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I have been blessed to have visited some of the world’s most beautiful spas and retreats in the past few years, I’ve learnt that outstanding service and quality comes in all shapes and sizes, and I’ve come to fully understand that what ultimately makes a place special is how you feel when you’re there.
When I was first invited to Middle Piccadilly, a rural spa retreat in Dorset, for two nights, I was intrigued by its ‘home from home’ approach combined with spa treatments and Cordon Vert cuisine. I could only visualise it as half B&B and half spa hotel, so when I arrived at the beautiful venue hidden away, two and a half hours by train outside of London, in the depths of Sherborne, I was happy to see it was exactly as I expected.
Middle Piccadilly is made up of a charming 17th century thatched farmhouse surrounded by courtyard buildings converted into cottage accommodation and treatment rooms, all set within two acres of lush grounds. There are only six guest rooms, all of which, while basic, are very warm, comfortable and peaceful.
All meals are included at Middle Piccadilly, the delicious and nutritious vegetarian meals are created by resident chef and owner, Dominic, who uses fresh and natural ingredients locally sourced, with a focus on homemade and home-grown meals.
Breakfasts are a mix of cereals, eggs, toast, yoghurt and fruit; lunches are soups, salads and cheese, and dinners are a little more special. On the two nights that I was there, one night I had nut burgers with roast vegetables, followed by chocolate tart and on the other night I had stuffed roasted peppers with goat’s cheese, ratatouille and new potatoes, followed by apple crumble. Dining is communal and I found eating with the other guests around one table quite a novelty, as well as a nice way to get to know everyone.
I was booked in for three treatments during my stay; a relaxing deep tissue massage (£75 for one hour), a hot mud bath (included in your stay) and a shamanic healing session (£80 for one hour). The deep tissue massage was with Rhiannon, who kneaded away the knots in my back, which felt amazing afterwards, the tightness was gone and my shoulders felt more open. The hot mud bath was on the second night of my stay, just before going to bed, ensuring I had a good night’s sleep.
The shamanic healing was a first for me and by far the most exciting treatment. My session was with a lady called Maya, who explained that she would enter a higher state of consciousness where she could interact with the spirit world, channelling certain energies. We began with a consultation where I was told that she would work to remove any negative energies inside of me. She started by wafting burnt white sage around me with a condor feather while I lay on a bed. It literally felt like a bird flapping around me, which I found strange but I continued to go with it. Next she played a small drum while vocally inviting different spirits to come into the room, this was followed by maracas and some singing. After this, she started to locate the energy in my body before finally, using her healing hands to channel energy through her and into me. The whole experience was surreal and I struggled to feel any changes, though Maya advised that deeper effects are usually noticed after a few sessions. I think I would definitely have another shamanic healing session in the future, even if I don’t feel the changes, curiosity certainly gets the better of me.
In the gardens of the retreat is a beautiful hut called Star House, a wooden hexagonal shaped building on stilts over a pond, where I did some restorative yoga with fellow guests – it was a pleasure to do yoga with nature sounds just outside the window. I also had a walk around the local countryside which was stunning, lots of winding roads, endless fields, horses and sheep.
My stay at Middle Piccadilly was a welcome break from London, it was a little like staying at someone’s house and for some people, that is definitely not relaxing, but if you just go with the flow while you’re there, you will definitely enjoy what the retreat has to offer, from its relaxing spa treatments, fantastic food, outdoor walks and countryside setting.