Checking in for a day at Serenity Spa is like checking out from the daily grind. On a rare Wednesday off work, my friend and I took advantage of one of the mid-week spa offerings at this tranquil haven in Seaham, which gives you use of the spa, a two-course lunch in Ozone and a 45-minute signature massage from £89 each.
As an added bonus, the deal also gives you use of the fitness suite and access to classes, so we kicked off our wellness-themed Wednesday with a yoga session. Flexibility is not my forte, but our instructor Jasmine was great at giving us one-to-one guidance on our breathing technique and strength, which helped us to flow between the positions. Warrior pose mastered (sort of), we headed for lunch at the spa’s restaurant Ozone. It’s an oft-forgotten restaurant choice in the region – remember you don’t have be a hotel resident or spa user to eat there. But it really deserves a higher profile with its smart, contemporary Asian decor and rich red hues, centred around a feature island bar, and views overlooking the hotel’s perfectly-manicured grounds.
The menu is equally stylish and offers an authentic flavour of the colourful culture of the Far East, with dishes such as Thai yellow curry (£15) and crispy octopus salad (£15 as a main). It feels special, but not stuffy. So much so, the bulk of the lunchtime diners got stuck in while still in their robes and slippers. Feeling at home in my Terry towelling, I chose the pork char sui steamed buns with pickled radish and salted cucumber to start (£8). I’ve got a soft spot for these silky steamed Chinese buns but haven’t found them on many menus in the area. They were executed perfectly here: their springy texture contrasting well with the tender pork.
I was equally impressed with my mains of Thai style beef salad (£15), which was served beautifully rare, the buttery pink meat contrasting well with a zingy chilli-lime dressing and salad with hints of mint in a medley of flavours. One of the best Asian dishes I’ve had in a long time, it was surprisingly refreshing and left me satisfied without feeling heavy ahead of an afternoon dipping between the spa’s hydrotherapy pool, salt sauna, outdoor hot tubs and more. Unlike other spas in the area, you can’t drink alcohol in the wet areas of the spa, but as our aim of the day was to escape and recharge, it only added to the calm.
We rounded off our afternoon of indulgence by ramping up the relaxation with a massage. The spa has recently teamed up with premium brand Temple Spa and I had a prescriptive facial and massage where oils and aromas from the range are used to fit your mood.
After all that pampering, my mood was ‘please don’t send me back to the real world’ and I could have quite happily spent all night on the massage bed. If only all Wednesdays could be like this.