It might be difficult to believe, but the idea of turning up to a luxury spa for the weekend normally fills me with dread. Why? Because I spend so much of my life trying to protect the planet and reduce my carbon footprint. Think of what a traditional spa break usually involves, driving out to a beautiful countryside pile only accessible by car, to be greeted with slippers wrapped in single-use plastic, in order to spend the next few days indulging in energy exhaustive water facilities.
Excuse me if I’ve popped your spa break bubble, but you can’t escape the fact that your quest for wellness isn’t exactly eco-friendly. From plastic water bottles to the never-ending mountain of towels washed, the environmental impact is substantial.
Hopping on the train up from London to Huddersfield, I head to Titanic Spa, which holds the self-appointed title of the UK’s first eco spa. When it first opened in 2005, the British spa market was in its infancy, and it was clear Titanic was leading the green charge by putting sustainability at the forefront of its build.
The modern, industrial building (an old textiles mill) is a far cry from Champneys, but it feels more rustic and authentic this way. Set in the Pennine hills in West Yorkshire, about 3 hours’ train ride from London, this is a destination spa that places equal emphasis on wellbeing and the environment.
Solar panels, an outdoor jacuzzi and a vegan menu
As Titanic spa proudly states, “being an eco-friendly spa takes total commitment.” Especially given more than half of global consumers are now concerned about the amount of effort companies put into being environmentally friendly, a recent study by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (OTX) found.
Having invested £1.5 million to create the carbon-neutral facilities, Titanic is powered by photovoltaic panels, which generate renewable energy. But perhaps the most impressive green credential is the natural water source. Located 100m below the spa, this was the original borehole when the building functioned as an Edwardian textile mill. Today, it provides fresh drinking water as well as bathing water for the pools, showers and experience rooms.
As I enjoy a seasonal, vegan lunch of purple beetroot and spinach gnocchi with pea shoots, I catch my first glimpse of the 15m saltwater swimming pool on the other side of the glass. Just outside is a steaming hot tub, full to the brim with loved up couples sipping champagne. I take my chances and run out in the freezing cold, in just a robe and swimsuit, to join them.
As a general rule, I notice the clientele are nearly exclusively couples, so it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re going on your own and after some ‘me time.’
The hot water provides welcome relief, with just the tops of my shoulders subjected to the icy Yorkshire air. The only problem is having to get out to reboot the bubbles every 10 minutes. I guess it’s the shock to the body that was intended.
Speaking of icy air, while exploring the other end of the spa, I discover the heat and ice experience rooms. I had been told the ice room was a must, after baking in the steam room and sauna, as the cold would rebalance my body temperature. I manage it for around 15 seconds before heading back to the jacuzzi for a soak.
Deep tissue massage and a superfood facial good enough to eat
While the facilities are beautiful, I am most excited about the treatments themselves, and they don’t disappoint. First is a deep tissue massage, targeted at muscle pain and tension. As far as massages go, this 55-minute treatment is, hands down, one of the most effective I’ve ever had. I emerge feeling totally serene, my head practically floating on my shoulders, which is a first for me.
Keeping to its eco-reputation, the spa only works with all-natural skincare brands, namely Elemis and Decléor. All ingredients hail from ethically sourced, sustainable origins, have no artificial perfumes and use only pure essential oils. It’s all in the detail, as even the candles in the treatment rooms are made from 100% natural ingredients like soy, coconut and beeswax.
By the time my superfood facial comes around, I am already as ‘zenned’ out as I could have possibly been. The facial is supposed to brighten up a dull complexion, while detoxifying and packing in the nutritional minerals essential for healthy skin.
The treatment is thorough, again lasting an hour, and comprised of numerous exfoliating and massage stages. The best bit is the steaming hot towel pressed against your neck and shoulders as they wait for the oils to seep in – another tiny, reassuring detail that doesn’t go unnoticed.
An apartment in the clouds
For dinner, I have two helpings of the chickpea and sweet potato curry and a glass of New Zealand sauvignon blanc, from a very reasonably priced wine menu, might I add. The menu does offer meat and fish too, with options like pancetta and pesto frittatas and king prawn and red pepper linguini. While both sound delicious, I couldn’t help but think the ‘eco spa’ credentials would be improved upon with an all vegetarian menu.
Having said that, staff were extremely helpful in pointing me towards the vegan options and service was impeccable throughout.
Heading up to my spacious apartment, I jump into a bed far too big for me, exhausted from a long hard day of relaxing.
I’m up on the 5th floor, with a terrace looking out onto the hills and my own apartment complete with kitchen, living room, bedroom and en suite. The décor is a minimal grey, white and beige palette, with hardwood floors and cactus plants on every surface. Titanic have 33 deluxe apartments for overnight stays, and you can opt for either one or two bedrooms depending on the size of your party. Many of the flats feature stylish mezzanines too.
I don’t feel guilty using another towel for my shower either, safe in the knowledge that Titanic use an OTEX energy efficient laundry system. Towels and robes are washed on a cool temperature and directly on site, eliminating unnecessary transport to and from laundry services.
After crashing out around 9pm, I wake unusually early, eager to make the most of the pool on my final morning. As luck would have it, no one is up yet and I can enjoy a final swim in peace.
Where is Titanic Spa?
The spa is in Huddersfield, just south-west of Leeds. You can find it at Low Westwood Ln, Linthwaite, Huddersfield HD7 5UN.
How much is it?
A ‘Spring Spa Day’ is just £109 per person, which includes one 55 Minute Treatment each and access to all facilities.
If you’d rather stay over, an Escape Overnight Break is £159 per person, which consists of one 55 minute treatment each and a night’s accommodation. Lunch, a two-course evening meal and continental breakfast are all included too.
How do you get there?
For the more eco-friendly option, you can get the train up from London, which includes one change-over at Leeds.
Otherwise, the spa is easily accessible by car, with a large car park.
When’s the best time to go?
That is absolutely up to you. Booking in advance is recommended as the spa books up fast, especially for occasions like Mother’s Day in March. I loved going in the winter, as it made the outside hot tub experience extra bracing.
For more information, head to the Titanic spa website