A Romantic Retreat

By: Graham Baylis

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, Debbie and Matt are planning a well-deserved romantic break. February can be a dreary time of year, so what better excuse than to get away from it all, just the two of them, to somewhere really special - somewhere to unwind and spoil themselves, for a change.

Having weighed up all the possibilities, Debbie and Matt decide that a serviced apartment will provide exactly the luxury they're looking for; space, flexibility and privacy, combined with all the comforts and service of a hotel. Browsing through the website, discovering the host of locations available, they finally opt to treat each other to a spa break in the stunningly beautiful, sleepy Cotswolds. Spa breaks are becoming more and more popular with young and old alike, offering the ultimate in pure self-indulgence and relaxation - and the perfect antidote to modern-day stress! Booking the apartment through the company is a total breeze - this is an organisation totally focused on customer care and it seems that nothing is too much trouble for its friendly and helpful staff to ensure that Debbie and Matt will have a great time.

Driving up through the Cotswolds countryside, with its gently sloping hills and honeyed limestone cottages, Matt starts to have just a couple of reservations. Debbie laughs as she reassures him that 'all this spa business' isn't just a 'girlie thing', and that his macho image will remain intact. After all, pampering isn't just the prerogative of the female of the species. And she promises that, no - she will not let on to his workmates. Matt remains unconvinced, but any doubts that he may have harboured soon begin to melt away, as they arrive at the apartment.

Their 'home from home' is everything they both expected and were promised, and more; light, airy, spacious, superbly-equipped, tastefully decorated and impeccably clean throughout. Awaiting them is a luxury hamper, tempting chocolates and, in the fridge, a selection of 'nibbles', whilst a bottle of chilled bubbly beckons invitingly.

The apartment is not far from the wonderful city of Cheltenham, and there's plenty of time for Debbie and Matt to take in the atmosphere and do a little shopping, before heading back to the apartment to prepare for their spa treatment while sipping their champagne and sampling the 'light bites' from the fridge.

A little while later, highly skilled, trained and experienced therapists arrive at the apartment to deliver the spa treatment. Armed with all the necessary equipment, it seems that they've forgotten nothing, even providing restful music, mood lighting and incense to add to the peaceful ambience. Already savouring the effects of the champagne and the cosiness of the apartment, Debbie and Matt each settle down to enjoy an incredibly loosening back, neck and shoulder massage, a relaxing facial and an amazing hand and foot ritual. Just the thing to restore the equilibrium. What bliss!

When the therapists have said their goodbyes and after a heavenly snooze, Debbie and Matt get changed and round off a wonderful evening with a first class dinner at a nearby Japanese restaurant. The meal is delicious and the service is faultless. Somehow, given the entire perfection of the weekend so far, that doesn't surprise them.

In the morning, refreshed and invigorated and keen to make the most of the rest of their break, the happy couple emerge from the comfort of their sumptuous king size bed to explore the local market, before partaking of a hearty breakfast and heading for home.

As they make their way, energised and rejuvenated, Matt has to admit that this has been just the break that they both needed. Debbie is relaxed and happy, and he feels ten years younger. He'll be sure to tell the lads at work all about it, when he gets back - one or two of them could do with a bit of chilling out, too - not to mention a facial...

Romantic Gateways
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