Georgette McCready visits the UK’s first L’Occitane spa at The Bath Priory Hotel

The low winter’s sun casts a watery grey light over the ancient cedar tree on the lawns of the Bath Priory Hotel. It’s hard to imagine that this is the same golden sun that warms the earth and blesses the fragrant herbs and flowers of Provence in the south of France – home of lavender fields, orange groves and almond trees.

Luckily for us, here in winter-bound Bath, we’re now able to step straight into that bone-warming, restorative Provençal heat, thanks to the opening of the new L’Occitane spa at the award-winning Bath Priory Hotel. In keeping with the rest of the hotel, the atmosphere and welcome at the newly refurbished Garden Spa is reminiscent of arriving at a private country house. The staff and the ambience are adept at making you feel relaxed, encouraging you to slip off your coat and make yourself at home.

And on a day when the rest of the world was wearing its acrylic Christmas jumper and suffering yet another rendition of Santa Baby, I can’t begin to tell you how good it felt to step into the indoor pool at the spa and feel weightlessly at ease in the warm waters. If you book in for an afternoon you can enjoy all the facilities at this small but perfectly formed spa, beautifully designed and equiped with sauna, steam room, loungers and views across the gardens.

My therapist for the day was Chloe, who began with a ritual of gently washing and drying my feet. This was the first step to properly unwinding. My treatment of choice for the day was a shea ultra rich moisturising body wrap (45 minutes, £65 mid-week) using all those gorgeous L’Occitane products that smell so divine and are made from wholesome, natural ingredients.

My skin was thoroughly pampered and gently moisturised before I was cocooned like a cosy caterpillar in warm blankets, while, thanks to Chloe, an expert head massage finished the process of complete and utter relaxation. My skin did feel soft and nourished the next day too.

The whole process was unhurried, calm and shamelessly indulgent. Afterwards, still in a warm glow, I lounged in the relaxation room with a herbal tea, looking out across the wintery gardens but thinking very sunny thoughts indeed.

Be among the first to try out The Garden Spa by L’Occitane with our exclusive reader offer, available only to The Bath Magazine readers and the perfect excuse to visit during January or February with friends. For £95 per person you can enjoy the full use of The Garden Spa by L’Occitane facilities with complementary use of robe, slippers and towel; a 25 minute treatment per person (choose from a revitalising aromachologie massage, a relaxing back massage, a mini manicure or a mini pedicure); full afternoon tea served in the Pantry; a glass of Champagne and 20% discount on any additional treatments booked.

This offer is available Monday to Thursday, from Tuesday 3 January to 28 February. Booking is essential and is subject to availability.

To book call The Garden Spa by L’Occitane, tel: 01225 478395 and quote The Bath Magazine when you book. For more information on the spa visit: thebathpriory.co.uk.