Vicky Smith pays her first visit to this award-winning day spa, and doesn’t want to leave
Arriving at Bali Health Lounge, I felt flustered. It had been one of those days where nothing goes to plan and my walk to Chinatown in the rain felt like an assault on the senses. I walked straight past the entrance (it’s quite discreet but we've since done a handy 'find us' video!) before finding the correct door, ascending the steps and fervently hoping ‘Manchester’s leading urban day spa’ would live up to the reviews.
As soon as I entered the tranquil tea lounge, to be greeted by a friendly receptionist, I realised I needn’t have worried. This place is gorgeous: a water feature tinkles softly in the corner, mood lighting casts a mellow glow and lacquer furniture and bamboo screens evoke an Indonesian island haven. Golden rain trees, wicker furniture and large ceramic pots add discreet outdoorsy touches and relaxing music plays undemandingly in the background.
The other two floors are just as lovely, from the rejuvenation pod lounge to the walnut manicure stations. For somewhere whose ethos is lasting wellness, it’s a fitting environment indeed.
Bali Health Lounge offers nail treatments, waxing and ELEMIS facials but its most famed speciality is massage: fans include everyone from Corrie stars to Olympic gold medallist Jade Jones MBE. The pioneering membership programme is based on the East Asian philosophy - backed up by clinical research - that regular massage has a multitude of health benefits, including stress reduction and pain relief, and the team are passionate about advising clients on their wellbeing.
Such is the dedication to quality treatments, all staff undergo an eighteen-month in-house training programme: the result being a clutch of spa awards and a legion of loyal customers.
Needless to say, I had high expectations for my massage. Options range from relaxing Swedish massage to hot stone and reflexology but all are tailored to the customer so one person’s experience may be different to another. With my usual problem of stress collecting in my neck and shoulders, I booked a deep tissue massage and was led upstairs to the third floor, where twelve jute treatment suites await - each kitted out with LED mood lighting and adjustable heated massage bed. Even the ceilings boast exceptional attention to detail, sunset vistas spangled with tiny ‘stars.’
I won’t lie, it was slightly painful - but any good deep tissue massage should be in places. My masseuse identified knots I didn’t even know existed; kneading my muscles with admirable strength, interspersed with physio-like stretches, and prioritising my shoulders as requested. It was undoubtedly the most comprehensive deep tissue massage I’ve had and made me realise the consequences of neglecting to have one regularly.
After a period of slight discomfort - during which she advised drinking plenty of water and stretching - my shoulders no longer felt like they were up to my ears and I could fully move my neck without a painful crick.
All Bali experiences finish as they begin, in the oasis-like tea lounge. Here I was treated to a complimentary tea from an extensive selection and left to relax - no rushing you out here.
After this experience, I may well be signing up for membership myself.