One of the most prestigious addresses in Newcastle is 55 Degrees North. It's what used to be known as Swan House, which I've featured before on Newcastle Daily Photo. These days the complex has two radio stations - Metro Radio and Magic 1152 - private apartments and penthouses with rich and famous residents, and City Retreat, a luxury beauty salon and day spa.
The thing that confuses me about this address is that it is as prestigious as it is. It's well placed in some ways; it's immediately north of the Tyne Bridge and near the main shopping area of Northumberland Street. It's not far from the station or the beautiful Grey Street.
But it's also in the middle of a roundabout, and the central motorway goes under one corner of the building. And it's next to Pilgrim Street which currently is one of the most run-down places in Newcastle (rumours of its redevelopment notwithstanding - there doesn't seem to have been any progress in almost a year).
A while ago, my sister wanted to give me a present to help me relax, and she settled on City Retreat on the basis that it had won an award - '"The Best British Beauty Salon (with 4 rooms or more) 2008"'
So I had a deep tissue massage there. And it was really good.
For Christmas last year, my sis gave me another City Retreat present, this time a voucher so that I could decide what treatment to have for myself. I was really pleased to get another chance to go there, but I kept putting it off, as I wasn't sure whether I would be pregnant at any given point.
But the voucher expired at the end of June, so I managed to find a date when I knew I wouldn't be pregnant (... hoo-bloody-rar) and book myself an appointment, and I trundled along on Wednesday last week. I went for the Real Aroma Experience - a full body massage lasting a full 90 minutes. Elyse was my therapist and my appointment was at 1pm.
It Was Amazing!
It took me a little while to switch off; it had been a very busy morning in work and I knew the rest of the week would be busy too, and I was coming down with a cold (bleurgh). For the first twenty minutes or so, I couldn't switch my brain off. But after a while, I relaxed, and switched off to enjoy my massage. By the end I wasn't asleep, exactly, but I was completely chilled out and more relaxed than I've been in a long long time. The place itself is tranquil and quiet; you'd never believe you're so close to a motorway. I didn't really hear any traffic.
The massaged seemed to last for hours on end. I was convinced by the end that Elyse had gone over the time allocated. I was amazed when I left (after being left to wake myself up slowly and then given plenty of time to drink more water, get dressed again and collect my wits again) that it was only 2.45pm.
I was so relaxed when I came out that I walked across the road without a) looking to see if there was any traffic or b) looking to see whether the green man was showing. Luckily there was nothing coming. I would recommend that you actually check before you cross the road after you leave.......
At £75 (!!!) it's not something that I'll be doing every week, or even every month (more's the pity). But if you want to treat yourself, or if you know someone who's had a difficult time recently for some reason and deserves to be pampered? I would highly recommend this place. All the staff seem very nice; the treatment rooms are lovely; the massage was out of this world; and I came out walking on air.
Thanks Elyse, and thanks to N my sister!