It’s the prime example of not judging a book by its cover.
From the outside, The Malvern Spa in Worcestershire isn’t a looker, but I was warned that before I arrived.
Instead, I was told to wait until I entered – and immediately got it.
Stepping into my fluffy white robe and slippers, I was transported to a world of calm and serenity as I took advantage of the tranquil treatments at this renowned spa hotel in the Midlands town.
Settling into the soothing massage table, I was treated to an hour-long Elemis Tranquility face and body sensation that combines a massage and facial to ‘induce a deep level of relaxation and calm your mind.’
The gentle massaging movements of the facial combined with the sweet smell of the lavender scented oils was blissful and I felt myself nodding off at some points.
The relax-factor certainly topped facials I've had before thanks to the soothing lavender, gentle background music and the calm ambiance that really allowed my mind to completely unwind.
And afterwards my face looked so glowing and youthful I couldn’t stop staring at my skin.
The therapist then ends with a body massage to soothe the muscles (though did have the side effect of waking me up somewhat).
In the room next-door, my partner was enjoying a men’s back, neck and scalp massage that he found effective to ease tension on years-old sports injuries.
Not a bad way to wind down for a lazy evening ahead.
The spa was well kitted out with a pool surrounded by deckchairs, hydrotherapy pools, sauna and steam rooms and even a salt grotto.
I dipped my toes into the warm hydrotherapy pool that stretched from the inside of the hotel and into the starry night outside and made full use of the various bubble massage stations, hydrotherapy beds, jacuzzis and relaxing booths on offer – before lounging poolside to get stuck into this week's glossies.
The sauna rooms at the Malvern offer something for everyone, with a steam room for novices to a salt grotto and herb sauna for the more adventurous types.
I spent a few minutes inside the salt grotto, perching on the hot tiled seats as I inhaled the salt steam within the room. This type of sauna is supposed to help with breathing and clear skin for a complete feeling of wellbeing.
Then, I hopped opposite into a different room where seasonal herbs and essential oils are gently steamed to cleanse body and mind, where I felt completely relaxed.
The cold therapies on the other hand were something I wasn’t prepared for and I couldn't help letting out a less-than-calm squeal after stepping beneath the ice bucket shower.
After a lazy afternoon spent making full use of the hotel’s lavish spa facilities, we settled in for a quiet night in the hotel room.
Popping my dressing gown and slippers onto the heated towel rail in the bathroom, I couldn't resist a nice long soak in the tub despite playing in the water all day.
Later on, finally dry, we flipped on the TV, snuggled into the Egyptian cotton sheets on the huge double bed and settled in for a blissful night's sleep.
The hotel offers a fine dining experience that’s ideal for an intimate dinner with your partner or a more relaxed meal with your girlfriends.
Taking a seat in the restaurant, I was presented with an extensive menu that featured locally sourced, organic produce – I all of a sudden felt very hungry indeed.
We opted for the cod fillet and the sea bream (perhaps inspired by the watery setting as we don't usually go for the fish option), eaten with a side of new potatoes and vegetables that came as very generous portions.
For dessert, I tucked into the saintly baked pear while my partner went for the wicked vanilla cheesecake (that I obviously ended up taking a few bites out of).
For breakfast there's a small continental-style buffet with fresh pastries and juice – and you can order hot options from the waiting staff.
My eyes were rather bigger than my belly when I chose the scrambled eggs, sausages AND beans – but they were delicious and it kept me full for the drive back to London.
At a two-and-a-half hour drive from London, The Malvern Spa feels like a country gem in the middle of nowhere and has a nice mix of cosy luxury and modern spa fittings. We loved it as a lazy couple's retreat but it'd be a great location for a girlie getaway too. And of course, the free WiFi helps when you’re checking yourself into the hotel in a smug Facebook post.
Room prices at The Malvern Spa start from £71 per person and spa breaks start from £67 per person. Contact: The Malvern, Grovewood Road, Malvern, Worcestershire WR14 1GD, Tel: 01684 898 290.