The mark of a good Spa

It can be hard to imagine taking a break from the pace of modern life that most of us are caught up in, but when you visit a spa you can experience a new level of relaxation.

Dorset is lucky enough to be able to boast several of the country’s top spa treatments that are available in luxurious hotels.

The four star Hallmark Hotel & Spa Bournemouth offers a calm oasis to unwind. In August 2014 the Hallmark group was purchased by the Topland Group, who also owns the Menzies portfolio of 12 hotels of which there are two in Bournemouth - The East Cliff Court and Carlton on the East Cliff.

The hotels are all being operated by Bespoke hotels that look after over 100 hotel in the UK and Europe.

Thanks to a £1.5k investment to update the health club, the ground floor now boasts a renovated swimming pool, gym, improved changing rooms, upgraded lockers, new loungers and garden furniture, and an improved garden which, by spring, should be in full bloom.

Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth is managed by Paul Clarke, who is also chair of the Bournemouth Accommodation and Hoteliers Association (BAHA) and is board member of BTMB and the Coastal BID. Upon my visit I could sense that the team work very well together to make every guest feel welcome and at ease.

The spa itself is located on the lower ground floor - as you step down you can almost feel the stresses begin to fade away.

The hotel spa offers an assortment of spa packages including afternoon tea. Guests have full use of the facilities which include a 12m indoor pool, three wonderful spa pools, hi-tech gym, sauna and steam room, Jacuzzi, aromatherapy cave and a relaxation lounge.

My afternoon of relaxation began with a hot stone massage (£38-£41 if booked as an individual treatment).

Experienced spa therapist Lisa Norris - who has been at the Hallmark Bournemouth for 10 years – showed me to my treatment room once I had donned my rob and slippers provided.

The warm, dimly lit, aromatic room was the perfect sanctuary. For 25 minutes Lisa applied smooth, heated stones, whilst also using her hands to massage the upper body with oils, concentrating on my back, neck and shoulder. With a relaxing melody playing out in the background, the hot stones relaxed and warmed my muscles, enabling Lisa to work key areas where I experienced daily aches and pains with great effect. The warmth of the stones is also said to improve circulation and calm the nervous system.

Afterwards, I felt very calm and I didn’t want the treatment to end, it was amazing. If you want to sample other treatments they offer: Dermalogica facials massages, spa body treatments, Jessica hand and foot care, Geleration soak-off gel polish, eye treatments and waxing.

The afternoon tea that followed did not disappoint. Head chef Nathan Mizen presented a beautifully presented 2-tier cake stand displaying a mouth-watering assortment of fresh sandwiches, homemade scones, clotted cream and jam, strawberries, chocolate mousse and fresh cakes. The stylish Brasserie upstairs is a lovely setting and a peaceful area to sit, eat and drink.

I’d never been to Hallmark Bournemouth before - once in a while everyone needs to recharge their batteries and the Hallmark spa provides a tranquil retreat where you can unwind to your heart’s content.

Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth, Durley Chine Road, 01202 751000. For details about their Mother’s Day spa package, mini pampering and indulgent spa day packages, treatments, and membership, visit