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Truly special spa

Like the sound of a spa with a heart? Muddy tries the new Shepherd's Hut at The Granary Spa, Ashford. Shhhh...come discover this rustic, down-to-earth retreat.

You know it. I know it. We all need to take time out for ourselves – the knock on health benefits are long-lasting… And making sure you take some ‘me time’ is *so* important – even more so if you are going through illness, divorce, bereavement – or any of the many challenges life can throw at us. And no one is more aware of this than Clare Singleton, owner of The Granary Spa in Great Chart, near Ashford, which is why she has created a different kind of spa – a rustic, down-to-earth retreat – the spa with a heart.

Set in a beautifully restored and converted Victorian granary, and part of the Godinton House Estate, Granary Spa is the antithesis of what I call a high gloss and hard marble kind of spa. It’s rural and rustic and more of a wellbeing centre really. This is no doubt why it was voted Best Spa in Kent by you in the Muddy Stilettos Awards 2018.

The core values of caring for the customer and really looking after you (and I mean genuinely caring) can be felt in the rustic rafters of the place when you walk in the door. I came in, as always, like a spinning top – manic from rushing, jabbering on about childcare and road closures and was immediately soothed by owner Clare’s calming voice which reminded me to lower mine – this is a peaceful place (my story was very boring anyway *sniff*).

I’ve been to this little haven of a spa before, but this time I’m trying out the new Shepherd’s Hut, pictured above, where you can have your treatments. It’s a totally different experience to massage or a facial in a normal treatment room – you’re surrounded by farmland and the noises and feel of this in itself is quite meditative. I was aware of a chicken gently clucking somewhere outside while I drifted off.

Endless hours spent either sitting at my computer, or driving in the car, has given me a collection of shoulder knots so gnarly and grisly that I always feel very sorry for the masseuse giving me the treatment – often so perky and hopeful at the beginning of the treatment, resigned to defeat by the end.

However the very lovely and experienced therapist Sharleen, that did my massage was excellent and had some success where few have managed before – I don’t think it would be any exaggeration to say I left two inches taller after she released some of the tension.In fact all the staff I came across were all very caring and attentive. Some spas are a bit sterile and, well, a bit snooty, if I’m honest (even if they pretend not to be). But this place takes a holistic approach – it’s top concern being your overall wellbeing. And the result is a truly tranquil space, from treatment rooms on the ground floor to the relaxation area upstairs, where you can unwind with tea and a book in either a human touch massage chair or ergonomically designed recliner.The team here, I feel, would definitely go the extra mile for a client. Clare wants everyone to feel welcome. For some time now she’s been opening her doors to clients with learning disabilities, brain injury or cancer when no one else would treat them because of all the paperwork involved. Now she has become so highly regarded that top medical consultants work closely along side her.

Clare says: ‘We do offer waxing and nail treatments just like any other spa, but the core of what we do here is all about the clients’ wellbeing.’

This sentiment permeates everything – many of the accessories, while tastefully put together are recycled or donated by clients and the local community. What she has created here is a special space – you can feel the caring and compassion in the very rafters. And in that vein, if you like your spas white and glossy, slick and stylish, then The Granary Spa is not for you.

But if you’re like me and have a back more knotted than a sailor’s constrictor knot, or if you just genuinely need some TLC – (or maybe you know someone who does – this would make a great present for a friend), this Shepherd’s Hut experiece will really hit the spot.

Oh and these little fellas, below, just add to the magic too, of course.

The Granary Spa, Worten Lower Yard, Worten Lane, Great Chart, Ashford TN23 3BU, Tel: thegranaryspa.co.uk

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