Freelance writer, Larissa Chapman, heads to The Harrogate Spa at the DoubleTree by Hilton Majestic Hotel, Harrogate for a relaxing facial.

I arrived at the grand 119-year-old building of the Majestic Hotel, Harrogate in mid-December and couldn’t fail to notice its grandeur and grace – it certainly lived up to its name. As I made my way up the stairs to the lobby, it somehow felt like an odd time to be going for a spa break – so close to Christmas and with such a hectic schedule coming up – but I soon realised the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Christmas is a wonderful but busy time of year and after what seemed like months of work commitments, deadlines and festive social events I hadn’t realised how badly I needed to pause and take time to reflect. An added bonus was that the spa itself was incredibly quiet – with people preoccupied at festive parties, I more or less had the place to myself. Bliss!

A Room with a View

After being shown to my room, which was on the top floor overlooking the idyllic spa town of Harrogate, I was impressed. Decorated in plush greys and silvers with a metro tiled bathroom, for such a grand old building the décor was very 2019 chic.

Time to Relax

The spa itself had been recently refurbished. Completed in November, it’s fair to say it looked beautiful – spacious, airy, clean lines. The entrance to the spa was so serene, with candles lining the walkway, I could almost feel the tension melting away as I walked through the door.

There was a courtyard area, which didn’t look quite finished, but I suspect it will be a relaxing outdoor space come the spring of 2020.

After filling out my form sitting in my warm, cosy robe in the comfort of the new seating area, my therapist showed me to the treatment room. A lift, which takes clients from the entrance of the spa down to the treatment rooms, was under construction during my visit, so I had to walk – fully robed – down the stairs and past a wedding party. This didn’t bother me and it won’t be long before the lift is in action, but it will be a slightly nicer experience once it’s finished.

After sitting down with my therapist in the newly refurbished treatment room she explained what was going to happen during my treatment, which was a 50-minute ESPA inner calm facial.

An Insightful Treatment

After rubbing two different oils onto the back of each of my hands, my therapist asked me to choose which scent I preferred. I chose the more uplifting fragrance with patchouli extract. The idea is that you instinctively choose the oil your body most needs – in my case a hydrating oil for my tired skin.

She started by cleansing my face, before shining a special face lamp on my skin. I found this incredibly interesting and insightful. She was able to tell me where I had blocked pores (which showed up as orange patches) and highlight areas which showed aging (these showed up as darker spots), as well as areas of dehydration. Having this information has enabled me to target these areas at home, using more comprehensive eye creams for my eye area and paying more attention to my blocked pores.

She even advised me on ways to apply my products at home. Turns out I’ve been applying eye cream incorrectly for years, putting it too close to my lids, causing my eyes to become puffy.

Pure Relaxation

After finding out what my skin needed, the treatment began. As well as targeting my face, she also massaged my tense shoulders and arms – I hadn’t realised how tense and knotted I was until she began working on them.

The facial included two mask treatments and a moisturising treatment as well as a warm compress for my tired eyes and a scalp massage using a clay hair mask. I love having my hair played with, so this was a real treat, and after recently having been highlighted my hair was feeling a little parched, so this was just the ticket.

Most facials I’ve had previously have been 30 minutes long, so to be given almost an hour of TLC felt incredibly luxurious and indulgent. I can honestly say it was one of the most thorough and relaxing facials I have ever experienced.

To the Pool

Once the treatment was over, my therapist brought me some water and gave me a few minutes to come round before walking me back up to the main hub of the spa. Passing a mirror as I made my way to the pool, I was amazed at how luminous and healthy my skin looked.

I spent the next few hours enjoying the spa facilities, which included a pool, steam room, sauna – complete with Himalayan salt wall – and a super relaxing bubble pool. Sinking between the bubbling jets of the hot tub was pure bliss; I could’ve easily fallen asleep, but I was getting a little peckish and looking forward to dinner.

A Whole New Me

After enjoying an evening meal in the art deco-inspired restaurant (a healthy superfood burger without the bun) and sinking into my super king-size bed for the night, I woke the next day with renewed vigour and feeling totally chilled. It was just what I needed to help me get through the final weeks before Christmas, so I could enter the holidays feeling more like myself. It can seem like a long old slog in the dark gloomy December days, but as I looked at my never-ending to-do list on the train home, rather than feeling a sense of panic, I was left feeling it would all be ok and it would all get done – and I was right.

Thank you Majestic Hotel and The Harrogate Spa, I will be back (probably next Christmas – I’d like to make it a tradition).

Day spa retreats start from £90, with an overnight stay starting from £199 (standard double room). Visit for more info.