Luxury Self-Care: Enjoy a Spa Experience.

“Located in the newly refurbished Olympia Leisure Center , Spa Experience is the perfect place for inner-city relaxation. Having lived in West Belfast for a number of years, I’m well aware of The Boucher Road’s appeal to shoppers and gym bunnies. The addition of a spa within the Olympia is perfect and provides a much-needed addition to the multitude of shops, car retailers, gyms and restaurants that can be found along the strip.

**Please note that the treatment received and access to the thermal spa were courtesy of Spa Experience. This is an honest review of my experience. Full Disclaimer.

“Located in the newly refurbished Olympia Leisure Center, Spa Experience is the perfect place for inner-city relaxation. Having lived in West Belfast for a number of years, I’m well aware of The Boucher Road’s appeal to shoppers and gym bunnies. The addition of a spa within the Olympia is perfect and provides a much-needed addition to the multitude of shops, car retailers, gyms and restaurants that can be found along the strip.

I’m very lucky to have been given the opportunity by Spa Experience to attend their Thermal Spa located on Boucher Road, Belfast. Having been a local to Belfast for over four years, I remember the Olympia long before its refurbishment. While the former leisure centre had many facilities, it was long due an update! When I learned of the addition of a Spa I was over the moon! A spa right on my doorstep? Yes, please!

I’d expected an average post-gym spa set-up with a jacuzzi in one corner, and a steam room in the other. What I wasn’t expecting was a full-on Thermal spa, complete with a variety of treatments for you to choose from.

Update: It’s been three years since my first visit to Spa Experience, and my husband and I have since returned. I’m happy to report that I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, than the first time. And I’m soon to visit again.

Image from Ulster Tatler

The Crown to Sole Treatment.

As I wanted something specifically for my feet, I opted for the Crown to Sole treatment. This treatment involved not only the feet but also the head, shoulders and face.

I have to admit this was my first time experiencing a facial. Although nervous because I’m used to having treatment on my back and shoulders, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll certainly be treating myself to more facials in the future!

Before beginning the treatment, my massage therapist took the time to explain the concept of the message to me and ensured the bed temperature was to my liking.

The treatment began with a cleansing foot and leg exfoliation, followed by a soothing massage of the same areas. There’s an added element of reflexology used, with various pressure points of the foot being manipulated to release tension. Finally, attention is moved to the crown, neck, and shoulders. These are massaged using a variety of signature oils leaving you feeling relaxed and ready to fall asleep right there on the table.

It was a very calming experience, and one I would certainly go for again. On a few occasions, I could feel myself nodding off to sleep which, although not an uncommon experience, was certainly surprising as I’m usually hyper-aware of my surroundings.

The Thermal Spa Experience.

The Thermal Spa at this particular location (Belfast, Boucher Road) consisted of the following facilities:

A jacuzzi. Sometimes known as a hydrotherapy pool.

On the particular day of my visit, the jacuzzi wasn’t quite heated to a warm enough temperature for me. It was no fault of the facility, rather the cleaning company had arrived late and therefore the jacuzzi wasn’t completely ready in time for opening. These things happen and I’m not a jacuzzi fan anyway. With that being said, my partner and I expect to return in the next few weeks, so I can always give it a go then.

For those of you who may not be overly familiar with spas, a jacuzzi (or hydrotherapy pool) acts by warming up and massaging the muscles by using a combination of heat and pressure jets. The purpose is to relax aching and stiff muscles to allow for relaxation and relief.

The monsoon showers, also known as experience showers.

These showers are designed to rapidly heat you up or cool you down, depending on your preference. There were two available and a suspicious (but fun) looking ‘dunk’ shower. The showers could be used with a variety of settings ranging from a rain-head downpour to a regular water stream.

The ‘dunk’ shower resembled a rustic wooden bucket filled with, I’m assuming, cold water. By pulling the handle the bucket would quickly tip, dunking you with water.

Personally, I didn’t use this because the thought of being dunked in cold water is not my idea of relaxation. However, I happened to witness a few guests using it and my assumption of cold water is based solely on their reactions.

Check out this post for some of the best spa days near you?

The ice cave & ice fountain.

The ice cave is used to cool the body down after a stay in the sauna, steam room or sanarium. Cold air works by contracting the blood vessels, stimulating the circulation system and promoting oxygen uptake.

The ice fountain contains actual chunks of ice which are intended to be rubbed directly onto the body.

The Sauna.

The sauna is designed to make the body sweat. This helps remove toxins, clears the skin and cleanses the pores. In order to get the ultimate experience, it’s suggested that the time spent in the sauna is to be followed by a trip to the ice cave.

The Sanarium.

Not to be confused with the sauna, the sanarium relies on a more humid form of heat. The temperature isn’t quite as hot as a traditional sauna, but due to the humidity, it still feels just as hot. By using the sanarium you’re promoting healthy circulation, and helping to alleviate symptoms of circulatory problems.

I also find the heat in these various rooms helpful for muscle aches and pains. If like me you’re hunched over a laptop for over 15 hours a day, then you’ll be aware of the joys of shoulder and wrist pain. My trip to the spa has done wonders for relieving the build-up tension in those muscles, leaving me able to continue working with minimal disruption.

Heated tile loungers for relaxing, reading or snoozing.

Tile Loungers are a common theme in many of the spas that I’ve visited. They’re similar to a chaise lounge in shape but with the addition of heated tiles for you to lay back and relax. If you have a sensitive behind or shoulders, I would suggest strategically placing your towel or gown to relieve pressure when lying back. I learned this during my first visit to a spa and it’s saved me from aching muscles ever since.

It may seem strange to say, but heated loungers are my favorite thing to see in any spa. I had so much time to spend in the thermal spa that it encouraged me to kick back and curl up with a good book. We don’t often get the time or peace to enjoy doing nothing in our daily lives. So going somewhere like Spa Experience really helps us reconnect with ourselves. The addition of a ‘Mobile Phone’ ban really adds to the tranquillity and encourages a much-needed digital detox.

Have you been to Spa Experience?

Have you ever had the opportunity to visit a Spa experience location or a thermal spa? What were your thoughts?

Want to get the Spa Experience for yourself? They have locations in Hertfordshire, London, Northern Ireland, and Surrey! There are a variety of packages and treatments for you to choose from, and be sure to get out of their promotions.


  1. Thank you so much for reading! It was honestly amazing and I would recommend going for a massage to help you relax and unwind. I’m lucky I came across this place because their prices are nothing compared to other spas I’ve looked at. I’ll definitely be going back to them!

  2. Oh my goodness, this sounds AMAZING and so relaxing! As someone who seems to be so anxious all the time, a massage is such a rare treat but it’s so helpful since it seems like my anxiety seems to set in my shoulder and neck muscles. So when you were describing your massage, I was almost literally melting just thinking about having that done to me! Plus I’m jealous that you got a facial. I’ve always wanted to get one and I’m sure your skin was glowing afterwards! What an amazing experience! I’d love to try those heated tile loungers- I’ve never heard of them before. Now I’m going to try to look for a spa like this near me! Such a fun post! Thanks for sharing!

    Emily |

  3. Ok, now I want to have a spa day! I’ve been hearing a lot about thermal spas lately, so I’ll definitely need to see if there is one in my area!

  4. I’m really curious to check out a thermal spa. It sounds so relaxing and invigorating, both of which I could use right now.

  5. I’ve been to a regular spa but not a thermal one. Sounds really relaxing and I would love to try one out.

  6. You don’t always have to. You can experience either separately but I just loved being able to continue my relaxation rather than jumping in my car and traveling home πŸ™‚

  7. I’m in the same boat as you. I second guess ‘Do I need this? Wouldn’t this be better put towards gas or oil?’. I constantly take things out of my cart and hold back on things I, in reality, need just to feel loved or relaxed. I struggle with this every day despite telling others to put themselves first. But that’s just years of ‘self-care is selfish’ talk. It won’t go away overnight.

    It’ not hypocritical per-say. Yes we’re telling others to do what we find difficult to do for ourselves, but at least we know that we find it hard to do and that we need it. It shows we’re at least trying to make a change, you know?

  8. Definitely get yourself one, or even ask for it for Christmas. It’s a great way to give back to yourself. Not always the cheapest but sometimes we have to be good to ourselves, you know?

  9. That spa looks so relaxing! Regular massage helps prevent me from getting headaches so I’m all for it. I’ve not been to a spa with an ice fountain before. How neat!

  10. It has been nearly a year since I got a crown to sole treatment. I think I will be asking my kids for another one for Christmas!!!

  11. This place sounds so relaxing. I like that they take their time to explain the process and ask if the temperature is okay. Being comfortable is part of the experience. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Oh WOW, this sounds incredible! I have a big guilt factor over spa type self care (which makes me a huge hypocrite, I know) but I can’t seem to spend the money on myself. I’ve wanted a massage for so long, partly because of painful shoulders. The crown to sole option is a good one. I’d love a heated lounger at home, especially right about now as it’s freezing ???? Such a shame I’m in England because this place seems to have it all! Fab review!
    Caz xx

  13. I would love to have the same spa experience. I like that you can combine the use of the spa with a treatment, and you can relax after your massage has ended.

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