The landscape was unremittingly Yorkshire. Bruise coloured hills and lush green dales speckled with old stone houses and relics from the area's industrial past. Having escaped the family home with my husband for a child-free mini spa break, it was a that the drive itself was so broodingly picturesque. It's fair to say that my other half is not a man who puts pampering high on his to-do list. Let's just say his idea of grooming is cold water, a rough towel and that old bottle of aftershave he picked up at Ben Gurian duty free.
I, on the other hand, would happily submit to a bit of spit and polish on a regular basis, if only family, work and time permitted it.
As we beetled away through the undulating road out of Huddersfield, we had both felt the time was right to check out of our busy lives, if only for one night.
We travelled along, not able to stop ourselves chuckling at the name of our destination: the Titanic Spa. And there is plenty to surprise about this eco-spa, not least its unusual appearance and
We knew we were roughly in the right grid reference to track down Titanic. Yet when our trusty Sat Nav announced our arrival, we assumed it was having a bad day. Surely, this rambling relic of Victorian architecture couldn't be it?
But indeed it was. Welcome to spa-country, Yorkshire style. Forget those hush-hush hideaways in rambling country houses or those that lie sprawling in the middle of nowhere. The Titanic Spa, thanks to its architectural heritage as a former textiles mill, nestles off the A62, in Linthwaite.
For a moment we stood in awe. It was, frankly, massive. A huge six-storey edifice, banked by the canal (a historical nod to its former use).
It was only later we realised that only part of the building is occupied by the spa: the rest is residential.
Built the same year as the beleaguered ocean liner - thus the name - once inside the spa, the visitor becomes part of a warm, welcoming oasis of calm, helped, not least, by some of the friendliest spa staff I have ever encountered. Forget all that snooty, quasi-scientific babble much beloved of certain up-themselves pamper zones. As the lovely receptionists and therapists recounted the list of treatments and facilities, there wasn't a trace of artifice or affectation. (It's all 'olistic' this and 'olistic' that).
It's actually an eco spa, thanks to its impeccably green credentials: chlorine-free, salt-regulated swimming pool, photovoltaic solar panels to catch the daylight all year round and its very own bore hole 100m below the earth's surface provides vast quantities of pure Yorkshire water.
I could go on. But let's face it, when you're off for a pampering, who wants to know whether you're doing the earth any good? Though when you emerge from a to-die-for facial, or chuck another soft-as-butter towel into the laundry basket, it's nice to know you're saving the planet in the process.
Accommodation is offered in spacious, serviced duplex or mezzanine apartments with a modern kitchen/lounge and a countryside view.
Breakfast is provided in the fridge (cereal, croissants) and it is up to the individual whether they want to self-cater or eat in the small but pleasant restaurant downstairs, which serves a fair vegetarian menu.
The treatment menu is extensive and we indulged in a hot stone massage as well as an Elemis facial (the metrosexual was tuning up). We had the most fun in the mud chamber - a private, tiled room, where you're left with a pile of mud to slather on each other.
A machine then spatters out steam to dry you into a piece of clay before showers automatically switch on to rinse it all off.
It could have been quite an erotic experience if we hadn't been laughing so much.
Another high point was the Titanic Heat Experience: a series of rooms to warm and then cool the body.
A saunarium, crystal steam room, aromatherapy room and sauna cabin allow you to cook gently.
Then you have the choice of plunging into a cold pool or freezing in the ice room where you can apply crushed ice on to the body to counteract the warming effects of all those heat
My husband did make a spirited effort to use the swimming pool afterwards, but the experience of doing nothing more than knotting and then unknotting my dressing gown was just too exhausting.
Wandering around from treatment to treatment wearing nothing more than a gown and a smile can make you feel quite institutionalised. So a great plus with the Titanic is that it sits on the edge of some lovely Pennine countryside.
The following morning we took an engaging walk through fields along the canal towpath.
We emerged scrubbed and glowing, with our muscles unknotted and heads as clear as a bright autumnal day .
Unlike its namesake, I hope to make many more return journeys.