While at the St George’s Hotel and Spa all-inclusive resort, we took the opportunity to try a couple of the treatments available at the spa. Me personally, the only one I went for in the end was a back wax. It’s something I’d been contemplating for a while anyway, partly because of my gender presentation. However I’d never had the wherewithal to do. But here I was, in a resort, with time and opportunity right there. So I went for it.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, given I’ve absolutely never had it done before. I’d been pre-warned by Laura that it would probably hurt, and as you can imagine I have a lot of hair back there. Thick hair. It’s a hard place to shave or even trim on your own, and yes I have tried.
In total, the treatment took just over an hour, though I had a bit of waiting around on the rocking recliners at the start. It was kind of a weird feeling; I wasn’t ever in pain but it was more annoying than being tickled with a pinwheel. I was lying face-down on a bench with a hole for my face to rest in, so I couldn’t see what was going on, only feel it. The lady who worked on me, Lily, did it in stages, rather than doing the whole of my back at once. So each section went through the same process. Firstly she prepared parts of the skin with a kind of poultice; this is the bit that took the longest, Once it had settled in and gripped on, then she applied some kind of strip. Which she then ripped off, taking most of the hair with it. It didn’t all come off in one go, so she’d have to either quickly re-stick and re-rip (which didn’t hurt anywhere near as much), or she’d go through the process again later on.
It was weird to note the upper left side of my back stung less to wax than the lower right side. I genuinely don’t know why.
Anyway, I left with a smooth back. Not that I show it off much, but that’s not the point of the exercise. She did give me a couple of warnings – don’t have a shower for a couple of hours, and when I do, make it a cool or tepid one, and don’t get sunburn. I’d imagine going in to a waxing session with sunburn would be equally as ill-advised.
Having done it once, I suspect having it done again will be easier, but I don’t know if that’s something I’m going to do on a regular basis. That said, I’m glad I did it, and while I can’t see it, I know it felt smooth to the touch from what I could reach, so I’m more than happy with it.
Laura, conversely, had more treatments than I did. I asked her to describe them, so this is her experience in her own words:
“I am not one to go to the spa. This is mainly a consequence of my financial situation (what cost of living crisis!?), but also because I have always been a bit uncomfortable with the concept of ‘treating myself’ anyway. I’ve had a couple of massages in the past but I was always uncomfortable during them; I’m often unable to think of them as healthcare but instead spending the entire time insecure about my naked body being so exposed. But I wanted to try again, as so many of my girlfriends get them regularly and clearly value their addition to their lives. Since I was going to a resort that offered various treatments, I decided to give it another go, determined to get over my own issues and enjoy the experience.
I was so eager to give this a try, it was the very first thing I did the first morning – I bounded down to the bottom floor of the resort and asked the woman working behind the desk how to book treatments. She handed me a pamphlet and then told me half the treatments were all booked up the entire time we were there. So, Pro Tip Number One for you: See if you can book before you arrive! If you can, this might also help ensure you can get certain treatments. Not just because they might be booked up but also certain treatments are only offered by some therapists. I had hoped to get a pedicure, but the only person who offers that service was on their own holiday the week of our visit.
I booked myself in for four treatments: a scrub (my second ever), a massage (my fourth), a facial (my first!), and a luxury gel manicure (my umpteenth), and spent the next two days looking forward to the experience.
Once the spa morning rolled around, I once again skipped on down to the spa, where I was led to the locker room where I changed into the large, scarlet robe and slippers, and then followed a women to the therapy rooms. They were as one would expect, low-lit, soft music, candles, the works. I put on the little plastic underwear and slipped under the towel, ready to go.
Now, as I’ve said, I am not what one could call a regular spa-goer. As such, despite me thinking I was relaxed, my therapist kept telling me … to relax. How do I relax when I think I already am relaxed?? But then I’d realize that no, actually, my muscles were tense and I was subconsciously fighting her moving my limbs around. It took a bit of practice but I got to the point where I gave her complete control, and by the end of it all I have never been so relaxed in my entire life. What had been a bumpy start turned into one of the most pleasant experiences I have had in a very long time, and I am already trying to figure out how I can budget for a spa experience maybe twice a year.
First up came the scrub. I’ve had one once before, in Tunisia years ago, and I love doing basic hand scrubs at home. I have one on hand that I use about once a week. The scrub itself lasts half an hour, and I could just feel the dead skin falling away. Once she was done, she left the room and I showered off the little scrub beads before getting back onto the bed, face-down. She came back in for the hour long massage, which was both absolutely heavenly and a little weird. The lower half of my body was about as perfect a massage as I could have asked for, but then the top half felt more like a mother taking care of a sick child, one handed and very gentle. It was relaxing, so much in fact, that the therapists changed between the massage and the facial, and I had no idea until I opened my eyes at the end.
As mentioned above, this was my first ever facial. This felt a bit ridiculous, as I’ve always had really bad skin and thus should have done this years ago. It’s a bit weird having someone massage your nose, and then it was a bit boring sitting there with the mask for 15 minutes, but I was in a happy mood and daydreamed that time away. For the next few days, my face was quite oily, which I hadn’t expected but I found out afterwards was typical. I must say, for literal weeks afterwards my skin was fresh, soft, and blemish free. No arguing with those results.
At the end of the treatment, I was led in a dreamlike state over to the Relaxation Room. Here I sat in a large, rocking lounge chair for five minutes, very happily processing the experience and wishing it wasn’t over. But over it was, so I headed out, got changed back into my clothes, and went and grabbed lunch at the buffet next door, and then came back an hour later for my manicure! Ah, all-inclusive resorts. Just so handy.
The nail technician was very friendly. We chatted the entire time as she fixed up my very battered nails and then applied the gel. While the color selection wasn’t massive, she was great about mixing and matching until we found something I would like. I ended up with a clear polish full of glitter; while it seemed very sedated in normal lighting, when the sun or indoor lighting was just right, it absolutely dazzled. I loved it, and, because it was gel, continued to love it for several weeks afterwards.
Laura’s hand, with gel polish in situ.
She also talked to me about what face creams and washes I should use, based on my age and skin type. This was not at all a sales pitch from her but rather I asked very pointedly and I received a good response. After my manicure was over, I asked her to show me what they sold and I got three things: a cleanser, a hydration serum, and an anti-wrinkle cream. The latter was delightfully entitled ‘First Wrinkle Smoothing Cream’, so my 33 year old self can ease into the concept of needing this stuff now. “Baby’s First Wrinkle Cream!” I am already loving the outcome. It’s true what they say about a good skincare regime.
In conclusion, I am quite shy when it comes to spa treatments, but my experience at St. George’s with Jet2 was so relaxing and positive that, as I said above, I want to see if I can budget more treatments into my near future.”