The bed is heated, the fluffy towels are comforting, and the soothing music, married with the dimmed lighting, light scent of herbal oils and general atmosphere of calm is making you drift off. I believe this is heaven.
It sounds fantastical, but such a place exists. In the bustling city centre, in the Bullring, in one of the most recognised British stores - Debenhams - lies the Clarins Spa, where customers come to understand the true meaning of relaxation.
Clarins is a well-known beauty brand and their products are at the top end of luxurious skincare. I have, however, always been sceptical of the claims such brands make. So sceptical I decided to put Clarins to the test - I had a facial.
To start with, the room has low but adjustable lighting and faint 'zen' music is playing. Before you begin your treatment the therapist asks you to remove your shoes, socks and top, and either take your bra off or pull your straps down. Once she had exited the room I decided to suss out the gimmicks, but I couldn't find any. It was clean, calming, and I wanted to jump on the towel covered bed.
My masseus returned with a smile, which is refreshing when a lot of therapists are the moody type. You know the kind; pinched face and too much make up. Thankfully that stereotype was nowhere to be seen in this little oasis. My therapist, Melissa Blackman, was a darling.
I had the tri-active facial. It is the most indulgent facial on their list and it suited my skin type ('combination', however I describe it as 'normal with a few blemishes every so often'). This type of facial normally suits older skin types, but it's a great for all skin types, especially if you want to feel pampered.
What happened: My skin was cleansed, massaged, and gently but thoroughly exfoliated with both a skin polisher and a hot flannel. A mask was applied, as was cleanser, toner (Eau Dynamisante, which is a lightly fragranced skin refresher), and moisturiser. Clarins, but specifically therapist Melissa, really pamper you.
I also received a gentle head massage and a shoulder, chest, and hand and feet massage; the tri-active facial is the whole package. It is an hour long facial but the whole treatment is an hour and a half. Initially the therapist takes 5-10 minutes discussing any issues/problem areas and concerns with your treatment, and post-treatment your therapist discusses the facial, addresses enquiries if you have any further skin concerns, and offers you a glass of water. By the time you've changed back into your clothes and paid for the facial, half an hour has passed. Time truly flies when you're having fun.
The result? My skin was glowing - I mean, it was literally glowing. I looked relaxed and refreshed, and two days later my skin still felt baby soft and retained that youthful 'I'm naturally dewy' look. Happy girly indeed.
If you're still thinking, in spite of the above reasons, why bother? You should treat yourself because it's so damn calming, and you transform from the harried city dweller that entered, to a centred, happy human being. Everyone deserves a bit of luxury, especially if you're a hard working individual who is carrying daily stresses on your shoulders. Melissa is excellent at getting knots out of your back, and upper shoulders (yes I had a cheeky massage too - I had to, solely for journalistic purposes).
Did I mention the heated bed? It was so nice; my back muscles really relaxed, and you can feel your whole body unwind as the heat warms you up and makes the experience more dream-like.
Treatments in the spa start from £23 for a make up session, to most expensive, £65, which applies to a variety of treatments.
They have seasonal offers, too, so see the website for details or pop in and ask for Melissa. She's the hot-handed, gentle but firm therapist who isn't afraid to share a joke with the customer and recommend products that are within your budget. Vouchers are also available and they make great presents for your loved ones.