I've never been much of a spa person. I get bored very quickly in baths and could always think of a million things I'd rather spend the money on (beer being one of them). But the prospect of visiting a Beer Spa was irresistible, especially one in my adopted home city of Granada. The idea of bathing in beer, with a glass of wonderful Alhambra (Granada's local brew) in hand seemed like a spa experience that I could finally get on board with. So this Monday, I went along to experience Spain's first ever Beer Spa.
Beer Spa Granada started up its jacuzzis last November and is soon to be followed by openings in Roquetas del Mar (Almería) and Alicante. It offers a basic hour-long spa circuit (€45 pp), a private circuit (€75) and a range of body and facial treatments. All are centred around beer's key ingredients of water, barley, yeast and hops.
As general manager Juan Sánchez tells me, Granada's “pilot” spa is something of a trailblazer: “The benefits of this type of treatment are [relatively] unknown, so we have to make people aware of them”. Research indicates, says Sánchez, that the boozy baths might be able to prevent gout, blood circulation problems and maybe even heart attacks. Worth raising a pint to, no?
Beer Spa Granada is located in the heart of the city's shopping district. You receive a charming welcome and, after changing and being provided with a plush towel, are shown into a small and tropically warm room.
The deep jacuzzies into which you step are filled with water, hops, yeast and cinnamon, a bubbling concoction that soothes joints and eliminates skin toxins. In fact, as Sánchez explains, beer's ingredients are already popular in hair treatments: “Malt and hops improve weak hair, taking care of the roots and tips. Beer can bring a lot of shine to our hair”. I know what I'm replacing my boring old shampoo with, then.
Next to the tubs are taps from which you can fill and refill a wooden tankard - also provided - with Alhambra beer (included in the price). After being served with a small tapa, you're then left to marinade for twenty minutes as hypnotising, rainforesty sounds drift around the room. This is when I realised the beauty of spas: you are positively encouraged to do nothing - and nothing is something we don't do enough of.
Next, you steam in the sauna for a further fifteen minutes or so with a refilled mug of Alhambra. I swear I could feel the bath's ingredients nourishing my skin as I sat there in a kind of trance, concerns temporarily eradicated. You're then guided to a faintly erotic room lit in soft green, containing three white beds with barley mattresses. Here, your taxing brief is to simply lie back, finish your beer, and let the hoppy goodness seep into your pores.
I could have happily done another circuit, but it was time to return to reality. Asked how it was on the way out, I found myself saying, truthfully, that my skin already felt softer. I was also handed a certificate confirming my “baptism” in the beer baths of Granada. And baptised I truly am: I'm a born-again spa convert.