On a blustery day in the middle of a particularly hectic December, I took the Park Plaza Cardiff up on an offer to review their ever-popular Escape Package; jumping at the chance to laze by the pool, indulge in 80 minutes of spa treatments, and hit the restaurant to enjoy a two-course solo dinner (and exude some big main-character-energy).
Recently, the hotel has been working on improving its sustainability measures too, so I was keen to find out what’s changed – and what’s to come in 2023.
I was gifted the Park Plaza Escape Package for the purposes of this review.
The Laguna Spa & Health Club
Despite best laid plans, my self-appointed ‘day of tranquillity’ started pretty badly; I finished my morning’s meetings and headed straight into town, only to realise I’d forgotten my swimsuit – kind of a non-negotiable if you’re planning on spending the morning in the pool. After a mad dash to M&S I was back on track, and within a few minutes of walking through the doors of the hotel, I was poolside.
The pool itself is set on the ground floor of the hotel, with full length windows looking out over a small patch of trees on the banks of the canal behind. It’s a lovely place to spend an hour doing laps – or if you’re anything like me, making the most of the steam room and jacuzzi.
It wasn’t long before my swimsuit stresses were a distant memory, and I was feeling ready to start my spa treatments.
My Customised Spa Experience
I opt for a 55-minute Aromatherapy Ultimate De-stress Full Body Massage, followed by a Pevonia Essential Express 25-minute Facial. Both are delivered in one of the softly-lit treatment rooms perfumed with the scent of relaxing aromatherapy oils. My therapist asks how I would like the pressure; I tell her not to go easy on me – if she can get rid of the knot in my shoulder, she’ll have me in her debt for life.
Almost an hour and a half later, I emerge from the treatment room, squinting like a new born under the hallway lights. Is that the time already? I feel weirdly floaty. The knot in my shoulder seems to have been worked out (hallelujah!) and the skin on my face feels plump, fresh and dewy – more moisturised than it has been for months.
Still in my robe, I’m led down to the cosy relaxation room to luxuriate in this feeling for a little while, and almost make the mistake of picking up my phone for some mindless scrolling. I stop myself just in time, and instead, spend half an hour sipping mint tea (available from the self-serve counter) and allowing my brain to just be quiet. It doesn’t happen very often, and I make a mental note that’s something I need to change in 2023.
Eventually, I’m stirred from my trance-like state by an audible growl from my stomach; I haven’t eaten since breakfast and it’s now 4pm. I head back to the changing rooms, get swiftly dressed, and head down to the restaurant for a solo dinner.
The Laguna Kitchen & Bar
Meals at Park Plaza are served in the contemporary restaurant overlooking the same tree-lined canal as the pool. rom my table near the window I can also see the flower boxes and herb planters being cleared and prepped ready for spring. Leaning fully into my smug, new sense of wellbeing, I order an alcohol-free G&T with Mediterranean tonic – it hits just the right spot.
By now I am starved – I scoff a honey roasted fig & goats cheese bruschetta within seconds of the plate touching the table – but spend more time with a super-seasonal roasted pumpkin and butternut squash risotto topped with parmesan shards and crispy sage. In the coming months there are likely to be more veggie and vegan options appearing on the menu – something the chefs have been working on as part of their sustainability push.
There’s time for a quick coffee before I need to head home to pick up on the day’s emails – a small price to pay for an afternoon of time taken entirely for myself. On the way out, I grab one of the Laguna Spa menus from reception and promise myself that this won’t be the first and last time it happens.
THE PARK PLAZA ESCAPE PACKAGE
The Park Plaza Escape Package costs £120pp. You can create your own bespoke experience by choosing from 80 minutes of spa treatments and dining options to suit your taste. The Escape Package also includes two hours use of the spa & gym facilities, use of the relaxation room, and the loan of a robe, towel, and slippers.
To find out more, visit: lagunahealthandspa.com/spa/spa-packages.
IMPROVING SUSTAINABILITY AT THE PARK PLAZA CARDIFF
As the only franchised hotel in the UK Park Plaza portfolio, Park Plaza Cardiff is in a unique position to do things differently – and in 2023, they are putting improving sustainability at the top of their agenda. Though they are firmly at the beginning of their journey, some actions already undertaken include:
- Appointing an Environmental manager and formulating a sustainability policy
- Creating a staff environmental committee, and holding quarterly meetings
- Changing light bulbs to LEDS and other energy efficient alternatives
- Separating food, glass, and cardboard waste for more effective recycling
- Using more locally sourced products in the restaurant and bar, and working to increase the variety of vegan and vegetarian options.
Over the coming months I’m looking forward to seeing how Park Plaza Cardiff puts their good intentions into action – and hopefully, seeing plenty of Cardiff’s other hotels follow suit.