As I drive up to The Malvern Spa I assume that my SatNav has brought me to the wrong place. I’ve been to a fair few spas in my time, and all of them have been either in country house hotels, or on the coast or in swish city centre locations – apart from the spa which I went to with my daughter on board a cruise ship (you can read her review of that particular spa here). But The Malvern is different from all of those. It’s a modern building and sits unexpectedly on the edge of a kind of retail park, next to a Premier Inn and quite close to a Morrisons supermarket. I’ve been invited to stay here and publish a review, and for a moment I worry about what I’ve let myself in for. But I soon discover that I’ve come to the right place, and that there’s a very good reason for its surprising location.
The spa is in Great Malvern, an English spa town in Worcestershire where Victorians once flocked to take the fashionable ‘water cure’. Using natural spring water from the nearby Malvern Hills, patients (including people such as Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens and Florence Nightingale) took part in a regime of brisk walks, cold baths, being wrapped in wet sheets, and other uncomfortable experiences, in order to improve their health. The Malvern Spa was built in 2008 and is located next to a bore hole in order to access this natural spring water.
The Malvern Spa
Once inside The Malvern, all is wonderfully tranquil, relaxing and spa-like. The building is modern, light and airy. The staff are friendly, helpful and welcoming, in an unobtrusive way. There’s a hotel, a restaurant, a health club and of course a spa, and it’s all for adults only.
After a quick tour with my fellow bloggers (five of us are here), we go to the restaurant for my favourite kind of lunch: afternoon tea. In case you don’t know, afternoon tea is a very English marvel which consists of tea (obviously), sandwiches, cakes and, ideally, scones with jam and cream. We have The Malvern Full Afternoon Tea which comes with all of these, includes the option of veggie sandwiches, and is served with a glass of cava.
It’s excellent, and I definitely recommend it – if I lived nearer I think I’d be a regular afternoon tea customer at The Malvern!
I’m in a twin room on the second floor and it’s very swish and well-equipped. The decor is modern and the room has everything that I need and would expect in a decent hotel. The beds are comfortable, there’s a pillow menu, tea & coffee making things, a hairdryer, air-con, a TV and a safe. There’s free wifi for guests throughout the building. The towels are white, thick and plentiful and there are towelling robes on the beds. My only small gripes are that the safe is too small to store a laptop (mine’s a 13-inch) and the toiletries look cheap – I’d expect high-quality branded toiletries in this kind of place.
I change into my swimsuit and towelling robe and head downstairs to the spa with my fellow bloggers. We spend an enjoyable afternoon trying out the various relaxing steam rooms and saunas and the excellent indoor-outdoor hydrotherapy pool. The pool is heated to a cosy 35°c and is filled with Malvern spring water. The indoor section of the pool is surrounded by comfortable and plentiful loungers. The outside section is in a peaceful, sheltered enclosed area and the two parts of the pool are connected by an opening in the exterior wall of the spa, which you can walk or swim through. The pool has various areas with water jets, bubbles and hydrotherapy beds and is a very enjoyable and relaxing place to be.
We have dinner and breakfast in the Malvern Restaurant. The atmosphere is relaxed – many guests wear their towelling robes to the restaurant, and you feel as if you can spend as much time as you like in there, even once you’ve finished eating. The restaurant opens directly to a bar area with sofas and low tables, beyond which is the spa reception and a beautiful, airy lounge area, complete with olive trees and chaises-longues.
The food in the restaurant is good. For dinner I start with a parmesan and rocket salad, followed by baked beef tomato with ratatouille, mozzarella and wilted spinach. Although it’s tasty, the tomato dish is quite a small portion for a main course, so I order chips to go with it.
Next morning there’s a breakfast buffet of the usual cereals, toast, fruit and juice, as well as a menu of hot dishes to choose from. I opt for smoked salmon and scrambled egg on toast, and it’s good.
The spa offers a range of health and beauty treatments and I decide that I can’t leave without experiencing one of them. So after breakfast I go to the spa and have a 30-minute hot stone massage. The therapist uses smooth heated stones and oils to massage my back and it feels wonderful.
I really enjoyed staying at The Malvern Spa and would definitely recommend it. The spa facilities, food, accommodation and service are very good. The indoor-outdoor heated pool, the afternoon tea and the hot stone massage were my highlights. The location surprised me until I found out that it was chosen because of the natural spring water. I think that The Malvern Spa offers good value – a one-night spa break for two people, including dinner, bed, breakfast and an hour’s treatment per person, costs from £294 (at the time of writing). The Malvern Full Afternoon Tea costs £14.95 per person plus £4.95 for a glass of cava.
Over to you
Do let me know if you have any questions about The Malvern. Do you think that you’d like to stay there? Or maybe you’ve been already – if so, what did you think?
Disclosure: The Malvern Spa hosted me for one night for the purposes of this review. All opinions, words and images are mine, as ever.