Friday 7 January 2022

Review: Spa Day at Ashford International Hotel, Kent

Review of a day spa at the Ashford International Hotel, Kent, booked via Red Letter Days.

Back in November a friend and I spent the day at the spa at the Ashford International Hotel (it was a weekday, term-time visit). It wasn't somewhere either of us had been to before but with a 4-star rating, I was hopeful for a good experience. In truth, my expectations weren't too high as I know I'm pretty fussy and the day had only cost me  £87 for two of us to have the spa day with lunch and 50 minutes of treatments. So at, £43.50 each it was a real bargain, having bought it on Red Letter Days with one of their excellent discounts (definitely sign up for their mailing list, where you often get offered 10 - 25% off their deals).

Booking and Before the Day

The voucher was easy enough to buy from Red Letter Days and I had to call Q Hotels central reservations to make the booking, which was fine but I found it a bit odd that they didn't email or send a confirmation. They just gave me a booking number and apparently, this is all they do.

Once I'd booked I had a few questions to ask about the robes, lunch and treatments but the customer service was pretty awful. It took me around two weeks to actually get to speak to someone at the hotel spa. When I did, Liberty was very pleasant and helpful, but I didn't like having to chase for answers when my questions were so simple.

Arrival at the Hotel

The hotel was easy to find and there was plenty of parking available. There is a direct entrance by the spa and I'd arranged to meet my friend in the hotel lounge, so I just wandered through. The lounge and public areas are really nice, very well set-out to allow for private space and we had a very enjoyable coffee before going through to the spa. Although it was a pricey coffee at £3.85 for a regular cappuccino, so lucky it was good. 

Upon entering the spa we were greeted and the staff were friendly enough, booking our table for lunch and asking us to pre-order. They also gave us robes and towels but there was only one size available with the robes and as a plus-size woman (UK size 22/24) it didn't fit me and would have been embarrassing, so I didn't take mine. It is always such a shame when spas don't have an extra-large fit robe. Thankfully I prepare for this and take my own robe. I had been told in advance that they were out of slippers currently so we took flip flops with us and that was fine.

The spa reception area looked a bit messy and it certainly didn't feel as if it was a luxury area, but it wasn't a particular issue for us.

The Spa - Changing Areas

We headed downstairs to the changing areas and found these to be perfectly adequate, they were clean and there were lockers available. You could set your own locker code, so you didn't have to worry about keys or such. The area is shared for guests of the pool, spa and gym and it wouldn't be big enough on a busy day, so we were lucky it appeared quiet at the times we were there. 

We used the showers after our swim and the water was lovely and hot and the shower head powerful, so I was very happy with that.

The Spa - Treatments and Relaxation Room

On our spa day, we had a 50-minute treatment each and we could choose from a list of six ritual spas. These normally retail for £66 alone, so again showing what great value our day was. The treatments available to choose from are -
  • Revitalising ritual with ELEMIS - full-body exfoliation followed by a back massage
  • Rebalancing ritual with ELEMIS - personalised facial scalp massage and foot massage
  • Fit for business back ritual with ELEMIS - back cleanse, exfoliation and deep back massage and a purifying back mask, followed by leg and foot massage.
  • Relaxing face and back ritual with ELEMIS- exfoliation and relaxing Deep Tissue back massage, with a face and scalp massage
  • GELeration hand or foot Spa ritual - hand or foot and leg treatment with manicure, massage and gel polish
I went for the rebalancing ritual as I love ELEMIS facials and my friend went for the revitalising and we were both pleased with our treatments. The therapists were friendly and caring and appeared to know what they were doing. 

Down near the treatment rooms was a relaxation room and it was very nice. There were around ten beds in it which were comfy and you could help yourself to water. The lights were low and the ambience generally felt good, it was just a shame at times that when there were other people in the room they didn't understand that it was a relaxation zone and thus not somewhere to watch Tik Tok videos together and roar with laughter. 

For nearly an hour, my friend and I had the room to ourselves and we had a lovely chat without disturbing anyone else. 

Health Club Facilities

There is a 20m heated indoor pool which was very nice, as well as a sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, experience shower (which was out of action on the day we visited) and 2 heated loungers by the pool. We really enjoyed our time in the steam room and there was ice available if you wanted to grab a handful to take in with you.

The jacuzzi was nice but it was tiny and felt crowded with three people in it, so we were lucky it appeared to be a quiet day when we visited and this allowed us to have a good natter in there without anyone else joining us.

We didn't use the gym whilst we were there as our day was about relaxation rather than exercise, but I see the gym has just had a major overhaul in December 2021 and it looks really good now with Life Fitness cardio and free weights equipment. You can have a look at a video on their Instagram page to see the facilities. There is also studio space for classes which you can enjoy.

Lunch in the Restaurant

I checked at the spa reception and they said most people went through in their robes for lunch, which is what I had hoped as it means the day doesn't feel cut in two by getting dressed. However, it turned out we were the only ones in our robes but we felt OK as the back part of the restaurant just appeared to be being used for spa guests and the front part for the regular hotel guests or day visitors.

We had to book our table and pre-order our lunch when we arrived at the spa but the restaurant felt a bit disorganised, as they didn't have our order right. However, it didn't deter us from enjoying our food very much.

You are served your plum tomato and basil soup, whatever main course you choose (Chicken Caesar salad/ Spiced freekeh grain and cauliflower salad/ Pepperoni pizza) and mixed fruit and berry pot all at once, which seems a little odd but it worked OK for us. I know some people didn't like it. The food was of excellent quality and we really enjoyed it.

You could, order extras like chips or salad to go along with your lunch and these are an extra £3.50 or there is dessert available from £3.00. There was also soft and alcoholic drinks available to purchase if you wanted a little something extra but we were happy with the bottle of water put on the table for us.

I thought it was quite a nice idea that you could change your inclusive lunch for full afternoon tea if you liked but this attracted a supplement of £9.00 per person or £14.00 with a glass of fizz.


My friend and I had a great day and for the money, we paid it was superb value. I think we were lucky it was a quiet day with not too many people using the facilities. Plus points were definitely the price, quality of the treatments and the lunch. Points for improvement would be the before arrival customer service, size of the jacuzzi and having larger robes available. 

You can check out other reviews from people who have used the Spa at the Ashford International Hotel on Tripadvisor and they are certainly mixed. They only have 3.5 as an overall score, as it seems people either love it or hate it. 

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Review of a day spa at the Ashford International Hotel, Kent, booked via Red Letter Days.

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