Daylesford, the Spa Centre

Daylesford is a fantasy location for pampering, but does it live up to expectations? Catherine Kladakis road tests  day spas and wellness retreats.

Peppers Springs Mineral Spa Wellness Retreat:
The Li’Tya Wrap.

The native bush leaves are lit and their pungent, smoky scent drifts into the room, carrying the calming vibrations of the Didgeridoo weaved with ethereal chant rising through the air.
I am immersed in Dreamtime, lying in the comfort of Peppers Spring’s multi-award winning Mineral Spa.
The mud wrap and soft pak bed treatment I am about to have applied is unique to Pepper Springs.

Li’Tya, a range of skincare products, employs the Aboriginal healing knowledge in their making.

Native Australian plant essences such as blue gum honey, pepper berry and lilly pilly are used.

The Li’Tya wrap would be applied whilst enveloped in a soft pak bed which is unavailable anywhere else in the Southern Hemisphere.
To begin with I was offered three jars to sample.

Apparently my body would ‘choose the one it needed’. I chose The Detox, a cooling body mud that was massaged into my body, along with a Tasmanian kelp hydrating facial mask.

Here is where it gets even more interesting – I was wrapped in re-birthing cocoon that was filled with water, then the surface that was initially supporting me started to dissipate and I was lowered into a bed of warm water below, while never actually getting wet.
The Peppers Springs people described the treatment like being ‘cradled in heavenly hammock.’

I have to admit, they were right, I floated into Nirvana.
Mineral Spa’s water therapy area is equally exciting.

The Retreat, provides hot and cool mineral water plunge and spa pools and a relaxation deck overlooking European designed gardens.

Their Chi Foot machine, which hypnotically moves your feet side to side, is equivalent to the oxygenation from a 90 minute brisk walk!

Peppers Springs Mineral Spa Wellness Retreat is a pocket of heaven in Victoria

Daylesford Day Spa:
The Organic Shea butter massage wrap

My treatment began using Daylesford Day Spa’s divinely scented organic lavender Shea butter, which was massaged in a Swedish style over my body.

It was just what I needed. The therapist intuitively focused on the areas of my back that needed the most attention, applying just the right amount of pressure.

The butter was allowed to soak and she wrapped me in a warm cotton wrap, before proceeding to massage my scalp. I felt warm and nourished and my (editor-generated) tension headache evaporated.

After rinsing off the Shea butter with a warm towel, she used her hands to melt deliciously smelling vanilla custard into my skin.
Following the treatment, I was led to the waiting room where I was offered a mix of nuts, dried fruit and white chocolate pieces, a delicious and re-energising finish.

Daylesford Day Spa is a sanctuary to escape to when you want out from the pressures of the world. The spa room, which radiates with a pleasant ambience, was especially relaxing.

The 2009 Victorian Tourism Award winning spa offers a range of massage treatments such as bamboo, and luscious beauty treatments including a milk and honey wrap and a chocolate decadence package.

This begins with a vanilla hydrotherapy spa, a relaxation massage, a divine truffle exfoliating scrub and a chocolate fondue mud masque…yumm!

I think I’ll be trying this next time.

Endota Spa Daylesford:
The Spirit massage.

Endota Spa is Australia’s largest Australian-owned spa network; one that prides itself on its all-Australian organic body treatments, and nurturing organic skin care.

My heightened expectations were met.
The first thing I noticed was the friendly and warm staff. My therapist Sophie went out of her way to ask me how I was and to ensure that my foot spa was the right temperature.

I had originally planned to have Endota’s stand out treatment: Drenched; a billabong footbath, river salt and desert lime body soak in the spa bath, a honey exfoliate and yogurt cocoon, and a calming scalp massage.

But given I already had an exfoliating treatment that day, she willingly offered Endota’s Spirit Massage treatment as an alternative, despite the fact that the products were already mixed up and the spa bath was ready to go.

The treatment began with a shiatsu inspired full body massage to get my chi energy going. The massage used firm movements and although not as relaxing as the Swedish massage, I felt as though it was doing something good for my body.
The aromas and textures of the Endota products were amazing; she applied a beautiful Everything’s Roses body balm to my temples and palms, then massaged my long neglected feet followed by a foot mask.

The highlight was the olive and macadamia hot oil scalp massage. Not only is it a treat for dry hair, but it was so relaxing that I was seeing stars quite literally.

Upon opening your eyes there are twinkling lights in the ceiling, which elicits that calm ‘look up at the starry night’ feeling. If you like variety in your treatments, and want to be taken on a sensory journey, Spirit is for you.

Just ensure you have time to go to your accommodation and wash your hair if you are going anywhere special that night, unlike me who donned a ‘very stylish’ oil up-do to my next stop: Lake House Restaurant!

Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa:
The Private Mineral Bath

If you are after modernity, spaciousness and luxury, look no further. Fresh from its latest multi-million dollar renovation, the 1895 Hepburn Bathhouse boasts state of the art facilities including a mineral water relaxation pool and spa pool and a more secluded area known as The Sanctuary, which features under water spa couches, an aroma steam room and a salt therapy pool.

I opted for the more secluded experience of indulgent bathing, a 45 minute DIY treatment combined with a soak in a mineral water bath.

On entering my private room I was greeted with three Thalgo Spa products, a Precious Milk bath additive to soften the water, an exfoliating scrub and a moisturiser to finish.

These baths are filled with 100 percent mineral water from the region – claimed to have the amazing therapeutic benefits of muscle relaxation, immune system stimulation, and help with the absorption of precious minerals through the skin.
Did it live up to the claims?

Admittedly, I felt instantly grounded by the concrete tub and blissfully relaxed by the bubbling water.

The Bathhouse mineral relaxation pool, which has a stronger current and space to move around, is a must and definitely worth the trip from Melbourne.
With 30 private treatment rooms, it is hard to go past the Spa which offers everything from velvet collagen facials, to aroma stone massage, and even a detoxing ‘cocoon treatment’.

Using Thalgo and Sodashi, many of the Spa’s treatments include plant essences and the curative properties of the marine universe.

Men will love the Soul Man treatment, an invigorating tailored two hour treatment that includes a salt back scrub, a tailored deep cleansing facial, and a chance to soothe those tired feet with an arnica and peppermint foot massage.