By Lynnette Lounsbury
Arriving at Alba is the first part of a beautiful experience. The building is stark and simple so all that you notice is the bushland that surrounds it on all sides. The entryway is grand and smells exquisite, and the staff guide you personally on your journey, first with a brief tour and then towards a personalised locker that opens to reveal a fluffy white bathrobe, and biodegradable cork slippers.
Then you are on your own to explore the pools. We wandered the length of the grounds taking in the large deep pools, hidden spas, rain pools and eventually settled into the hot pools of The Forest where the magnesium, sulphur and calcium rich water immediately made us soften to the point of incoherence. What were our problems again? That’s right - there were none. Everything would be fine. Over the course of the next two hours, we tried everything from the cooler shallow pools to the steam room, sauna and, at the demand of an older, regular visitor, even the ice-cold plunge pool. She was right, it was worth the momentary discomfort. The Hide was a favourite, a warm pool hidden behind a concrete wall with swathes of sunlight filtering through the trees. There are opportunities to be totally alone, or to chat with your fellow guests and both and wonderful.
All of this relaxation builds up a surprising appetite and Thyme, the onsite restaurant has the perfect menu for a spa day, light, tasty local food that looks as good as it tastes. We had the
Burrata with peaches, figs and a honeyed balsamic dressing; the zucchini, pea and haloumi fritters; and the grilled greens with a fermented soy chilli. It tasted just as good as it sounds, and everything was fresh, crunchy and colourful. It is also impossible to overstate how regal it feels to dine in an exquisite restaurant in your bathrobe.
After lunch, it was time for the Vanessa Megan Essential Facial in the Spa. The ritual began with relaxation time in the spa lounge and Alba’s signature tea blend followed by a skin analysis with my therapist Karen, who chose products specifically designed to meet the current needs of my skin. The facial begins with a meditative scent experience, a calming mantra and a gentle double cleansing with the VM staple product – the Petitgrain Ph Balancing Cream Cleanser. This was followed by a gentle but vigorous exfoliation with Prebiotic + C Skin Polishing Exfoliator, a deep clean with the Hibiscus & Banksia Mattifying Cream Clay Mask, and a deeply nourishing massage with VM’s Nature’s Elixir Oil. Knowing that I love oils over creams, Karen used VM’s Bio Omega Body Contouring Oil for my hand and arm massage and finished my facial with the Auric 24K Gold and Wild Herb Radiance Serum and a slug of the rich and protective Intensive Dermal Repair Balm.
My skin felt dewy and soft, and I felt like a new person. The spa provides you with a detailed list of the products used as well as a prescription designed to maintain your skin’s new glow as well as one last cup of their tea to rehydrate after, well, after exerting almost no effort whatsoever all day!
Everything at Alba is designed to be simple, beautiful, and good for you, which allows you to relax not only physically, but mentally as well. By the end of the day I felt replenished, nourished and cared for, exactly as they promised.