Thermae Bath Spa
Have you ever wanted a luxurious little oasis, away from the hubbub, just take a day to relax and rejuvenate? Then what you’re looking for is Thermae Bath Spa.
Tucked down a side street from the main thoroughfare you can find a multi-story, multi-functional, temple to feeling good. Unique in the United Kingdom, the water from the springs in Bath are naturally heated, resulting in a bathing experience of about 34 degrees centigrade (93 Fahrenheit) in mineral rich waters.
The restoration of the spa was completed in 2006 and the actual thermal waters feed all four of the baths– including the rooftop pool. We were so lucky to be invited to see and experience Thermae Bath Spa, we had an amazing day and would just like to thank the organisers and the fantastic staff we experienced on the day.
Disclaimer: we received a free day at Thermae Bath Spa including our lunch and my massage in exchange for our consideration. This review reflects our honest views and experience at the Thermae Bath Spa. This article may contain affiliate links – read more about this here.
The Reception and Change Rooms
The lobby is a beautiful indication of the experience you’re about to have, complete with a water feature and great aesthetics. Get given your wristband (more on these later) and scan your way in. Here you will be handed your spa pack – flip flops, towel and robe – and head up the stairs to the change rooms.
The change rooms are great in my opinion. They are very functional as well as a clever design. You choose one, shut the door and get changed, then you pull a little lever and step through to the lockers. These are brilliantly functional too – choose an empty one and close it, then you see a central panel that you touch your wristband to which locks the door!
Now remember, there are no phones or cameras in the facilities for privacy and to protect your stuff, so make sure you leave them safely in the locker.
Roof Top Pool
Taking the lift up to the top floor and stepping out to the combination of a gorgeous pool and the incredible Bath skyline – it’s a winning combination no matter how you look at it. To the side there are designated spaces for you to store your things, so fold up your robe and towel and choose a square.
I love the outdoor thermal waters because the effect of sinking down into the warmth of the water contrasted with the chill of the air against your skin is amazing. You can sit back and just take in the beauty of your surroundings, or pop over to the Jacuzzi style corner and take a seat with the bubbles!
If you’re visiting in the middle of the day I would definitely suggest slipping some sunglasses into your robe pocket before you leave the change rooms because it can be very bright up there!
Thermae Bath Spa offers a Twilight Package, and it is totally on my list! You get a three hour spa session, choice of a dish from the menu in the restaurant, and a glass of wine, lager, juice, or water. This is an awesome deal – plus you get to chill out in the rooftop pool as the sun goes down, the light changes, and the city lights up.
Heading down now to the Minerva Bath, named for the Roman goddess of health and wisdom, it is the largest of the options at Thermae Bath Spa. The place is curvy and flowing, broken up by the columns which evoke a very modern Classical architectural feel.
There is a range of things you can try here but my favourite was the lazy river! Underwater currents guide you around one of the curves in the pool and you end up perfectly situated to go in and enjoy the Jacuzzi style island! There is ample space to chill out on the side, as well as handy hooks on the walls so you don’t lose your robe!
The Cross Bath
This is an oasis within an oasis, the smaller open air thermal bath is located just across from the main building. This is an amazing private bath that you can hire out for yourself or groups of up to ten people. You can also book a package which includes a choice of wines, prosecco and champagne – sounds perfect for a girls day to me!
This is a particularly cool site thanks to its historical story. It is called cross bath because there was at one point a cross marking the site and it is a recognised sacred site – you can even see the thermal water emerging from a gorgeous commissioned font.
The Wellness Suite
This floor of Thermae Bath Spa is dedicated to the experience. Steam, and showers, and ice! I loved the idea of being able to move from one to the other and have a different experience in each one.
This was the first thing we tried, basically it is a selection of different types of showers with accompanying lights in different colours. The first waterfall shower as you walk in is cold water – so pay attention to the little blue or red circles – I didn’t and I got a bit of a chilly surprise! I like that they aren’t running constantly, they work on sensors and start when you’re under them– no water wastage! The waterfall showers are very cool but my favourite was the wall mounted multi head shower. You turn your back on this and this is almost like a massage thanks to the pressure of the water, unfortunately only one of these was working on the day we visited. I went back a few times when the suite wasn’t so busy because I LOVED it!!
The Roman Steam Room
Roman style benches, a beautifully recreated mosaic of Minerva from the Roman Baths, and a well-chosen botanical scent in the air. The Roman Steam Room was the first we went to and I really liked the bench style seating because it was low, so it stayed fairly cool – therefore you got a nice little contrast with the warm steam and the cool stone. I quite liked the botanical scent in there but my partner wasn’t so keen on it, but he’s not one for scented anything!
The Georgian Steam Room
While I am a classical history nerd so my immediate thought was that I would automatically like The Roman Steam Room more than the Georgian one …. I was wrong. Being the first ones to enter the Georgian Steam Room, a lot of steam has built up. It was very funny to walk towards the door and realise that someone had joined us at some point but the steam was so thick we hadn’t seen them walk in!
I absolutely adored the way everything in The Georgian Steam Room came together. The structured seats and armrests, the light and airy feel, and in particular the décor. The windows represented in The Georgian Steam Room are actually views from a garden in Bath, what you’re looking at in the Steam Room isn’t an artist imagining what a Georgian garden might look like – it is what a gorgeous Georgian garden looks like. That is the kind of extra detail that I love about Thermae Bath Spa.
If you’re not a fan of heavy steam then the Infrared Room is for you. It is a more gentle heat and perhaps if you’re new to saunas and spas this could be a great place to start. This makes you feel warm, without the immediate temperature change. It was also a nice change from the steam rooms, before taking a plunge into my absolute favourite part of the Wellness Suite…
Head in from the warm rooms into the mist, mint infused, Ice Chamber. Put your hands into the fresh ice and use it too cool your body temperature down. It is the best, weirdest, coldest experience. My partner really didn’t like it so much but I loved it – I went back to this so many times I must have looked obsessed!
Celestial Relaxation Room
Now this was an interesting room to relax in – the heated mosaic style beds were a nice surprise. Reflective, relaxing, and celestial. The room is blacked out with a great lights show and a decently sized screen showing impressive celestial footage. It is a great place to chill out, and I really liked the contrast it gave to the other elements of the Wellness Suite.
This was a delightful experience, I am not mad about massages so they really have to be good for me to enjoy them! You get given a treatment card when you check in at the front desk with the location and the time of your booking. When you arrive you fill out an assessment to tell your therapist how you’ve been feeling, what your skin is like, and if you have any injuries.
Go with your therapist into the room where they sit with you and find the right scent for you, and run thought what you’re expecting from the massage. I was really impressed with how well thought out everything was, you never feel rushed or under pressure and that results in a really nice trust in your massage therapist.
I chose a refreshing and sharp scent for the massage as that’s my favourite, this massage lasted for 50 minutes which was just about perfect for me. What I found most impressive was the adaptability of the therapist and of the equipment. I have an issue with my lower back, but this was completely handled by the therapist who adjusted the bed to raise up under my knees for support which took the pressure off!
After the massage was finished, I was given a fresh towel and robe and shown into the relaxation room where I got to choose from a selection of teas and sit for a while before going back out into the main spa area for lunch.
Overall the experience was lovely, the therapist knowledgeable, and I felt so relaxed coming out of there I would definitely recommend getting a treatment on your visit.
There are so many other treatments available from massages to facials to things id never heard of before!
I’m not even going to try to list them all BUT here is my list of ones I really want to try in the future!
The Georgian Rose Trilogy: a scrub, a wrap, a facial and a head massage – sounds PERFECT
Deep Tissue Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Revive Vichey Experience, a Tailor-made Facial, and a Watsu treatment.
What’s Vichy? What’s Watsu?
I didn’t know either.
Vichy is such a cool idea, the Vichy Rainforest Shower uses sounds, light, and water pressure to create an experience which is ultimately relaxing. You lay down on the treatment table, and several shower heads are positioned along your body to stimulate and soothe.
Watsu is a water massage, which sounds a bit odd to begin with but when you think about it it’s perfect. A trained therapist supports, guides, and stretches you while you float in the thermal water. It combines shiatsu with acupressure and honestly I think it sounds amazing, but I absolutely love to float in water so maybe I’m just the perfect candidate for it!
The Springs Café Restaurant
The café restaurant at Thermae Bath Spa is a very nice space, well decorated and full of light. You have an option of light sandwiches as well as café fare – tea or coffee, cakes and pastries all day. After 12 noon the hot menu kicks in and there is a really nice selection of food. When you’re done eating the staff will help you tally up at the till and scan your wristband, then you just pay at reception when you leave.
My partner had the Grilled Gammon with vegetables, mash potato and honey mustard sauce.
I really enjoyed the bites I had of this. Gammon can be so overly salty that I don’t often order it. This however was perfectly cooked and excellently paired with the slightly sweet honey mustard sauce. He liked it as well and said that he would definitely order it again.
I had the Twice Cooked Pork Belly. I have eaten a lot of pork belly in my life, my father was seemingly obsessed with them when I was a kid, I have had pork belly so many times I cannot count. I give you this odd history of my pork belly eating habits simply to show you that I know what I’m talking about
This was fantastic. Top 3. Easily.
It was perfectly rendered down, tasty, tender – it just fell apart under the fork. It was seasoned perfectly and was absolutely delicious. The accompanying vegetables were well cooked, and I loved the sour cherry sauce.
Both the mains were of excellent size, I almost couldn’t finish my serving as it was so generous – no tiny towers of nibbles here!
However full I was from the main there was no way I was missing dessert after I saw a Baileys Panna cotta with an Espresso Jelly on the menu.
This alone would bring me back to the restaurant. If there had been a sudden need to evacuate the building I probably would have carried this panna cotta with me. We shared this dessert and he felt the same way I did, which led to a bit of a staring contest when we got to the middle point and we were competing for remaining bites.
The espresso jelly was tasty, I would have preferred it to be a lot stronger – I think you’re going to do a coffee flavoured something you should make it coffee flavoured but I’m a strong coffee fan – he thought it was coffee enough!
The Service and Staff
From beginning to end we had nothing but impeccable service from every staff member we encountered. They were nothing but helpful, and the staff in the treatment room where I went for my massage in particular were wonderful.
I’m picky [very picky] when it comes to cleanliness. I didn’t have an issue once at Thermae Bath Spa. Everything was immaculate, there was not one place where I felt uncomfortable to touch the surfaces. The flip flops were sturdy and new, not those thin annoying things that fold open which some places give you.
There were a few little things that we noticed, while the whole place was very clean there were some signs of wear and tear. For example the base of one of the doors leading from the showers showed signs of rusting and there were occasional marks on the walls. Everything else though was fabulously well kept, the towels and robes were soft and felt freshly laundered.
Overall we has a great time. The wristbands were amazing. We loved that they were water proof so you were able to wear them in the baths and we didn’t have to worry about losing a key card.
I wanted to make a real point to bring this up because I was so incredibly impressed – every part of Thermae Bath Spa is accessible to those with mobility restrictions or in a wheelchair. Every one of the baths has a stable motorized chair to lower a person in should they require it. Every step into the baths is treated for grip, with solid hand rails. At every immersion point there are pool noodles for those who want or need them to help them float. Additionally the beds in the massage therapy rooms are fully mechanical so they can be lowered, raised, and positioned for anyone’s requirements.
This may just be tied into how historically therapeutic the thermal waters are, for so many centuries people came to places like Bath Spa to heal themselves. Regardless, it shows the open thinking and attention to detail that I’ve come to expect of Thermae Bath Spa.
Would we go back?
If I type “yes” consecutively for a paragraph I will look insane, so just imagine I have done that. We had such an amazing time and a beautiful lunch – this is absolutely on our list for whenever we are in Bath!
Biggest tip, get there early! Whilst it’s never overwhelming the baths do fill up as the day goes on. If you’re first in the door you’ll likely get the roof top pool or the Minerva baths to yourself for a bit.
Obviously the restaurant gets busy at lunch time so be there at noon sharp to make sure you get a table if you really need to eat at midday – but the Thermae Bath Spa restaurant is open all day and into the evening