Nikki Wallman discovers a luxurious spa sanctuary that truly defines the idea of a wellness ‘escape’
To get to the Wellness Spa at Milton Park in Bowral, you must first drive up a long road densely lined with majestic trees, and then climb a steep, winding driveway as the stunning historical estate (the spa is part of the luxurious Milton Park Country House Hotel) unfolds before your eyes. Gobsmacked by the gorgeous gardens, awed by the glamorous, Gatsby-esque hotel, you then go further, following the winding path all the way to the stately building tucked high up on the hill with ivy-framed arched windows and a delicious sense that something amazing awaits you inside.
On the rainy spring Highlands afternoon that I arrive at Milton Park’s Wellness Spa I step into the lobby area, shaking the raindrops off my jacket, and immediately feel my shoulders relax. The space is light and warm, with a luxurious fitout befitting a country estate. To my left is a well-equipped gym; to the right, a beautiful plunge pool, steam room and sauna. Tennis courts directly outside the spa are framed by lush greenery (guests have access to all facilities; visitors who are not staying at the hotel can purchase a day pass). I feel as though I’ve joined an exclusive club. I think I could get used to this.
Denise, my lovely therapist, greets me warmly and after a chat about my skin concerns to identify the right products to use in my facial, we get down to some serious indulgence. The spa stocks and uses luxury organic skincare range Sodashi (which you’ll find in other top-notch retreats, including the Blue Mountains’ Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley and Sydney’s Shangri-La Hotel), which is renowned for both its purity and potency. Having identified my skin as sensitive, Denise will be using products from the ‘Calm’ line of Sodashi products, which features plant essences including chamomile, sandalwood, lavender and rose. I’m having the ‘rejuvenate’ package, which suits me perfectly after surviving my first Highlands winter and in dire need of getting ‘summer-ready’.
We kick things off with a relaxing footbath in the soothing, low-lit treatment room I’ll be spending the next two-and-a-half heavenly hours in. Denise applies a body scrub, expertly massaging it over my skin as I feel the dry cells slough off and my muscles sink into a warm, fuzzy state of relaxation. She applies a body mud over the top of the scrub and allows it to work its magic while applying another mud, this time to my hair and scalp. I’m warmly wrapped up, cocoon-like; it’s intensely calming and I almost drift off to sleep (mums with sleep-stealing toddlers – be warned).
Each transition between treatments is seamless, meaning you avoid that disconcerting feeling of being half-asleep and then wrenched out of your reverie by harsh lights, banging doors, or long absences by your therapist.
After a dazed while, Denise directs me to the in-room, candlelit shower to rinse off the mud (it does take a while to get it out of my hair) before re-settling on the heated bed for my marine mineral facial. Thanks to her expert technique, I feel as though waves are rolling over my face as she cleanses, exfoliates, applies a skin-quenching mask, massages in a calming, skin-boosting treatment, followed by an eye-lifting gel and calming moisturiser. After again almost being lulled into a trance, I’m gently stirred from my reverie by Denise informing me it’s time to return to reality. Sipping tea outside in the entrance lobby, I curse myself for not bringing my swimmers – I really could have settled in for the afternoon, wandering between the steam room and plunge pool. Oh well… I guess I’ll just have to come back.
Milton Park Country House Hotel & Spa
Horderns Road, Bowral
Reservations are highly recommended; see miltonpark.com.au/bowral-day-spa for treatment menu.