Review: The Clifford Day Spa

I love a good spa day, however these days, it’s rare I come across a spa package that I can reasonably afford.

With most spa packages costing £50+ just for spa access, when I came across The Clifford Day Spa with packages for ~£40 that included spa access, a treatment, and lunch, it seemed too good to be true.

Of course, I did my due diligence before I bought my vouchers, and checked out the reviews on TripAdvisor and Facebook. The reviews were good – with, as you’d expect, the odd reviewer having a negative experience – so I went ahead and booked myself a spa day.

The Clifford Day Spa – My Purchases

To date, I’ve visited The Clifford Day Spa twice now. The first time, I purchased a voucher from one of their many sales for £35, which included 5 hours of spa access, a 25-minute treatment, and lunch.

Upon leaving, I grabbed the In House Rebook Offer for £45, which included 5 hours of spa access, a 50-minute treatment, lunch, and robe and towel hire. I know, I’m a sucker for a deal, but this offer was pretty good given similar packages were (and still are) going for £50-£65. More on that weird pricing later.

I should note that I bought both of these vouchers while they were on offer. The Clifford Day Spa runs regular sales through their website and Facebook where packages are regularly discounted to roughly half price.

About The Clifford Day Spa

The Clifford Day Spa is based in Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire, and is one half of The Clifford Health Club and Spa. The “Fire and Ice” spa facilities include a 22-meter swimming pool, two hydrotherapy pools, nine different hot and cold experience rooms, treatment rooms, a dry relaxation area, and showers.

My Experience at The Clifford Day Spa

As I’ve been twice, I’ll be collating both experiences into one review, as I felt on the second visit a few things had changed.

Booking

The first thing to note with The Clifford Day Spa is that it books up really quickly.

I called in early December to book my spa day shortly before Christmas, but the earliest available date I could get was the end of January – and even then, I was advised there weren’t many dates and times left. Luckily, there was a day slot (9am-2pm) available on the 31st January, which was the day before my photoshoot, so I snapped that slot up.

I asked if I could also book in a pedicure, but I was told that there were no available treatment slots left.

Despite my spa day offer having a 50-minute treatment included, I wasn’t given any information about what treatments were included or asked what treatment I’d like to book.

I wasn’t all that surprised, in all fairness, given that the first time I went to The Clifford Day Spa I was asked what treatment I wanted when I booked, but my therapist wasn’t given that information so I was asked again when I was already in the treatment room. 

I got sent a confirmation email with the address of the spa, parking details, and my treatment time to the email address I already had on file with them, and everything was set. 

Although, weirdly, my appointment reminder email was sent to a different email address – the address I used to buy my friend a spa voucher for Christmas. Not too sure what happened there.

Facilities

For the price, The Clifford Day Spa offers a lot in terms of facilities.

However, one of the major things that this business lacks is accessibility. While most of the facilities are on the ground level of the building, some of the treatment rooms and part of the café is up a flight of stairs, which may not be suitable for folks who use mobility aids.

I’m not sure what aids The Clifford Day Spa have available to help people to access the swimming pool and hydrobaths, as there’s no information available on the website.

Only a few of the hot and cold rooms look big enough for wheelchair users, and people who use other mobility aids may struggle to access these rooms.

While generally the main spa area itself is spacious, there are some parts of the spa that aren’t fat-friendly.

The toilets are small and the doors open inwards, which meant getting out of them was a bit of a squeeze. There’s only one spacious toilet, which is the single disabled toilet in the changing rooms.

The more modern foot spa area also has divisions between each person’s space on the bench, which might be uncomfortable for people with larger bodies.

Changing Rooms

The changing rooms are clean, modern, and spacious.

There’s plenty of locker space for everyone, but the lockers require padlocks, which you can get from reception. However, I’ve seen some reviews saying that if you have a key for one of the provided padlocks, you can unlock any of the others, which is why I brought my own this time. 

The showers are huge, with massive waterfall showerheads. The spa only provides body wash in the showers, so remember to pack your haircare products. 

Showers

There are five showers dotted around the spa area, with three right by the pool and two next to the third hydrotherapy pool.

The three by the pool are spacious and allow you to choose between a tropical or ice experience. The warm, tropical experience shower was a lovely start to my spa experience and warmed me up nicely. 

One of the showers by the pool offers an ice bucket experience, and the other is a generic warm spa shower.

When I went at the end of January, two showers were out of order. One of them was closed off with a sign (that was taken away, despite the shower not being fixed) with the other being worked on while I was there. 

Pools

The Clifford Day Spa has three pools.

The biggest of the three is the 22-metre swimming pool, which has four lanes for gentle swimming. Right next to it is the first of the two hydrotherapy pools, while the third (and largest) hydrotherapy pool is located near the cafe and treatment rooms. 

I spent a lot of time in the larger hydrotherapy pools as the jets are perfectly located to work my shoulder muscles and give them a gentle massage.

Unlike other hydrotherapy pools I’ve been in, the water is warm but not too hot, and it’s spacious enough that I can have my own space as I relax. The third pool has twinkling blue LEDs set into the ceiling, creating a gentle, relaxing atmosphere.

The Treatment Area

The spa treatment area is about what I’d expect from a budget spa.

There are sofas dotted around in the first room, and there’s a second, slightly larger room with newer sofas for busy periods. I was shown through to the Dry Relaxation Area when I was waiting for my treatment, which is another room off to the side of the reception.

This quiet room features tiled, heated loungers and cushioned, adjustable rattan loungers. The room is dimly lit with gentle spa music floating through it, and its a lovely place to relax before and after your treatment.

I think this room would benefit from a water fountain so you can get something to drink while you’re relaxing, because the closest available place to get a drink is either the café or one of the two water fountains in the main spa area.

The treatment rooms themselves are pretty basic, but that’s not all that surprising.

The beds are comfortable, the towels are soft, and they’re comfortably warm, which really is everything you need from a treatment room. Unfortunately, while I was having my massage, the sound system kept skipping, which was pretty distracting when I was trying to relax. It’s small things like this that the more expensive spas think about, but perhaps come as a second thought for more budget spa experiences.

Experience Rooms

If you like saunas, steam rooms, and aromatherapy, The Clifford Day Spa has a lot to offer.

There are nine experience rooms to choose from across the spa, with two saunas, ice, aromatherapy steam, crystal, salt, infrared, rose-scented, and herbal rooms. Personally I don’t like these kinds of rooms I can’t really comment on how these shape up next to their more expensive counterparts. 

Foot Spas

There are two foot spa experiences in The Clifford Day Spa with space for six people each.

The first, which is right by the doors to the women’s’ changing rooms, is the more modern of the two, and only requires the press of a button to work. Confusingly, there’s no sign it actually works until the basins start to fill a minute or two after you’ve pressed it.

While on my first visit these foot spas were the highlight of my time there, this time they weren’t anywhere near as good. The water was lukewarm at best, and the basins only filled with just enough water to cover the tops of my feet. Oddly enough, it seems like every basin fills to a different height.

The second foot spa area is quite dated now. The basins are manual, which does give you more control over the temperature and amount of water you use, but I found you were constantly refilling them every minute or so when they were running due to the amount of water that splashed out the sides and ill-fitting plugs.

I didn’t actually use this foot spa area this time as only two basins actually had plugs, and because they aren’t auto-draining like the others, people were using them and neglecting to drain the water. 

Loungers 

Dotted around the spa area are tiled, heated loungers, which are perhaps my favourite feature of The Clifford Day Spa.

The heat isn’t overwhelming, but it’s more a gentle, comforting warmth. Because I go to the spa alone, I spend the vast majority of my time on a lounger with a book in hand.

There’s also a few rattan chairs outside the spa experience rooms, but the loungers are by far the best option for relaxing in. 

Treatments

Compared to other day spas, the treatment menu is pretty sparse.

The Clifford Day Spa offers a variety of different massages, facials, manicures, and pedicures, as well as waxing and tinting. There’s not all that much variety, so if you like spending more time in the treatment room than you do in the facilities, then you might be better served at another spa. 

The first time I visited, I had a 25-minute treatment, and I chose a back massage. I was shown to one of the newer treatment rooms on the upper floor, but it was during the heatwave in August 2019 and the aircon wasn’t working, so the room was filled with fans and the therapist asked if she could keep the door cracked open. I can’t fault the quality of the back massage, but she did keep trying to talk to me throughout, which was pretty uncomfortable. 

This time, I had a 50-minute treatment, and when I was shown to the room my therapist asked if I knew what I wanted, so I asked what options I had.

I opted for a back massage and facial (as even though it was over a day before my shoot, I was terrified of the massage oils affecting my grip).  

The back massage was lovely, and my therapist only spoke to me to make sure that I was happy with the pressure. I’d asked for heavy pressure, but not quite sports massage level, and she delivered that beautifully. 

The facial was really relaxing and left my skin practically glowing. Despite being on the tail end of a nasty breakout, I felt like it set my skin back to normal. Plus, because I’d mentioned that my shoulders were tight, my therapist spent a little time massaging the tops of my shoulders while my face mask was working, which was super relaxing. 

For the price, I can’t fault the treatments at all.

The therapists are definitely all skilled at what they do, even if some of them don’t have the bedside manner you’d expect at the spa. Still, the therapist I saw was lovely, and she really helped make my experience at The Clifford Day Spa even more relaxing. 

The Waterfall Cafe

As part of my spa day package I had afternoon tea, which was served in the Waterfall Café, aptly named for the huge waterfall wall that spans the length of the room.

There are loungers on the lower floor, while the upper floor is reserved for spa guests having afternoon tea. After being greeted, asked if I had any allergies or dietary requirements, before I was told where my table was and made myself comfortable (well, as comfortable as you can get as a fat person on plastic chairs).

Despite my afternoon tea being booked for 12pm, it wasn’t all that busy, and service was prompt.

The afternoon tea itself doesn’t look huge, but it’s enough to fill you without making you feel uncomfortable. You get the equivalent of one full sandwich, cut into quarters with different fillings – I had egg and cress, ham salad, cheese salad, and cream cheese and cucumber – two cakes, and a scone with jam and cream. 

The afternoon tea isn’t really the kind you write home about.

As with many aspects of The Clifford Day Spa, it’s the basic level of expectation you’d have for the price.

Customer Service

The customer service at The Clifford Day Spa is fine, but it does have its faults in places.

Every member of staff I’ve talked with throughout both of my spa day experiences has been kind, attentive, and professional. On my first visit I was given a tour of the facilities, and on my second I was asked if I needed any help finding anything. 

I think the only thing that’s lacking in this area is communication between different teams and areas – and communication with the customer.

As I mentioned earlier, the first time I went I booked in a back massage, but this information wasn’t passed on to the spa therapist. This time, I wasn’t told what treatments I could choose from when I booked, and when I asked my therapist, she gave me a vague list of the things I could choose from. While I don’t regret what I chose, it would have been nice to know what options I had.

As I mentioned previously, the booking procedure can be confusing, and I get the feeling it really depends on the person you’re talking to on the end of the phone.

When I booked in my first visit, all I was given was my treatment time, and I had to email them to ask what time I was supposed to be arriving and if robe and towel hire was included, because there was no information given on the website. However this time, I knew what to expect, and the woman who answered the phone did tell me what time to arrive and leave by.

Cleanliness

In terms of cleanliness, The Clifford Day Spa is perhaps the minimum level of clean you’d expect.

On my last visit, one of the showers in the changing rooms had muddy footprints across the floor, and the single hand dryer looked like it hadn’t had a wipe down in a while.

The actual spa area, café, and treatment area felt comfortably clean, but I think because some parts of The Clifford Day Spa don’t have the polished interior of more upscale spas, it feels less well maintained.

The older parts of the facilities (like the old foot spa area) feel more worn and, when people don’t empty out their used basins, grimy. 

In Summary

The Clifford Day Spa is a great budget spa option in Nottinghamshire.

If you’re after pampering at an affordable price, you can’t go too far wrong here, but I’d recommend keeping an eye on their social media channels as they have frequent sales on their packages to get people through the door.

These constant sales do mean that peak times get busy – on my first visit, I went on a Saturday, and it was packed – and you also have to book quite far in advance.

There’s also no guarantee you’ll be able to book in treatments that don’t come with your package, as I think there’s a lot of focus on getting as many people through the door as possible. I tried to book a pedicure alongside my treatment, and was told there were no more treatment slots available that day.

If you’re going alone, the heated loungers are fantastic for spending your time with a good book, but if you’re going in a group you might find you get split up if you try the experience rooms – some of them only fit two to three people.

Personally, both times I visited I felt I got good value for money, and for the quality of the facilities, treatment, and refreshment, I wouldn’t have wanted to pay much more.

You definitely need to look at what package you’re buying closely, and compare them with other packages.

There’s currently a spa package on the website for £69 for spa access and 45 minutes of treatment, but then the package right next to it on the page is £65 for spa access, 50 minutes of treatment, and afternoon tea. Some of the pricing doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Plus, most of the time you can get the exact same package for cheaper if you wait for one of their regular sales.

While it definitely feels more commercial than other spas, I’ve never had the awkward upsell you get after your spa treatment.

It’s never fun when they tell you all about everything they’ve used on you, and you have to pretend you’re interested, even though you know you’re not going to spend £35 on a new cleanser that you’ll inevitably forget to use. Or maybe that’s just me.

If you have any additional needs, please get in touch with The Clifford Day Spa before you visit.

My interpretation of their accessibility is based on sight alone, given that there’s no information on the website and I’ve never asked for what assistance they have in place. There’s aspects of the spa that seem to be inaccessable (or difficult to access) if you have a large body or need to use a mobility aid, but with limited experience my interpretation may be inaccurate.

All in all, though, I’m looking forward to visiting The Clifford Day Spa again in the future.

It’s a great place to while away a few hours by yourself at a price point that doesn’t make you feel guilty for not using everything you can.

The afternoon tea is nice, the facilities are cosy, and it’s a very relaxing place to be.


Do you have any spas you like to visit? Want to drop me a recommendation? Join the conversation over on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

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