It was 10am last Monday morning, and I was laid in a steaming hot tub outside a luxury spa, looking out at rolling hills and industrial architecture instead of at a computer screen.
As weeks go, it wasn’t a bad start.
Spa breaks seem even more tempting at this time of year, when the weather is frightful, work reaches a frenetic pace and all the trimmings of Christmas threaten to take over.
Titanic Spa in Linthwaite, Huddersfield, is not only close but it is also one of the most highly decorated in the country and it now offers a December Escape break to beat the festive frenzy.
When you arrive there is barely space on the walls for all their accolades: including two prizes in the World Luxury Spa Awards. If being green is your thing, it’s also the first established eco spa in the country, and even has a water supply from its own bore hole 100 metres below the facility.
After welcome coffees in the cosy bistro we started with the outdoor hot tub - a perfect place for a catch-up gossip with mum.
There’s a high-tech gym for fitness lovers, but we chose a quick swim and a few minutes in the sauna by the side instead.
Both of us had opted for the 55-minute Neom full body treatment. For mum, it was her first ever massage, at the age of 52. The private treatment rooms had comfortable beds, soothing music and lavender scents. I’d requested work on a persistent shoulder knot - as well as to leave utterly relaxed - during the consultation. My therapist duly beat the tight, tense muscles along my scapular into submission - crack by crack, so much so that I had to ask for a slightly lighter touch. The rest of the experience was more soothing as tired legs and feet were revived with feathery strokes, before it ended with a firm scalp massage in complete darkness.
And as for mum...
“I feel like I’ve been reset”, she said, virtually melting down the lantern- lit corridors with her shoulders several centimetres lower than before.
We headed to the relaxation room - packed with beanbags, loungers, glossy magazines and a flickering television fire - for an hour of reading. It was the kind of place you dream of when scrabbling for the last mince pies in Sainsbury’s.
The bistro, as every other part of the former wool mill, can be attended while wearing robes. We enjoyed seafood linguine and tabbouleh with spicy sweet Merguez sausages, sharing an extra, decadent chocolate cheesecake for lunch.
But we had saved the best for last. The rest of the afternoon was spent in Titanic’s heat and ice experience, a labyrinth of 10 rooms ranging from the steam-filled herbal infusion - think lavender and pine mist - to the invigorating ice cave, foot massage baths and saunarium with twinkling lights to gaze at as you stew in the warmth.
Our favourite was the humid crystal steam bath, which combines heat, oils and salt. The experience brings together spa traditions from across the world and the centuries, from Rome to Scandinavia, in one hot spot. It was a shame to head back to normality, but comforting to realise that sometimes you only need to go up the road to get away from it all.