27 SEPTEMBER 1930, Page 26

Travel -

The Success of British Spas

THE authorities of the British Spas are cheerful in spite of trade depression and general " hardupness." This is due largely to the foresight of the Spa managers, who have greatly increased the facilities for recreation during the past few years, and have wisely provided for persons who cannot afford to pay exorbitantly for treatment.

Many people hesitate to avail themselves of the acknow- ledged benefits of Spa treatment because they do not know what it is going to cost. Most exaggerated views are held on this point. In order to remove all uncertainty, the Spa Committee at Bath have issued a " Summer Cure Ticket " for the inclusive fee of three guineas, which is available for three weeks. It covers any bath or other form of treatment used under medical advice. It admits the holder to the Georgian Pump Room, the Gardens by the Avon, the Band Concerts, morning, afternoon and evening, and includes all charges for

drinking the mineral waters. '

The Bath hotels have co-operated with this effort to meet the competition of foreign resorts by quoting inclusive terms for the three weeks' period. These range from six guineas for three weeks at the Sheridan to £22 at the Empire Hotel. These terms compare very favourably with the prices of similar hotels abroad, especially when it is remembered that at Bath there is no taze-de-luxe, no supplement for service and no tare- de-Ajour. These extras add up to 15 per cent. to every item on a hotel bill at a Continental Spa.

At Buxton, too, there has been introduced a week-end ticket for the benefit of those visitors who can only stay in the town three or four days and want a refresher course of treatment. This ticket only costs 10s. 6d., and entitles the holder to two massage baths and one other treatment, together with facilities for drinking the water at St. Ann's Well.

Harrogate has likewise adapted itself to 1980 conditions when money is scarce and men have to pay more attention than usual to their business. It is recognized that the usual three weeks' cure is often an impossibility in these harassing days, but that an occasional week-end with a round of golf, a dance, and three sulphur baths, sends a man back to his business on Monday refreshed. For ladies who desire slim figures special terms for " reducing " treatment are available, and this is given even on Sundays.

The best hotels at Harrogate are now quoting a week- end tariff of 50s., covering dinner on Friday to breakfast on Monday morning ; and water cure tickets for the week-end arc sold at 12s. Special reductions are made to those holding such special tickets at local golf links and tennis clubs. These figures show that cure by water is no longer only to be gained by the wealthy, and that the charges are very reasonable.

From the medical point of view, the majority of British Spas have made considerable progress in the past few years. At Harrogate, for example; there has been established a department for giving a treatment in a bath which is filled with white foam.- This covers the patient, to the chin, and gives him a sensation of com- fortable warmth, that has a most soothing effect on the nervous -system.

At last, too, an English Spa can g-ii;e an entirely British treatment with " mud. The method of treat- ment by mud-packs was employed by the Egyptians and by Romans, and for some time past mud has been imported to Yorkshire from Italy. Two years ago a bed of true " fanga," or mud, with the right physical and chemical properties was found near Harrogate. Experiments have since proved that it gives better results than foreign mud, being especially useful in the case of muscular rheumatism, neuritis, and gout.

The new electrical " Surge " current treatment is also popular, as it avoids the painful shocks that are sometimes given to patients. Not only in treatment

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but in decorations have British Spas been greatly improved. Thus, in the swimming bath at Bath the doors are jade green, the curtains are blue, the dressing- rooms are the colour of sunshine, and the bath is as blue as the Mediterranean. Special facilities are given here for sunshine treatment in a Solarium.

Another direction in which progress has been made during the past few months has been the increase of amusements. No longer is it necessary for a patient to mope about in a bath-chair, bored and miserable. At Leamington, for example, the spacious gardens are illuminated during the Summer Band Concerts, and during the coming winter an orchestra will play daily. Far those who cannot play a full round of golf, four midget golf-courses have been constructed, and Lilliput golf courses, which are now the craze of America, have been laid out at Harrogate, one indoor and one out. Attendances at Spa Concerts have been better than ever this year, and the standard of music has been higher. During this month the Festival of Music, held in the Pavilion, Buxton, was the first occasion on which an orchestra employed by the British Broadcasting Company co-operated with a Municipal Orchestra.

Annual Conferences are a valuable source of income to any town, and British Spas wisely offer many induce- ments to persuade national organizations to visit them for their yearly Congress. By this means, hotels obtain visitors at a quiet time of the year, and local shops reap a harvest. It is no wonder that the Mayors of the Cor- porations of such towns as Leamington and Bath and other Spas are always ready to welcome national or other societies. During the past five years, no fewer than sixty different national associations have held their annual cOriferences in Buxton. The National Chamber of Trade Conference is to be held in Leamington next month, when a reception will be given in the Pump Room, and meetings will be held in the Town Hall.

The younger generation are to-day better catered for, and a lesson in this respect has been learnt from our Continental rivals. At Bath the Saturday Supper Dances in the Pump Room start again on October 4th. Large out-door swimming pools and more tennis courts are being constructed in several centres. Invalids find that their daughters rejoice to accompany them to the gay places of cure. In short, there is no lack of enterprise and " ginger " about the Spas of this country. They have improved amazingly in the past few years, discarding the drabness which made patients unduly depressed, making use of the latest scientific and medical knowledge, and no longer catering for the wealthy only. While they have become more democratic than they were in the days when Beau Nash ruled over the fashionable throng, every possible effort is being made to preserve their old-world charm and enhance their modern attractions.