Did you read that headline wrong the first time? (Picture: Getty / Supplied)
From solo cinema trips to dinner for one, I’m a big proponent of ‘masturdating’.
No, that is not a typo.
Masturdating, or the act of dating oneself, is one of my very favourite things to do. I think it’s so important to learn how to really treasure your own time, and stop relying on the presence of other people to do things you enjoy.
It’s also a really stupid thing to say, which makes it even better as far as I’m concerned.
My latest lone sojourn was taken in a professional capacity, as I was lucky enough to be invited to review the sparkly new Fairmont Windsor Park spa and hotel.
I went in mid-December, right as the spa’s festive season was ramping up, and from the massage to the view outside my room, the whole thing was gorgeous.
However, I couldn’t help but notice that nobody I spoke to was expecting me to be alone. Of course, no one was rude in any way, and I get why staff might want to double-check where my plus one might be, but every time I said: ‘No, it’s just me,’ I was met with a tone of surprise.
Do people just not go to spas alone? Ever?
Is a massage or facial really not worth having if there isn’t one of or several of your nearest and dearest in the next room? Of course, it is.
The view from my room (Picture: Aidan Milan)
Part of my trip included a wreath-making class (Picture: Aidan Milan)
Nestled in the countryside, the Fairmont Windsor has everything you could want from a spa stay and more – from decadent food and 40 acres to wander to a crèche and even an on-site barber.
I went for one night and two days, and on my first day I got to try a wreath-making class.
Part of the hotel’s festive season offerings, which included a whole host of children’s activities and ran from Dec 23 until New Year’s Day, the class was led by a lovely lady called Mela Certe.
I am very much wreath-making newbie, but had a lovely time chatting to Mela while she gently steered me towards aesthetically-pleasing choices.
Yes, those are artichokes on the wreath – I’m all about it.
I ordered the sumptuous venison (Picture: Aidan Milan)
Ordering room service is a top-tier treat for me – this was a delicious cheesecake dessert (Picture: Aidan Milan)
The rooms are spacious and put together with a careful attention to detail, and the food was decadent and delicious, as you’d expect from a place this fancy.
There’s a tea lounge, restaurants, champagne bar, gin bar, library lounge, and ‘wellness café’ downstairs in the spa treatment area.
The vibe in the restaurants is really pleasant, and the staff are so attentive. In fact, the staff members all over the place are lovely.
Sometimes, when you go to fancy places, there’s this undercurrent of exclusivity or snobbery that permeates the environment, as if only hugely important people are welcome there. You feel the need to either puff up to over compensate for all the egos in the room, or shrink under the pressure of imposter syndrome, but it was not so here.
You expect people to treat you well when you’re reviewing their place of work, but everywhere I went I was overhearing how sweet, friendly and accommodating staff were with other guests, too.
That was one of my favourite things about the trip. Feeling truly welcomed and perfectly taken care of is a real gift. That’s what makes a stay special, and what makes getting back to reality feel very cruel.
The heated outdoor pool was a dream (Picture: Aidan Milan)
The Himalayan salt room was also a favourite spot of mine to chill (Picture: Aidan Milan)
The indoor pool (Picture: Aidan Milan)
The spa facilities were also very much my cup of tea.
There’s a heated pool outside, which was so nice to dip into right after braving the cold weather outside, as well as a larger indoor pool and plenty of places to lounge.
I’m a big fan of the Himalayan salt room, which is supposed to have all the benefits of a warm day at the beach.
When I went downstairs for my treatment – everything is in the same building, which is very helpful for someone like me who gets lost in Primark and is trying to navigate alone – I was rewarded with literally the best massage of my life.
My masseuse can only have been a wizard or a mind reader, that’s how good she was. She found all my knots and tense spots and applied the perfect pressure all the way through. When I left, I felt like I was walking on air.
I had a jolly old time (Picture: Aidan Milan)
It felt… correct (Picture: Aidan Milan)
I had the most beautiful weekend at Fairmont Windsor Park, and at no point whatsoever was my stay hampered by the fact that I was by myself.
I’ve got a friend, Jack, who goes on solo spa trips all the time. He tells me: ‘People do expect me to be there with someone. I think when you say “no, just me” a lot of people easily accept it and a lot of them also say something like “oh I wish I could do that”.
‘I think people are conditioned to think that being alone anywhere is weird.
‘Going alone means I can have a lie in if I want, even if it means wasting a morning. Or going for a walk for hours. Or just read in a hot tub until I finish the book. It’s all up to me. I’m mad with power.’
You don’t have to rely on the company of others to have a great time doing something you enjoy.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a partner who I love hanging out with, but I will still make a point to treat myself to a proper date alone now and then – I think everyone should.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy spa stay – although if you can do it, I highly recommend it. It can be anything from a trip to your favourite spot for lunch to grabbing a coffee and seeing a movie on your next day off.
Date yourself. Enjoy yourself. You deserve it.
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