Restaurant review: Nirvana SpaBy Caroline Cook
October 12, 2011
The moment you take off your clothes and pull on a cosy white bath robe is the very moment you leave the office behind and step through the doors into a water-based wonderland.
With its pools of water, calming aromas and treatments that make you feel rejuvenated for weeks, Nirvana really is an antidote to the hustle and bustle of every day life.
And with winter already growling in the streets there is no better place to get back that long-forgotten holiday feeling than behind the doors at Nirvana.
When my guest and I arrived, straight from a hectic day at the office, we headed for the garden café, to tuck into some of the spa’s delicious food in plenty of time for our treatments later on in the evening.
As the dress code was bath robe there was no need to switch between pool wear and outdoor clothing which is practical and lets you feel like the meal is part of the pampering.
And when you look at the menu it certainly is.
If the treatments are there to take care of your outsides the garden café looks after your insides.
After starting with some warm bread rolls my guest opted for the tuna salad (£7.95) and I went for the soy-glazed beef salad (£8.95).
There are more hearty options on the menu including beef fillet, but the selection of salads is so mouthwatering we were drawn to our dishes.
Oh, how glad I am we were.
The beef salad was delicious with thin noodles in a soy sauce wrapped around crunchy vegetables and topped with slices of sumptuous glazed beef.
The beef was cooked exactly the way I asked for it and the whole dish just had a gorgeous Thai feel which sat perfectly when you looked beyond the glass cafe walls and saw a pool of gorgeous blue water in front of you.
My guest said her tuna salad was light and tasty with a well cooked tuna steak balanced on a bed of fluffy new potatoes, green beans, spinach and cherry tomatoes.
To accompany our meal, we enjoyed a glass of pinot grigio and a raspberry juice, and that’s the beauty of the menu – there are healthier options next to the treats, which combine perfectly for a night of pampering.
The same goes for the pudding menu with fresh fruit salad packed full of juicy berries and sliced fruits (£1.95) nestled alongside indulgent hot apple pancakes (£4.95) layered in maple butter sauce, cinnamon and vanilla ice cream.
After enjoying our meal, we took to the poolside to let our food go down while relaxing on sun loungers and reading a few magazines.
Then we set about exploring the spa complex before our treatments, starting with a dip in the outdoor pools.
Winter may have been whispering in the night air but that didn’t stop us de-robing for a quick dip in the jacuzzis which are (thankfully) warm and soothing and would be heavenly in summer as well.
After that we took to the hydrotherapy pool which is a larger pool filled with little eddies and bursts of water that tap your pressure points and make you feel as if you’re getting a massage in the water.
All the rooms are decorated with calming beach scenes and soothing lighting which make you genuinely feel as if you are no longer in Wokingham at all.
Sitting in another room where you lie on curved stone sofas, as candles filling the air with an aromatherapy scent and a water fountain trickles in the middle, you can easily close your eyes and drift off to a five-star complex in Dubai or Thailand.
After making a pit-stop in the steam room, filled with not only steam but a gorgeous scent which seemed to clear all our winter sniffles, and a brief monsoon shower, we then went over for our Dead Sea flotation treatments.
Our beauty therapist Siobhan gave us a briefing about the treatment which sees you float back into a deep-green pool packed with salts and minerals.
We had a practise in a small pool before walking through to the flotation room which is like an Aladdin’s cave for beauty.
In the centre of the room is a pool, lit by underwater lights, with mythical creatures painted on the walls and overhead stretches a blue ceiling dotted with starry lights.
As you sink back into the water onto a neck pillow the hushed sounds of music seem to come from nowhere and you can feel the water lapping over you as it works its magic on your skin.
After 40 minutes the lights gradually rose and we were woken from our relaxation haze and taken to showers where Siobhan brought us body scrub and other products to cleanse.
A favourite product of mine was hair mud – we were given a great slab of to slather over our hair.
It left mine feeling soft and conditioned for days.
After the treatment it was time to drift home on a cloud of calm ready to face the world outside with a rejuvenated outlook.
They say if you manage to close your eyes and drift off in the flotation tank it is the equivalent of eight hours of sleep.
But if you ask me an evening in Nirvana has got to be the equivalent of at least a week in paradise.
- Telephone: 0118 9897500
- Website: www.nirvanaspa.co.uk