#27 in an accidental series of deliberate visits to pools/spas/bathhouses
“Hidden within the residential Georgian streets of Clifton,
our urban retreat is open to the elements, and to everyone, all year round.”
Okay, so it’s got a big – pleasingly retro – LIDO sign outside but you’d not stumble on this place by accident: a hidden gem and no mistake. The Bristol Lido is, let’s face it, an indulgence, not to be confused with a municipal swimming pool. More than that though, it has a place in the canon of human washeries around the globe: from Istanbul to Reykjavik to Kanazawa. Hammam, Spa, Onsen: it’s all about havin’ a bath in some sense of the word.
The ‘Lido has delicious food and luxurious “treatments”, but since our surname is not Rockerfeller, we opted for the merely eye-watering minimum self-indulgence option*.
How to Lido (as chalked on the board):
- Properly wash yourself. The chlorine levels are kept low thanks to this ‘wash naked’ policy and bespoke Lido Spa products in every shower cubicle. (Why does it seem odd to us Brits to wash properly before a dip? Let me know in the comments section.)
There was a middle step; a forgettable locker procedural.
And there we were, crisp and clean and fresh in the cool pool. We steamed, we sauna’d, we hot tub’d, we swam and we smiled. Juuust enough people to give it an atmosphere whilst still feeling exclusive. Top marks to staff and punters for genteel, collegiate, rubbing-along, grown-up behaviour. (A counterpoint later in the day at the mosh-pit-zombie-feeding-frenzy that is Za Za Bazaar: “Bristol’s finest fixed-price buffet dining restaurant.” Like a scene from the Walking Dead only with limitless “global cuisine” and more screaming kids. Never again.)
It’s 24 hours later and – if I take a moment to breathe deeply and centre myself – the sense of inner smugness of spending a weekday afternoon in a spa is tingly-fresh in my mind. (Nearly 24hours later and I’m still full of all-you-can-cram junk food too.)
Oooh look. Photos.
*I dropped none-too-subtle hints for a possible Mr & Mrs birthday return for a more splurge laden visit when a big birthday presents an opportunity.