Ayush Wellness Spa, Hotel de France

Ayush Wellness Spa, Hotel de France

I spent the start of my Ayurvedic spa weekend queueing in Accident and Emergency at St Helier’s general hospital. Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old Indian system of health care, advocates a natural diet and a preventative approach. Western medicine dictates that I sit for three hours in a yellow waiting room, watching underage girls stagger in drunk from the park to use the loos.

It was my own fault for leaving my inhaler at home. Ayurveda’s cure for asthma, I learn in my consultation with an expert, involves giving up dairy and wheat and would take some time. The new Ayush Wellness Spa claims to be Britain’s first dedicated Ayurvedic spa.

As spas go, Ayush is perfectly lovely – large, modern, airy and white – with pool area, lots of stone, wood and glass, and enough sauna and steam rooms to keep you warmly and wetly entertained.

Unfortunately, it is attached to the Hotel de France, a stuffy old place with patterned carpets and plastic flowers, though the newly-built spa has 16 of its own bedrooms, all contemporary cream and beige, with floor-to-ceiling windows, balcony and sea views.

My Ayurvedic consultation progresses like a hypochondriac’s dream

My Ayurvedic consultation progresses like a hypochondriac’s dream, with a rigorous inquisition about all the boring details of your physiology. You can tell him about your skin problems and that weird pain in your knee and he actually listens, with interest, to diagnose what Ayurvedic type you are. I turn out to be a Pitta-Kapha, and am given a list of foods to avoid – which basically includes all my favourite things. Still, I vow to give the regime a go.

Or at least to try … But the spa’s cafe has no Ayurvedic menu. Yes, it’s bright, cheery and much more pleasant than the Hotel de France’s dreary Orangery restaurant, but hardly any dishes fitted my new diet.

At least the spa treatments get it right: yoga class is brilliant, and the four-handed Abhyanga oil massage and Bashpa Sweda, where hot oil is dribbled on your forehead, left me completely, ecstatically zonked. I definitely prefer A&E Ayurveda style.

What we liked: Escaping up the coast to St Aubin to walk on the beach.

What we didn’t like: St Helier. Having to eat breakfast in the old bit of the hotel.

Verdict: A nice new hotel stuck on to a horrible old one.

The price: The Ayush ‘Weekend Escape’ includes two nights’ accommodation, breakfast, yoga class, consultation and treatment up to £50, from £175 per person. Flights from Luton to Jersey from £40 return with go here for info

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