amanda Z
They don’t make them like the Midland Hotel any more. Up, up, up it goes, like the great stone edifice in Gormenghast, a vast and lasting Edwardian paean to a proud city’s industrialism and endeavor.
 
And thank goodness a building described as a ‘Twentieth Century palace” on its opening in 1903 has stayed the course. Both for Manchester, for those of us who love upstanding stone landmarks, and of course for the weary ones whose eyelids are drooping and heavy.
 
That’s not to say that the Midland is necessarily a great hotel. While a favourite of the producers of TV shows (Hello, Cold Feet!), it could do with a good sprucing-up. But we are not here to talk about the bedrooms or the range of unguents they may (or may not) contain. No, we are here to talk about the spa.
 
For this is really something. The Midland’s spa, set in the basement of the great building itself, on Peter Street in the heart of Manchester, is a wonder to behold. Entering on a quiet weekday morning, I felt a slow trickle of dread as in my mind I matched the main lobby – magnificent in its ancien regime solidity, yet creaky and old and a little drafty – with how I envisioned the spa downstairs.
 
I was tired, having just flown in from Shanghai. Jet lag, a lingering cold, and long hours at the office, had left me a little out-of-sorts. I needed a good spa morning, professional treatments that left me blissed out.
 
And that’s exactly what I found downstairs. To my blessed surprise, I found one of the best spa environments it has been my pleasure to encounter and enjoy in a long time. Inside, the spa is a better world than the colder one I left outside, all gentle lighting, plush carpets, and thick doors that soften voices to whispers. When I see the décor is instant-plush-spa, my whole body relaxes ten notches. I know I’m going to be fine – and more than that, happy – when I leave.  
 
I’m met at the reception by a lovely girl who hands me a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, which contain a range of music channels that accompany you through the spa experience. The locker room is another joy to behold, big and spacious, with wicked rainfall showers and a great range of ESPA’s luxury lotions and potions. I towel down, feeling my body relax, then I’m ushered into the equally lovely upscale treatment rooms where, joy of joys, I find that the massage table is heated.
 
The therapist was another revelation. Quiet and softly spoken, she listened to my laments, taking in my needs (jetlag-muscles-soothing-destress) and translating it into the ideal treatment. She spent a long time on one of my aching shoulders, and got to all the right pressure points. It was like having a genuine, bespoke spa treatment, and I cannot speak highly enough about my masseuse. She was tuned in exactly to my needs – and that is a rare thing in this industry.
 
After my massage I was led, rosy and glowing like a newly born lamb, into the after-massage room, with its high ceilings and gently swaying bucket-seat swings, whereupon I immersed myself in a good (bad) glossy magazine, sipped a tall glass of water, and just relaxed, enjoying the moment, work and real life temporarily left behind. There was a pool to swim in, so I took in a few short laps before winding things up with a sauna and a steam.
 
And then I did lunch at the Midland. Nothing fancy, just a nice salad and some tasty finger sandwiches. But it was ideal. And then it was on out into the glare of the Manchester day. It was still cold and the wind still stung my fingers, but now I didn’t care. I was off shopping after one of the best spa treatments in many a month. Everything was good and right in the world again.
 
The Spa at the Midland - Visit the Website
Peter Street, Manchester, M60 2DS
Tel: 0161 932 4086

 

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