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6th June 2024

Did you know that there’s a spa under Simon Building

Rumour has it that deep in the depths of UoM lies a hidden spa. Why? We cannot say. But should you embark on an adventure to find it? Absolutely.
Did you know that there’s a spa under Simon Building
Credit: Erin Botten @ The Mancunion

The Simon Building, known for Benugo cafe, lecture halls and a brief home for student occupations, holds a secret. Deep in the depths of its corridor lies a haven – buried in an unsuspecting side room. In that room, you can find Abby – a spa and massage specialist that few students know about.

I had heard stories about the masseuse that resided in the Simon building for a few years; they circulated amongst students almost like folklore. Her exact location within the building was a mystery, with the concept of having a masseuse existing within one of UoM’s buildings being even more mysterious. Yet, there she is, with a multitude of services catered to student budgets, so I hunted down this hidden spa and gave it a go.

I have never had a massage before. My knowledge and expectations were guided predominantly by one of the 90s most famous masseuses: Ms Phoebe Buffay. So it’s fair to say I didn’t really know what to expect.

The exact location of Abby’s Simon Building spa can be found in Building B, down the hall from lecture Theatre C. You’ll spot Abby’s ‘Beauty Bee’ banner outside the wellbeing room wall and again in the waiting area. However, you won’t be waiting for long, as when I arrived (disorientated and a little lost), Abby popped out, welcoming me into her space.

Credit: Erin Botten @ The Mancunion

Immediately, I was impressed with how she had transformed the space. What would have previously been a staff kitchenette or office space was lit up with warm mood lighting and towels to create a calm, comfy atmosphere. It felt like a mini professional spa, with a manicure station to one side, spa-y ointments (I presume) stored nearby and, of course, a speaker ready to play gentle sounds.

Once I was set up (i.e. figuring out how to lie flat on a massage table while placing the towel over me and not fall off), the lights were turned down, and 25 minutes of bliss began.

My main fear was the chat. As much as I like a yap, it can be a workout to perform small talk at the hairdresser or spa. This was the part I dreaded. Thankfully, Abby can read her clients very well, initially starting off with some friendly small talk (which involved asking about my future plans – a common topic in conversation these days) and getting to know me a little. However, it is up to you if you would like to continue the conversation or just enjoy the massage, which Abby respects completely.

The massage itself was amazing. I’d opted for the 25-minute back massage (£25) after finishing my degree a few days before. After years in education, combined with COVID-19 and boy troubles, my back had taken the brunt of that stress, growing stiff and sore. I had tried yoga and pilates, but what I really dreamt of was someone going ham on my back, erasing all the stress that had built up. Abby did indeed alleviate that stress.

The back massage consists of your whole back, arms, shoulders, hands and neck. Abby does a variety of techniques that target any stiff or sore muscles, which was both relaxing and painful at times. The whole experience was amazing. I could feel myself beginning to relax and unwind, nearly falling asleep at one point.

My one complaint? It ended. And when it did, I was fuming.

Overall, I would absolutely go again. Those 25 minutes were bliss and aided by Abby’s warm and friendly manner. She ensures her clients feel comfortable and heard and has been praised by many students who have found her. In a perfect world, I would be going to Abby’s secret spa every week.

Abby is available every Wednesday at the Simon Building. To book, text her on 07876032125 or email [email protected].

See what other services she offers at Beauty Bee here!

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