Sometimes you need to spoil yourself

I got covered in ground coffee and Andy Warhol watched me sleep. Welcome to ‘Spoil yourself 2023’ birthday weekend edition where midway through this luxury, an old bloke got carted off to hospital…

My usually taste of luxury is an overpriced beer

And so it was a very pleasant surprise when my far better half told me she’d organised a weekend away complete with an overnight stay somewhere on the Border and the mother in law looking after the squids for our combined birthday (same date, 2 years apart). Finally a night somewhere not interrupted by constant visits from either of the little ones with an itchy knee, looking for a lost water bottle or deciding they don’t want to go to school tomorrow…and that 9pm was a great time to share that fact.

So Donna booked the accommodation and left the dinner plans to me, hinting she’d like somewhere expensive in a true sense of a ‘treat yourself’ weekend. But it had to be after 6:30pm because apparently her plans included additional plans. Intriguing!

And so I spent a lot of one afternoon scouring local menus to work out where to go, booked somewhere nice and then spent the rest of the time racking my brain trying to work out what she picked. Which came as no surprise to anyone that I got things completely wrong.

Treat yourself and head back to 1928

Welcome to Circa 1928 Spa Hotel where the sign on the front window explains that the experience is reassuring expensive and where it’s not the year the number part of the name comes from, it’s actually the building number, so it’s Circa 1928 here in Albury and Circa 1936 in Corowa. I was thinking it was a 20’s designed hotel but I’m from the 80’s, rubbish at design and history and so didn’t have much of an idea of whether it was or wasn’t from that time period. From their website:


It took far too long for the former Commonwealth Bank building in Dean Street, Albury – with its guardian like Ionic columns – to discover its true purpose as CIRCA 1928. Now some 94 years after it was built, CIRCA 1928 “fits like hand in glove” within the building that is a landmark on the tree lined “Paris end” of regional Australia’s most stylish city. CIRCA 1928 is the culmination of an eight year evolution for CIRCA Hotels that has brought about a glimpse of luxury hotel accommodation in regional Australia.

The exhaustive basement to ceiling restoration by Kitabisa Design, has instilled the whole property with a unique ambience that is reflected throughout the commodious hotel suites, the Kitabisa retail area and the CIRCA day spa.

At CIRCA 1928, we go beyond just providing unique accommodation with inclusions such as a health oriented breakfast, in suite mini bar, an evening night-cap, Hunter Lab bathroom amenities, on site parking with electric vehicle fast charging* and a host of other benefits. We strive to ensure that every single guest leaves with an overwhelming sense of having experienced not just everything that they envisaged prior to arriving at CIRCA, but having experienced a special moment, unique to them

Ririn Yaxley

*One Type 2 EV fast charging point only.

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Part hotel, part day spa and part gallery what I can tell you is that the place is lovely, lavish and one hell of a way to spoil yourself. And no, they’re not paying me anything to say that, this was based on the night we spent there complete with two hours couples massage (more on that in a sec).
Oh and the food platter after the massage. Oh and the beer on arrival. And the champagne after the massage and the nightcap and the list goes on.. (Usually when I book a room anywhere it’s ‘here’s the key, come back to reception if there’s any dramas. Okay thanks, bye.’ And that’s all she wrote.)

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He knows when you’ve been sleeping and such..

There’s only three rooms up there and we ended up in the Warhol Suite where Andy himself keeps an eye on any shenanigans like you trying to remove the massive brass looking bath. Hilariously there’s even a copy of ‘Where’s Warhol’ on the coffee table to keep you busy.
Yes you can fit two in the bath easily in case you’re wondering and a small army in the shower if need be (be aware though, the spoil yourself bath does take quite a while to fill but it’s well worth it.)

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I sat in here with my fortified nightcap on the stool beside it and loved life until the water went cold

Although by the time we arrived I had just enough time to sip the complimentary drink on arrival and move the car before it was time for the other part of our ‘Spoil yourself’ night away Donna had planned, namely the couples massage.

Many few steps up from a cup of International roast

Starting with a calming tea while in your dressing gown, you fill out a small form to explain what may hurt already and the level of massage you’d like to receive before you’re ushered into the day spa room where the crew are ready to ease your pains and troubles away.
Once you get yourself comfortably nestled into your paper undies of course.

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How’s this work then?

Best described as a part origami lobster tail for the front of house and just the width of a computer power cord to take care of the back, it’s fair to say that this isn’t something I’m used to wearing at all and was a little self conscious at first until I remembered that professional spa workers have probably seen a lot worse than my muscle and hair collection over time.
And five minutes in I was starting to get covered in both oil and coffee scrub, which as a completely new experience for me took my mind right off the two inches of paper keeping the jingle berries from getting any caffeine treatment anyway.
I’ve had massages before but never a scrub and for a moment I almost felt like our own table project getting a light sanding out in the carport.

Once scrubbed, they set a nice shower running for use to get rid of the grounds which isn’t as easy as you think because the granules stick to the massage oil and of course the massage oil doesn’t come flying off in a hurry anyway – seriously, the first world problems of a spoil yourself day away..
When that’s done it’s a case of drying yourself off, popping the lobster back on and preparing for the massage part. Which is soothing, if you ticked that box.

However if you’re like me and you tick the ‘Go your hardest matey’ equivalent box on the form when it comes to how deep your want your massage technician to do their thing, well that’s a fantastic way to find out which parts of your body truly ache from recent exercises and yard work. My masseuse hit sore muscles I didn’t even know I had which while probably beneficial in the long run, really made themselves known when he dug the elbows in. I really should spend more time recovering from big days I think.
They certainly needed the attention though and the treatment worked so well, I fell asleep during part of it and snored away blissfully (I don’t remember this happening obviously but it’s not the first time I’ve nodded off during a couples massage day..)

After the treatment came a glass of champagne and then some food back at the room. Spoil yourself? Thanks to my better half, we certainly did!

But there was still my part to play..

And that would be dinner, booked at the delicious La Maison’s at Gateway Lakes down the road. Freshly scrubbed, rubbed and ready to rumble for final part of the Spoil Yourself Birthday, I was in full hilarious smouldering mode:

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Paella and blue steel!

And while dinner was divine as expected, at this part of the story (try the lamb ribs, they’re amazing!), there’s a few people I’d like to thank:

-The mother in law Di. Not only was she looking after the kids but she also sneakily found out where we were going for dinner and organised a voucher there for us when we arrived. Sneaky sneaky.

-Wassim the owner. Super friendly along with the rest of the staff but also for dragging us back in after we left for a surprise birthday dessert (with the staff singing Happy Birthday, thanks guys!) He even told our taxi to wait!

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-And the two lovely nurses eating at other tables who came over to help with with an older gent having a moment at the bar nearby. After going to pay his bill he announced he wasn’t feeling well, put his head on his arms and when I got up to check on him, was completely unresponsive. And so I helped him to a chair and tried to get him to talk to no avail before laying him down on the floor just in case. That’s when the two lovely nurses jumped into action and I really appreciated the assist. Am ambulance was called and he was taken away, far more responsive than when I’d lowered him to the ground thankfully.
Not really what either of us expected for our spoil yourself night out but what’s a night with a little adventure hey?

Sometimes you really do need to spoil yourself

We ate like kings and queens and certainly felt like royalty where we slept and while it was only for a day and a night, it was a struggle thinking back to the last time when came even close to something like it. Kids, work, life, everything really all have a way of demanding your attention and sapping your energy so down time moments seem few and far between. Which is why it’s very important to take the time once in a blue moon to go and do something out of the ordinary and/or experience a little luxury.

Yes it wasn’t cheap, yes we probably won’t have the funds to do something like this again for a while but wow was it good – now after all that, isn’t it time for you to spoil yourself?

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