As I continue with this challenge of visiting and reviewing all the spas in Wales, I have begun to recognise what makes a good spa experience. Initially I thought it was the variety of facilities on offer such as plunge pool, ice room, etc or perhaps the plushness of the relaxation rooms but now I consider a good spa based on the following factors: customer service, tranquillity and finally value for money. It is those factors alone which make or break a spa day for me. Which leads me onto the review of Nant DDu Lodge and Spa as this one firmly sits at the top of must visit spas in Wales.
Situated only a short distance from Pen Y Fan, the highest mountain in South Wales, you could extend your visit to include an overnight stay affording you the time to explore the Brecon Beacons. The hotel grounds blend seamlessly with the surrounding national park and whilst only 35 minutes from Cardiff it feels like a world away. Get here early, regardless of your treatment time, and you can take advantage of the sunbeds next to the indoor swimming pool. Once a towel has been placed on a bed though the guest has nabbed it for the day. If you’re not fast enough there are chairs, but these aren’t as comfortable or as relaxing. Fortunately for us we arrived at 9am and placed our towels firmly on the beds next to the patio window for a view of the gardens. With the sun pouring in on us throughout the day we dosed in the winter warmth. There is a small relaxation room although we chose not to use it.
In between reading my book and dosing I took a turn in the indoor pool, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi. The silence is palpable as my co guests are pretty much doing the same thing. I don’t know about you but when I have a spa day I begrudge having to share facilities with children. Balls being thrown across the pool from one family member to another not to mention the shrieks and crying of distressed infants. No! If I’m paying to relax then take me to a pool where only adults are swimming. And this is why Nant DDu Lodge and Spa makes me happy. Being a hotel which draws adult customers through its doors means there’s less chance of children hogging the pool. For the first hour of our arrival no one was in the pool. It was still and as I swam, the steady smooth rhythmic motion combined with the absence of noise lulled me into a blissful meditative state.
I took that calmness into the treatment room where I was warmly welcomed by my therapist, Charlotte. This down to earth lady is one of the many team members who have been working together for years. They are knowledgeable and confident in their abilities meaning that they can easily tailor a treatment to suit your needs. I had a full body massage whilst my mum had the Black Mountain Therapy: both treatments were spot on.
Lunch was served in the conservatory and guests are able to eat in their robes. The menu is good hearty pub food and plenty of it. We chose the fish, chips with minted peas which was delicious, especially the minted peas. It is so good I’ll be calling in for food the next time I walk up Pen Y Fan.
The spa meets the mark for tranquillity and customer service target but what about value for money? At the time of publication, a Pamper Me spa day which included a 50-minute treatment; 6 hours use of the facilities; robe, towel and slipper hire; and a £10 allowance towards lunch in the restaurant; was priced at £59. Certainly, one of the cheapest spa days available.
In summary, this spa has risen to the top of my Best Welsh Spas In Wales list so far. I loved the friendliness of the staff and the sense of peace. Compared to other spas in the area it is also surprisingly one of the cheapest. They are undoubtedly undervaluing their service so enjoy it before they put the price up to meet their competitors.