Sarah Tierney went to take a look at Manchester city centre's latest spa destination

With its infinity pool, cinema room, and private wine cellar, King Street Townhouse is unofficially known as one of the most glam places to stay in Manchester. And as of July this year, it has brought its high-end brand to the wellness world, with the launch of a new spa and gym.

At the press of a button, a cloud of peppermint-scented salt mist fills the air.

Situated below street level in the Grade II-listed building, the spa is open to the public as well as hotel residents, meaning you can get a taste of luxury hotel life without an overnight stay. (For an idea of prices, a 90-minute hot stone massage is £110 or £55 for 30 minutes). I went there last week to experience it first-hand. 

Entrance Kst
Natural materials give King Street Townhouse Spa a Nordic feel Image: King Street Townhouse

Best food I've ever eaten in a dressing gown

After getting out of my rain-soaked jeans and into a comfy, warm dressing gown I was shown into the spa lounge. With soft wool blankets, flickering candles, and a stalactite-style ceiling, it felt like a very cosy, tastefully-designed cave; a cocooned hideaway where I could feel myself becoming more relaxed by the minute.

You can have breakfast, lunch or dinner in here if you like, all cooked by the chefs at King Street Tavern upstairs. After a camomile tea and smoothie shot, they brought me freshly-made gyozas shaped like crescent moons and a deconstructed, orange-scented minestrone soup with a homemade tortellini hidden amongst the fresh vegetables and micro herbs. 

Food At Kst Spa
Spot the cloche Image: Confidentials

A cloche hid a chilled duck's breast in a cloud of apple smoke, scattered with cubes of jellied beetroot. The flavours throughout all this were unusual and intense. It was by far the best food I've eaten while wearing a dressing gown. I'm still getting over the subtle smoky apple flavour of that pink duck breast.

Lastly, they brought me an icicle-shaped tray of sweet treats that looked like something you might dream up for an illustration in a fairy tale. They've got one hell of a pastry chef upstairs. It's not exaggerating to call this food art, and I did feel a little guilty when I moved on from staring at it to devouring it.

Cakes At Kst Spa
Did an elf make these? Image: Confidentials

Spray me with peppermint-scented salt mist

From there, I went to explore their thermal suite which features a sauna, steam room, and a salt inhalation cave (the spa says it's the only one of its kind outside London). 

In here you can experience halotherapy or salt inhalation therapy. The walls are made of glowing, mineral-rich Himalayan salt and at the press of a button, a cloud of peppermint-scented salt mist fills the air. 

Kst Spa Salt Cave
The Salt Inhalation Cave at King Street Townhouse Spa Image: King Street Townhouse

Breathing tiny particles of salt has been used for centuries as a way to help lung problems, and it may help skin conditions and allergies too. It's good for clearing the sinuses so if winter sees you suffering from a blocked nose and frequent colds, give it a go and see if it makes a difference.  

After spending some time in the cave, you can relax on heated marble loungers and refresh yourself in experience showers complete with scents, sounds and coloured lights.

Kst Spa Thermal Suite
Heated marble loungers and experience showers Image: King Street Townhouse

The best place for an ESPA treatment

King Street Townhouse belongs to The Hut Group, which also owns several premium wellness and beauty companies including Perricone MD and ESPA. As you might expect, the spa specialises in treatments by these particular brands. There are rumours that the ESPA headquarters will be based in the building next door, and the spa and gym stocks their changing rooms with ESPA products. 

I went for one of two treatment options not available anywhere else: a 90-minute Rebalance and Restore Ritual. (The other exclusive is the ESPA Sleep Ritual, which must be hard to resist if you've got a king-sized bed waiting for you upstairs.) 

Encompassing a full body hot stone massage, a facial, and a scalp massage, it was an hour and a half of pure relaxation that left my skin soft and nourished. I slept very deeply that night for the first time in weeks, and for the following few nights as well. 

Kst Spa Sauna
The sauna at King Street Townhouse Image: King Street Townhouse

A winter escape

When this spa opened during peak getaway season in the summer, I didn't get overly excited; all my attention was focused on more distant destinations. But with a city-bound winter approaching, the appeal of a restorative, peaceful spa day in Manchester is growing by the week. 

If you need an antidote to the wet weather and grey skies, an afternoon in this serene, hygge space will sort you out, especially if they feed you first. Remember it next time you need a mood lift and don't want to leave town.

Main image: King Street Townhouse

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