The Garage Spa Durham is an award winning boutique spa near Barnard Castle, in the little village of Greta Bridge. The old brick buildings that form the spa used to be a garage and fuel station on the route from London to Carlisle, that have been transformed into this tranquil spot in the middle of the County Durham countryside. I enjoyed a half spa day afternoon at the weekend.
The Garage Spa is part of the Morritt Hotel which is just next door, and it’s a beautiful spot that took about an hour and 10 minutes from Newcastle to reach. It’s perhaps not quite as well known as some of the spas that are part of big North East hotels or manor houses, but as far as spas go it definitely shouldn’t be overlooked.
Book Your Experience At The Garage Spa Durham
The booking experience for the Garage Spa Durham was really easy, much easier than most in fact. I find that many places you have to call up and speak to someone for availability, and they get booked up really far in advance, especially for weekends. For the Garage Spa, we booked two days in advance, and could do it all online which made it a lot simpler.
All of the various spa packages that they offer are on the website, and they give full details of what each one includes. There are half day spas for morning, afternoon and evening sessions, full day experiences, and packages for two or more people. We went for the half day afternoon spa experience which included a 25 minute treatment, that could be upgraded, afternoon tea, and full use of the facilities for four hours.
The booking process was so easy, you select your chosen experience then it brings up the calendar with all the available days. From there you choose your treatment from the selection of four, can add on any extras such as prosecco, and pay. I’ve never experienced this before, as usually you have no idea what availability is, the costs change especially for peak times and you end up on the phone for ages. This was much better and was sorted very quickly, at little notice.
The Garage Spa Experience
Turning up at the Garage Spa there is plenty parking outside of the hotel, and the spa is in the building to the right. They check you in at reception and give you your treatment time, then take you through to your locker and the changing rooms where you get your robe and flip flops.
Rather than a big open changing room, there are little side rooms that have a toilet, shower, mirror and changing area that you can use individually, so it is very private and more boutique than some of the bigger ones.
The facilities are a mix of both inside and outside, with a steam room, a salt therapy room and the indoor tub room. Here there are three different tubs including a hydrotherapy tub, a hot tub and a cold plunge tub.
Outside in the Secret Garden, are two more hot tubs including the very beautiful bath one in the corner, sheltered loungers overlooking the countryside view, four different shower experiences and the hut sauna.
There were other people but I’d say no more than 6 others, and with different treatment times it wasn’t crowded and you didn’t have to wait to try each area. Depending on your package you can also take advantage of the mud rasual, the the dry floatation or the hammam areas too.
As part of our package our treatments lasted 25 minutes, I had a back massage and being honest by the time you’re actually on the massage bed and changing time at the end it was more like 15 minutes. It was lovely though, but next time I’d upgrade to a longer time.
We spent most of our time in the bath hot tub with prosecco – it was very relaxing and my favourite part of the day. You can order drinks from the bar and they bring them out to you – ideal if you’re staying in the hotel and don’t have to drive anywhere.
Afternoon Tea At The Morritt Hotel
Your half day package includes food, either lunch if you visit in the morning, or afternoon tea in the afternoon and this is served over in the main hotel. You can go across for afternoon tea at any time but we waited until we were done in the spa and had got changed again.
It was served in the dining room, and although we had to wait a bit due to the wedding that was on, when it came it was really good. There were four choices of sandwiches, sweet and savoury scones and four cakes each. Obviously this comes with either tea or coffee too.
We came away from the Garage Spa Durham feeling very relaxed, it was lovely to just spend an afternoon away from everything in the hot tub and the fresh air. I prefer smaller spas sometimes over the bigger more exposed ones, as we rarely crossed paths with anyone else. Our half day cost £85 and this is the starting price for all of their experiences. I upgraded my treatment to a back massage instead of a neck and scalp treatment for £10, and the prosecco was about £5 a glass. I’d definitely go back in the future.
As it was originally intended, the Garage Spa Durham is an ideal pick me up pit stop, that can be booked at relatively short notice for a bit of a self care MOT. Visit the website here for more information and all the available packages.
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