Brighton Food Reviewer, Emma Pryke, December 2016
Just the tonic for two weary pals
There are certain times in life when you seriously deserve a bit of RnR. Having a baby is most certainly one of those times, and whilst it wasn’t me getting to grips with the highs and lows of motherhood, one of my best pals, Brittany is a new mum and I thought I’d take her along with me to the new Harbour Hotel for a spa and afternoon tea.
Gold star for me right?
With my brownie points sufficiently topped up we headed to the seafront on a overcast December afternoon. The warm lighting drew us like a beacon through the doors of the hotel, where we were greeted warmly at reception and taken down to the spa which is located in the basement. Looking around us, things were certainly taking a turn for the better and we shrugged off our winter layers and settled in for what was going to be a relaxing afternoon.
A secret I’d like to keep to myself
The spa is brand spanking new and such a haven from the bustling Brighton streets I almost don’t want to tell anyone else about it, but it would be mean not to share the wealth of secret spa knowledge – it is the season of goodwill after all.
The wet facilities (jacuzzi, sauna and swimming pool) have yet to be installed and are planned for early 2017 but they currently have three treatment rooms, a gym and changing room, equipped with White Company products and the most delicious rainforest showers.
Your local gym this is not.
We padded through to the treatment rooms ready for our ESPA holistic back, face and scalp massage. This was to last a glorious 85 minutes.
Relax in luxurious surroundings
I don’t profess to be an expert in spa experiences, and after a few fairly aggressive Vietnamese massages on holiday am ready for anything, but this was by far the most amazing treatment I have ever experienced. The room was clean, warm and inviting, with plenty of candles burning and dim lighting.
My therapist took me through the treatment and asked what my usual routine was. Once we’d agreed I should probably put a little more effort in than a face wipe before bed, she did a quick face scan to show up what my skin was like under a UV light. Aside from a bit of dehydration around the eye area (probably wine related) things didn’t look too shabby and she tailored my facial around hydration and cleansing.
There are lots of adjectives I could use for the treatment but I’ll cut to the chase – utter bliss. After having my back scrubbed and massaged I had a facial and then a scalp massage. At some point through the process I had a little doze which I imagine only means good things!
After our treatments we spent about an hour soaking ourselves in the shower and enjoying the white robes before heading up for our afternoon tea, rejuvenated and hungry for cake.
The perfect festive snug
We needn’t have worried – cake is in no short supply at the Jetty Restaurant which is joined to the hotel along with the HarBAR – which I’m told does a cracking cocktail. The afternoon tea is held in the snug area which to our delight was decorated for Christmas, all twinkly lights and a festive fire burning.
The afternoon tea has a few quirky twists on the classics, including not only buttermilk scones but cheese scones with bacon jam – a big thumbs up from us.
Homemade sweet and savoury nibbles
The glass of proper champagne was a lovely touch and added a sense of occasion, and the homemade chocolate and blackberry gateau and winter berry trifle were exquisite. The menu changes in line with seasons and occasions, so we had the addition of a turkey and cranberry sandwich and warm mini mince pies for a festive flavour.
They offer an impressive selection of Tea Pigs tea and herbal infusions – the perfect complement to our sweet treats.
I enjoyed the afternoon tea so much that I booked in for the week after and was impressed that when I questioned the options for vegans and gluten free customers they were more than happy to have the Chefs knock up something suitable as long as customers allow a days notice.
The Hotel is currently offering a variety of spa packages which include an afternoon tea at The Jetty and overnight stays. Their wet facilities are due to open in early 2017 and include a jacuzzi, sauna and swimming pool.
I’ve already booked in for February so I’ll race you to the jacuzzi!