Review: Nirvana Spa, Reading.

Dear Spa Lover,

Welcome!

This being the first review on the blog I thought it apt to begin at, well, the beginning. And for me that was at Nirvana Spa. The seed of my passion for spa was first planted during my management work experience here, some 19 years ago, having been awarded a scholarship for my HND in Beauty Therapy and Business Management. I was in awe of it all and nervously soaked up all the learning I could. And so, commenced an enduring love for the spa environment and therapies thereafter.

This review walks you through the notable experiences of my customer journey. I love to share my experiences with frank and in-depth reviews to entertain, inform and ultimately encourage you to spa more in the pursuit of health, beauty and wellbeing. I add whatever hints and tips occur to me from my visits to help you have the most amazing spa visits yourselves.

So, dive in and find out what happened on my last visit to Nirvana Spa, this time as a customer and with fellow spa fan hubby in tow. Be sure to check out my Favourite Experiences, Top Tips, Lost Points, Full Spa details including Tempting treatments to try and more! after the main body of the review.

Review:

Nirvana is a large custom-built spa facility with (currently) 6 main pools for various purposes plus refreshing plunge pools and various thermal suites and relaxation areas. Exciting new developments are launching soon too. There’s a lovely spa garden with outdoor pool and sunken jacuzzies. There’s a café style restaurant and a large therapy suite with a wide, interesting and inclusive (cancer patients welcome) treatment menu. You can take a virtual tour here: https://nirvanaspa.co.uk/spa-facilities/

As we were welcomed in by a very engaging and lovely receptionist we were handed our towels and presented with a map…yes, a MAP! as you can see here below. I joked to my husband, with starry eyes, that it’s a like a spa theme park ‘SPA WORLD’…but no kids allowed. BLISS!

Booking had been a of a bit of a comedy of errors, but we got there in the end, a few weeks after my birthday which was original intended day to visit. My darling hubby didn’t realise that you have to purchase the package online AND then phone and book your date / time too. So, when I called to add a treatment to our booking I discovered we didn’t actually have one! Oops.

Now to many of us seasoned spa goers this may seem obvious, as the most places, except for maybe Bath Thermae Spa, you do have to book in advance. However, to be fair to him the email following purchase didn’t mention it at all, so he’s forgiven. I have no idea if this is still the case until we book again but I believe the website has been updated since then and it seems clear now that when you purchase you do need to buy an experience / package online AND book the visit date and time by calling.

Being a tad late for our 4-hour half-day spa package, thanks to an ancient sat-nav that decided to take us on the scenic route, we were very impressed and grateful when the receptionist said we could stay later than our official time slot. Thoughtful and flexible service like this goes such a long way to build customer loyalty, even though we couldn’t take up her kind offer. I don’t know if this is their policy or not but it ingratiated Nirvana to us even more.

The changing rooms are large, clean and have private changing cubicles as well as communal spaces. The lockers were a pleasingly good size and easy to use. The lighting for post spa hair and makeup was great so all in all no complaints here.

We started with the busy but blissfully warm (35degrees) and bubbly surf hydrotherapy pool with 53 body jets . I did feel a bit too hot and hectic for me after our rushed arrival so next time I shall head to the tepidarium to chill out first.

TOP TIP: Starting your spa visit with some quiet time to get centered, calm your senses and clear your mind ready for some serious relaxation and selfcare is a great idea, especially if you have treatments booked early in your visit to save going into those wet.

I toddled off to get my treatment not long after my first quick pool dip. A review of this will be on the blog soon too. If you like body treatments and are curious about crystals don’t miss it! (sign up for email notifcations on the home page).

The crystal therapy suit is a decadent cocoon of smooth dark wood and sparkling crystal lighting that imbues luxury and quality, immediately rewarding your extra spend on treatments and taking you out of the ‘hub bub’ of the main spa.

Emerging from my treatment all blurry eyed, wobbly legged and feeling super smooth skinned I was invited to enjoy the heated loungers in the main central relaxation area of the therapy suite (pictured below). Take your time in here if you can and enjoy the complimentary drink (herbal tea for me!) and should get some product recommendations from your therapist post treatment too.

The huge crystal centre piece really gives a magical ambiance and I rather wished that I had been invited to wait here for the 10 mins before the treatment. That appears to be luck of the draw as to whether your treatment room is located directly off the relation space or around the corner of the reception. Where it’s by no means unpleasant, but just a tad less comfortable than the delicious ergonomic heated loungers.

By chance as I headed back out into the main spa I spotted my hubby’s badly head just as he was submerging into one of outdoor jacuzzies. Had I not seen this it would have taken a while to find him so if you’re going with partner or friends agreeing a meeting point is a great idea if you don’t want to waste precious minutes wandering around in your robe looking for each other.

A cool British day the garden was quiet, but this can be the best time to enjoy outdoor facilities. When the weather is bracing seeing wisps of steam float up onto a crisp breeze is a uniquely satisfying pleasure, as you wallow in a warmth watery haven. With time sadly running out we had to choose which one last activity to do and headed to the tepidarium. As it was still lunch time the restaurant was packed and somewhat noisy with relaxed chatter and laughter. But impressively the quiet sanctuary of the tepidarium is completely soundproofed to this and blissfully quiet, bar the enchanting trickle of fountain water.

We were transported on a Mediterranean getaway with the courtyard styling and the smell was divine! A truly delicious scent is noticeable throughout the spa and permeates every corridor and corner but was particularly noticeable in tepidarium. I could have sniffed it all day long. It’s lime based I think. They should bottle and sell that stuff, I’d buy it!

I couldn’t resist popping into the steam room for a few minutes before leaving to change and was delighted by the pungent cleansing rosemary steam. Inhaling deeply this was a simultaneously uplifting and soothing blanket of warm steam, great for clearing the sinuses and leaves you feeling like you’ve been thoroughly ‘done good to’.

With a cheeky purchase of a tinted moisturiser in the shop by reception whilst waiting for Spa Hubby (yes, he takes longer changing!) we concluded our visit and were warmly wished farewell.

A wonderful visit and next time we’ll go for longer. There’s still so much more to explore and try so look out for review no.2! (subscribe to the newsletter for updates).

Favourite Experiences on our Spa Journey:

  • The delicious spa scent everywhere.
  • The outdoor sunken hot tubs in the spa garden
  • The fact that the pools are ozone cleansed so no horrible chemicals like chlorine with their skin drying after effects.
  • The silence & warm ergonomic heated loungers in the Mediterranean Tepidarium.
  • The therapist’s product recommendations (So many places don’t bother with this and as brief as it was, at least the effort was there, and I was made aware of products for sale that could benefit me).

Top Tips:

  • Go for a full day if you can, particularly if you want to book treatment time. There’s so much there to try that you really can’t make the most of it in just a few hours. However, as a budget spa option, the 4-hour packages are great value. The quality and variety of this spa experience is undeniable.
  • Slippers aren’t provided so don’t forget to take your flip flops. I felt like a prize idiot and real amateur for doing so lol! It’s in the emails but hubby got these not me.
  • Book well in advance for the highly in-demand flotation sessions in the celestial flotation pool. We weren’t able to get one even booking two weeks in advance.
  • Don’t go in the water straight after having a body treatment. Let those lovely (expensive) lotions and oils soak in and do their work while you enjoy lunch or relaxing on a heated lounger.
  • Agree meeting points with your friends for ease of finding each other after treatments.

Lost Points:

  • The booking process could have been smoother / clearer. I had to ask to speak to a manager at one point, but she was very amicable, helpful and all was well in the end.
  • The treatment experience was certainly good but could have been even better in several specific ways. Pop back for a full review of this coming soon! (subscribe here for email updates).
  • Some of the decor is a bit dated. Not shabby by any means but just not to my taste perhaps. Murals were all the rage in the 90’s but not so much now. The newer parts however are on point and very stylish and overall this wouldn’t put me off going again.

Going back?

Definitely. My husband would go every month if he could!

I would recommend their membership if you are within easy reach or are prepared to travel more than a few times a year. Although the Facebook page does raise some questions and concerns as to recent standards for members. Personally, this wouldn’t put me off if I were closer though as they seem to me easily resolved. I’d love to see Nirvana positively respond to and act upon these comment as they are great opportunities to engage, remedy and delight customers ultimately building loyalty.

We weren’t able visit the celestial flotation pool as it was booked up and there is also a brand-new balneotherapy pool with unique microbubble technology being constructed which I can’t wait to find out more about and try. I would also like to dine and attend one of the free skincare classes / workshops too. As you can see there is plenty to keep you busy. Busy chilling that is!

Details:

www.nirvanaspa.com

Location: Shindlesham, Reading UK.

Price Range:

From £40 for 4-hour Time Out Package with spa access Monday to Friday day time up to £180 for the Signature Serene Package with 50 minute treatment and celestial flotation.

Additional treatment prices range from £22 for file and polish to £105 for the Serenity Diamond Ritual with a good range of mid-arrange affordable prices for half hour treatments.

Facilities include:

Roman Pool, Nirvana Pool, Surf Pool, Celestial Flotation Pool, Fitness Swim Pool, Tepidarium with heated loungers, Spa Garden with heated outdoor pool and 4 sunken jacuzzis, sauna, steam, rassul, restaurant, treatement room suite with relaxation lounge & heated loungers.

Product Ranges:

Germain de Capuccini and Decleor for treatments and premium products, Jessica for nails, Mii for makeup.

Additional retail: Dead Sea Spa Magik and Nirvana’s own range.

Super Tempting Treatments to Try:

Mediterranean Candle Massage, Lava Shell Full Body and Scalp Massage, Energy Baobab Back Massage, Lifting Face Yoga, Jasmine Glow Facial, Lemon and Mango Firm and Tone.

Conclusion:

A lovely spa, few others in the uk compare in terms of variety and scale. I fear the photos don’t really do the facilities and spaces justice so you’ll just have to take my word for it that Nirvana is definately worth a visit for every avid spa fan.

It is at the more affordable end of the spa market but that’s not say that quality is in any way compromised. Attention to details, conscious planning and thought to the ambiance and service are evident. That said, it is busy and there are lots of people around. I think it’s probably like this most of the time as when I asked about their quieter days and they said there arn’t any.

If this bothers you, then it may not be the spa for you. But for me, I figure everyone’s there for the same purpose. To chill and have a lovely day and most people are considerate of each other in this regard. There’s plenty of space and quiet spots that you can still get lost in your own thoughts and enjoy the facilities which are varied, well maintained and spotlessly clean.

For us, as stressed out parents to two angelic looking (but actual Tasmanian-devilish) children it was the perfect time-out that we needed, and probably even more appreciated and precious for the rarity of our child free time together. I think of it as a joyful playground of SPA. Bravo Nirvana and long may we ‘spa’ with you!

I’m looking forward to going back and trying out more of the spa experiences on offer. Watch out for my review of Precious Gem Harmony Massage treatment I had (coming soon) and a second visit and review once the exciting new Colosseum suite with nanobubble balneotherapy pool opens.

Professional 200 Touch Point Score: 164.5/200

Every reviewed visit involves a comprehensive audit crafted by and original to The Spa Diva, after 19 year of industry expertise. It covers 200 touch points of the customer journey and spa experience to create a powerful and insightful tool. Designed to help Spas achieve excellence and craft amazing, memorable and transformative experiences that customers can’t get enough of! For more information please see the work with me page.

Your thoughts:
If you would like to share your experience at Nirvana I’d love to hear! comment below or head over to @thespadivauk on fb or insta.

And finally,

I encourage you all to be Spa Divas and prioritise self-care and the pursuit of wellness via Spa. Honour your own needs for escape, for nurturing time, space and touch. And in doing so, hold an expectation for excellence when it comes to your experiences and sacred spa journeys. Spa on fellow wellness seekers.

Love, light and bubbles,
The Spa Diva xx

 

 

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