A day in the life of a masseuse

by Hannah Ewan

This story is part of our 'Funny Spa Stories' series, featuring tales from luxury hotel guests which were sent in for our travel writing competition.

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Photo by Ell Brown.


It was our first Valentine’s Day, and we - or he - did it properly. Jewellery, champagne and dinner in a restaurant that barely anyone goes to as an every day occurrence. And that, as a Tuesday, was just the beginning.

On Friday night, we threw our weekend bags into the back of the car and ticked another first off the list: our first weekend away. Or our first mini-break, if you want to get all Bridget Jones about it. Anyway, we drove up from Edinburgh to a sprawling, eccentric country hotel, with a wide, sweeping drive, turrets, a crazy-golf course in the back and a giant stuffed bear in the lobby, forever frozen mid-roar.

The list grew ever shorter, as ‘things one should do on the perfect romantic getaway’ were ticked off. We lounged around wearing only fluffy bathrobes, drinking more champagne. We wallowed in the gigantic bathtub. We ate too much dinner, and drank too much wine. The next day, we walked in the grounds, and visited a ruined castle, then childishly but competitively painted our own dessert bowls in a pottery.

Back at the hotel, feeling as if no further luxury was attainable; a final surprise was proudly announced. I padded happily to the spa in my soft, white slippers for my full-body massage: a final hour of bliss before a last decadent dinner. Entering the little treatment room, waves crashed from the CD player in the corner, and soothing stringed instruments washed relaxation this way and that. The masseuse was young, about my age, and friendly. I got undressed and lay under the towel, feeling tranquilised at the very thought of being tranquilised. She began. As I drifted off into knot-relieving luxury, she asked me about my weekend. I mentioned a few of the details, not wanting to sound smug. Was I imagining it, or was the pressure of her massage getting ever so slightly more intense? She asked some more questions, I was slightly more effusive. She inquired once more, with polite but definite interest and, I thought, an oddly wistful tone. As I enthusiastically ran through the whole chain of events, my shoulders became unmistakeably besieged. Wincing slightly and wondering when to say something, I asked her what the day had held for her.

"I got dumped," she said flatly, before bursting into tears and summarily exiting the relaxation suite.

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