In the whole of the UK there are only three hot springs. Nobody knows where they come from, but everybody knows the place where they rise – the city of Bath.
The word SPA is associated with the Latin phrase ‘Salus Per Aquam’ or ‘health through water’. According to the legend, the healing properties of the natural thermal springs were first discovered by Prince Bladud around 863 BC, whose skin disease was cured after bathing in the waters. The waters were then used by the Celts, Romans, Saxons, and Georgians and have been a constant thread through the history of Bath.
The water is located at the depth of 2 km where it’s heated by high-temperature rocks before rising up through one of the three springs in the city – the Cross Spring, Hetling or King’s Spring.
I had a chance to get a tour around all the facilities of the Thermae Bath Spa before it’s open to the public at 9 am. There are four floors in the main SPA building and we started from the most well-known place – a rooftop pool with a view over the city and the beautiful Bath Abbey. Chilling in this pool after a full day of walking around the city was one of the most relaxing activities I have done in a long time.
The thermal waters contain over 42 different minerals, the most concentrated being sulphate calcium and chloride. All baths at Thermae contain natural thermal waters and are kept at the temperature of 33.5C (92F).
One floor down there is a Wellness Suite and a Terrace. I like how thoughtfully the steaming rooms and other facilities on this floor were organized. When you walk in, you leave a robe and go straight to the Shower Walkway – a small shower room decorated with several columns right in the middle. Next, there is an Infrared Room, which transmits soothing infrared waves of light deep into the muscles and joints. I think I spent the longest time there, it’s just SO relaxing!
After that, you go to the Roman Steam Room and sit on the traditional stone seating which is not as hot at as most people think. The steam is infused with the stimulating aroma of botanicals and flowers. I like the fact that you don’t really see people around you through the steam. The main decoration here is a mosaic of Sulis Minerva, a deity worshiped at the thermal spring of Bath.
Next, you go to Georgian-inspired Steam Room, which brings you to one of the most influential periods of Bath history. The walls are decorated with Georgian-style gardens and the ornate fountain brings a sense of peace and relaxation. An interesting thing about this room was the floral fragrance and steam. This room smells like roses!
When you think there is enough high temperatures and steam for you, go to the Ice Chamber. Grab some ice and massage your body with it. It’s amazing! I went there a few times because it’s not only healthy but also feels so refreshing!
Next, I went to the Celestial Relaxation Room where you can lie down on a heated lounger. The design of this room is all about the space which is fascinating! It’s important not to fall asleep there haha.
By that time I thought it’s about time to have some tea with cake, so I went one floor down to the Springs Cafe Restaurant. I was pleased to see gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free cake options available! Check the menu here.
Finally, I went to the Lower Ground Floor to swim in the Minerva bath – an indoor pool. It has the same water as the rooftop pool, but it’s bigger in size and you can actually swim there. By that time I only had about 20 minutes before I had to check out from the hotel nearby so I didn’t stay long. But next time I will enjoy the invigorating massage jet, whirlpool and ‘lazy river’.
The Cross Bath is located in a separate building – an open-air thermal bath which can be ‘rented’ for a party for up to 10 people! They also provide packages offering a selection of food platters along with the choice of wines, prosecco, and champagne. I celebrated my 20th birthday in similar settings – sauna with a pool and it was the BEST party ever. Maybe I should do the same for my 30th and come to Bath this time?
- Bath in 24 hours: a complete itinerary of things to do
- Unexpected Bath: a pop up beach in the middle of the city