Sunday 17 February 2019

Review of our Day Spa at Bannatynes, Hastings, East Sussex

Exterior of Bannatynes Hastings
Image Credit

I wanted to get my husband something different for Christmas, he’s the kind of guy who never wants anything and doesn’t appreciate people spending money for the sake of it. So I decided that I’d book for us to do something together and enjoy a day or a night out. We often go to the cinema, out for a meal or enjoy the theatre. I’d already bought us some comedy gig tickets with money from his Grandma, so I was racking my brains for something different.

As I was browsing a marketing email from Wowcher, I saw loads of great deals for spa days and I thought that might just be perfect. He works hard and his job can be stressful, so I figured a massage might be just the ticket. Without telling him why, I got him to take a day off in January and I booked for our local Bannatynes in Hastings, East Sussex.

I’d definitely recommend checking out both Wowcher and Groupon if you want to book a Bannatynes spa day for two as they have some great deals. There were a few different options I could have booked, starting from £69 for two people, but I wanted the option with the most treatment time, so I spent £95 for the two of us to have 4 mini treatments each (55 minutes of treatment time), and full use of the spa, leisure facilities, gym and classes.

To be honest we only spent a half day there, as we headed off to enjoy a late lunch elsewhere, but I’d definitely go back and would spend more time next time. I wanted to share my experience with you, so if you book, you’ll know what to expect.

Spa reception area, Bannatynes Hastings
Spa reception - Image credit

Using the Voucher
This was really easy, there’s a link from the Wowcher site to Bannatynes for booking with a voucher and I just had to input some details and choose the date of my choice. I got a confirmation through and forgot about it until the week before we were due to go.

Then the week before I called to find out about arrival and borrowing robes etc. A friend told me you could hire a bag with robe, towel and flip flops for £15 and £9 would be refunded to you when you return it, but I wanted to check if they had large robes. I called and spoke to a very sweet girl, but it was evident she was new as she had no idea how to answer any of my questions, and I had quite a few. She was polite but had to put me on hold constantly. Obviously, I realise people must learn, but in my opinion, it would have been better for her to listen in on an experienced person answering my queries.

I came off the phone not feeling convinced there would be a large robe and not really knowing what time I had to arrive, but I decided to chill and just go with the flow. So, I took my own towel, robe and flip flops on the day so I knew I’d feel comfortable.

Arrival at Bannatynes, Hastings
We arrived at about 10.05am and got what appeared to be the last space in the gym car park. I couldn’t believe how busy it was and were grateful we got the save we did. We headed in and it felt very chaotic on arrival, it was packed with loads of people checking in for spa days, guests with queries and gym members wanting to go through the barriers.

The first lady that spoke to us was quite frosty in her approach and didn’t really tell us anything, she just gave us a questionnaire and told us to sit in the busy bar and complete it, which we did. I took the questionnaires up to reception and overheard that there is no charge to borrow the bag with robe etc nowadays and as my husband didn’t have a towel with him, that was perfect for us. Without any cost we both borrowed a bag and were willing to give the robe size a go. I’m pleased to say that a large robe, really so large, I’m a size 24 and my husband a 3XL and we were both fine in them.

It was a shame for me that they were out of large flip-flops but the lady was apologetic and gave me a M and XL to try. She also gave us a locker key wristband and explained where things were and how the day would work. We had to keep hold of our questionnaire and head into the spa area.

Treatment room, Bannatynes Hastings
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The Spa
It is a completely different environment once you go through the magic spa doors. Goodbye to the overcrowding and noise, and hello to wonderful smells, dim lights and leather sofas. We had a short wait before one of the therapists showed us through to a dual therapy room and we were left to get ourselves into our swimwear and comfy under a blanket.

I was pleasantly surprised that my husband and I were having our treatments in the same room, as I hadn’t realised that would be the case, but it worked well. Our four mini treatments turned out to be a neck, shoulder and back massage, Swedish leg massage, revitalising facial and then scalp massage. They were each enjoyable in their own way and personally for me I loved the leg massage best as I have many issues with my calves and probably my least favourite was the scalp massage.

I hadn’t realised but this was my husband’s first relaxation massage and he really enjoyed it too. We both found our therapists to be skilled and respectful and would happily return again. I’ve had many massages and treatments before, and I found Emily to be as good as any of the best of them.

Sadly you can't go to the spa every day for a massage, but I'd sure like to and I have been looking at high-performance massage chairs to have at home, for a daily kickback. If you like the sound of that you can get one here

After our massage and securing our belongings in a locker we headed for the relaxation room, which has six warm stone beds. I really loved these and could have stayed lying on them reading my book for at least a couple of hours. My husband just chooses to lay back and relax and it was such a nice experience. There was plenty of cool water available if we wanted it and the other people in the room were quiet and added to the relaxed atmosphere. I think that at times six beds wouldn’t have been enough, as there were lots of couples using the day spa together and a couple of times people went to enter the room and found only one bed free, so they left again.

Relxation room, Bannatynes Hastings
Relaxation room - Image credit

The changing rooms
There are nice large changing rooms, with around four private cubicles and the rest being open space with benches and lockers. I loved the electronic locker system, it made things really easy and there is even a station to check your number if you happen to forget which locker you used.

I think there was about 8-10 showers and these all had good privacy and one for a very accessible wet room with support bars and such. When I used the locker room the showers were being thoroughly washed down by one of the staff, which was reassuring to see. There are around six seated stations, with a shelf, hairdryers and chairs to do your hair and make-up too.

Generally, I was very happy with the locker/ changing room and I’d happily use them again.

The Pool Area
Considering the whole complex felt quite busy, I didn’t find the pool area bad at all. There was around six other people swimming and a couple of lanes for those who are fast. I stayed I. The free swim area and jus5 took my time, relaxing between lengths. The temperature was very comfortable, and I loved the big accessible steps to enter the pool.

We both enjoyed the jacuzzi, as it is lovely and big, probably seating around twelve people comfortably. Everything i there was perfect, good mood lighting, temperature and intensity of the bubbles. Neither of us tried out the sauna but it looked roomy. I did use the steam room for a short period and there were only two other people in it, and I loved it. It was so good for my asthmatic chest. I also did a little reading up and 8 had no idea that both saunas and steam rooms are great for so many things like hydrating your skin, detoxification and muscle relaxation after a workout.

There are also two outside hot tubs, which seemed really popular but we didn't brave going out to those as it is January after all!

Pool, Bannatynes Hastings
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The Gym and Classes
On this occasion we didn’t use the gym facilities, but I definitely will when I go back. The gym is very big with loads of top of the range Technogym equipment, including everything you’d expect form a top-class gym. There is cardio and resistance equipment, as well as free weights and a stretching area.

We also didn’t use any of the classes, but I was amazed at the amount there were. Looking at the programme, there were around ten a day of all different types and intensities.

Gym Bannatynes, Hastings
Image Credit

Once you’re just inside the health club you come to the lounge/cafe area, which has a view of the pool. There is a large variety of seating, both casual sofa and chairs, and more upright chairs and tables for having a meal. When I return in the future, I’ll definitely have my lunch there, as they do a range of jacket potatoes with fillings and they smelt so good. There is a two-tier pricing structure, with cheaper prices being available for those who have a locker wristband.

I felt all the prices were reasonable and from memory if I wanted a tuna mayo jacket with salad and kaleslaw it would only have cost £4.05, which is a great price. I had a latte whilst I was there and it was made well, and was £2.10 for a large one, as well as a slice of cake, which was £2.90.

I also noticed there was a really good selection of breakfasts, light lunches and smoothies, all with healthy options available if you so wished.

In all we had a really good four hours at Bannatynes health club and spa in Hastings and we would both happily return there again. I can highly recommend the spa area as somewhere with skilled therapists and a nice calm atmosphere.

You do have to be prepared that the health club may be busy and it is not a spa in the same way that somewhere like champneys is, but it is far cheaper and thus if you’re looking for a full days activities without a crazy price tag, then it is probably perfect for you.

It’s great that the robes etc are now loaned without any charge and the food and drinks they are serving are a great price and looked good. I'm already searching for my next deal!

There are plenty of reviews on Trip Advisor, so have a look over there if you want some other opinions too. 

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