* Prices may differ from that shown
We recently went to Center Parcs for my birthday. While we were there, I treated myself to a pedicure at the Aqua Sana, the spa located there that offers all sorts of treatments and pamper packages including massages, manicures, spa days and facials. My review is based on my pedicure treatment, rather than the spa in general, although I can give a quick overview of that too as I was lucky enough to take a quick look around. As with the majority of activities there, my pedicure was booked in advance and paid for up front - I opted for the pristine pedicure that cost £30 for a 55 minute session, booked via their website once our holiday booking had been completed. I booked around 2 months ago, but looking today it seems that the price has jumped to £40 now.
Arrival and Waiting
I gave my name in at the desk and was handed a health questionnaire which I was a little puzzled about with it only being a pedicure but having completed it, I thought it necessary so that they knew of any allergies I might have and for the massage part too. I then waited in the reception my name was called - it seemed that when booking, you are allocated a specific member of staff in there (although you can't choose who in advance). Our trip was to Whinfell Forest and in their case, the pedicure room is almost a small part of the reception, being at the very front of the building and open plan. It's where manicures are done too.
The treatment lasted the full 55 minutes. The first part was a quick file of the nails and areas on the base of my feet where dry skin builds up - the heels and balls of my feet. I was a little disappointed with this part, just because I was expecting there to be little or no dry skin left, but having looked at my feet afterwards, there was still quite a bit there and it was visibly noticeable. I have never had a pedicure done before so it might not be the done thing, but I would have preferred the filing to have been done for longer really and to compensate just missed out on a bit of the massage part! Afterwards, my feet were placed into a foot well full of bubbly water. This was lovely - the lady checked with me that the water was the right temperature and it was - lovely and warm but not burning. Then they were left to soak for a couple of minutes. After, they were dried and she got to work on my cuticles - I take pride in taking good care of my feet but I was surprised how long she spent on that using specific tools to clean under and make them look nice. The next part was a massage, this is probably the part that took the longest but was extremely relaxing and I wanted to fall asleep. She massaged each foot separately and also the legs and ankles, using oil along them too which had a nice scent, although was quite strong and lasted most of the day. This part probably took around 10 minutes and as I said, was great although I think I'd have preferred a little bit more time on my feet themselves and less massage time. Finally, came the nail painting. I opted for silver nails on the recommendation of the lady. She made a great choice as they have sparkled and looked beautiful in the sunny weather! A base coat was applied first, then two coats of the silver nail paint and finally a top coat. After that, a fixer was sprayed on top twice to try and dry the nails quickly. They were painted perfectly and I was pleased.
Choose the right shoes.....
The shoes you wear to a pedicure are extremely important. If I'd have realised that, I'd have worn flip flops. I turned up in pumps and immediately regretted it, although it seems that other women had done the same too so perhaps there should be a suggestion on the website at the time of booking to inform people that full shoes might not be the best option for a pedicure treatment. Because of my footwear, the lady offered me a seat in the relaxation room of the spa, which I thought was lovely of her, just so the nail paint could dry properly before I put my shoes back on.
The Spa in General
Because of my relaxation room stay, I got to see a lot of the spa surroundings briefly, although not the water areas. I walked through the changing rooms twice and they looked large, clean and even though it was a Saturday not full at all (there were two people in there) - the first thing that hit me was the heat in the whole spa in general! Then I walked through a small area and into a large café. The café was empty at the time but in a lot of the spa rooms there are water, herbal teas and fruit offered free of charge. Then, I walked through another waiting area and into the relaxation room.
The Relaxation Room
I got the impression that this room is where a lot of people visited briefly after treatments throughout the spa. I was the first in there at the time, but while I was there (20 minutes) there were five or 6 comings and goings. Some people even just walked in to grab a glass of water and leave again. There is calming, relaxing music played constantly (pipe music) but the relaxing feel is disturbed by people walking in and out. No-one seems to keep quiet either so it's not a place you can have a real relax, more just a chill, chat and reading magazines, which are provided. I didn't mind as it was an extra for me anyway, so I spent my 20 minutes there and then left the Aqua Sana via the same route.
I really enjoyed my pedicure - it was wonderful and I would book another as a treat if we visit Center Parcs again, although I feel that £30 was a fair price, rather than the new inflated price of £40. The other downside was that I'd have liked the dry skin to have been concentrated on a little more. I also think people booking pedicures should be advised on their footwear when booking. I rate my time at the Aqua Sana 4 dooyoo stars, but that's perhaps slightly generous. I would say it's more a 3.5 rating really.
Thanks for reading :o)
I have been to the Centre parcs Acqa Sana spa in Sherwood Forest on numerous occasions and am going again next week so thought to get myself in the mood I would review it.
I have been with a variety of people. I have been twice with my husband, one twilight and 1 day visit, I have been with my best mate for her 40th birthday in a big group and next week I'm taking my mum as a 70th Birthday treat. This trip is costing roughly the same as all my previous visits, at £79 for 2, as part of a "deal". Its definitely worth booking when there are deals as without its nearly the same price for one. The spa packages come with different snack options, this time mines has come with a free strawberry tea, in the past we have had the antipasti platter and glass of wine, another time a fruit platter with chocolate fondue and hot chocolate. You can purchase food from the restaurant / café but it is a bit pricey, the cheapest option was soup for a £5 but it was very nice.
Half day options are available, running 9-1 or 2-6pm or twilights are 4-9 or my Tuesday booking is 9 till 6.
The spa is made up of many different rooms, from the traditional sauna, aqua meditation room to Japanese room, and so on, apparently 15 different sensory experiences. There's even an outdoor pool which is fortunately well heated and is quite something in the snow! They even do demos on their products (which you can buy at discount in their shop) where you can try the whole range.
I have never tried the extra treatments available, but there are many available at additional cost, from massage, to reflexology, dry floatation and facials.
You get the use of a towels and dressing gown and swim wear is a must!
So what do I think? Well I'm going again so that shows something, I find that its a different experience going as a couple or as a mates group but neither time did I feel outnumbered by the opposite so its a good mix. The Friday twilight seemed to have more girlie groups and we were a little louder so I imagine annoying if you truly wanted to relax. It was definitely quieter on visits with my husband. I chose this for my mum as I think she'll enjoy the different experiences as well as some mother - daughter time.
Its a 4 for me. As an enjoyable trip out.
I'm interested in what the general consensus is on noise in spas, especially Aqua Sana, given it's so big, but so special. I'd love your feedback on this poll I've created:http://doctorspa.wordpress.com/2012/06/17/aqua-sana-to-speak-or-not-to-speak/
Having visited Sherwood and Elvedon before and adored the experiences there and not being able to compare to any experience home or abroad I was horrified by my recent trip to Sherwood. The music was anything but relaxing, other guests were in groups of 4 + so were making lots of noise including laughing the staff had noisy radios. Spa etiquette had obviously not been taught to guests as they were leaving doors open on experience rooms. Swearing was common place.
I felt like I was in a leisure centre rather than a spa, on bringing this to the attention of the rather unkempt spa attendant I was accused of trying to 'pull a fast one' I was horrified. I spoke to the on duty manager who obviously had more customer service training.
All in all standards have dropped so far that this is no longer a value for money experience.
Aqua Sana spas can be found within the four Center Parcs resorts around the UK. I have visited the Longleat Aqua Sana a number of times and always been pleasantly surprised at the standard of it.
When you enter Longleat Aqua Sana you do so through the spa shop, which stocks lots of lovely products from brands such as Elemis and Decleor. Whilst you might expect a shop within a spa to be quite expensive, in fact there are some great deals to be had through buying the gift packs, which can be around 50% of the price of buying the products individually.
You then help yourself to a robe and towel and head into the changing rooms. You are welcome to help yourself to as many towels as you like during your visit, which is great because often as spas you only get one which can quickly become wet.
The changing rooms are of an extremely high standard and feature individual shower cubicles, Elemis toiletries, hairdryers and plenty of lockers. The changing rooms have always been immaculately clean when I have visited and they are also kept at a nice temperature.
You enter the spa from the changing rooms through the restaurant. The spa itself has lots of different rooms and experiences, ranging from reflexology foot baths, various saunas, steam rooms and experience rooms as well as plenty of places to just lounge around and chill on reclining chairs or water beds. There is also an outdoor jacuzzi in the centre of the spa, kept at a warm but not too hot temperature and really lovely to use in the evening.
I personally do not like the extremely hot experience rooms and tend to stick to ones like the laconium room which is kept at a lovely warm temperature, the Balinese steam baths and the Indian bossom steam room. I also really like the experience showers which offer showers at a range of temperatures, a range of pressures and with the added bonus of some lovely essential oils. Details of all the experiences can be found here http://www.aquasana.co.uk/sana/aboutthespa/atthespa/new_experiences.jsp.
In addition to the spa facilities Aqua Sana also offers a wide range of treatments including facials, massages, couples treatments and hair and beauty treatments. I've only ever had the facial with Elemis products and I would highly recommend that. The treatment room was immaculate and beautifully decorated and the therapist was superb.
Prices vary for the spa. If you are staying at Center Parcs then you can take advantage of a number of special prices. Previously we have bought passes for the whole of our stay, meaning we could visit as often as we liked, for just £50 each. Most recently, last week, we indulged in a twilight spa at a cost of £40 for the two of us, which seems extremely reasonable.
Aqua sana spa day- Centre parcs
Location- Eleveden- Suffolk.
I have been on a couple of previous spa experiences and was unsure of what to make of the 'centre parcs spa' but i was pleasantly surprised.
We decided to pay the £149 for 2 with a treatment and lunch.
The whole building had been done very well and no money was spared.
The staff were friendly and explained what our day would include and we given bands to put around wrist so staff knew we were all inclusive!
We went and got changed, the changing rooms were again very nice with elemis products to use in the showers, shampoo, conditioner,body wash, hand soap etc. The lockers required a pound but were very big so you could share between 2 or 3 people.
We changed into our robes( all robes and towels are laid out so you can change them if needed through out the day- No charge) We then went for our morning welcome drinks, you could have any hot or cold drink.
I would like too add that i have been here 3 times, the first 2x the restaurant looked out on to a little garden which was lovely, you can sit out in summer! The last time i went it was undergoing works so you just looked at a blank wall which i think they should of mentioned to us when booking or at least turning up to the spa but oh well.
We then proceeded to the 15 different spa experiences, which were different sauna and spas each one based on a certain country so you had turkish baths,japenese salt bath,greek herbal bath etc.
There was an outdoor pool (heated :-) ) with built in jacuzzi, i loved the outdoor pool as it was snowing when i went and it felt surreal!
Before you know it its time for lunch, you have a list you can choose from, i normally go for the jacket potato with salad which is lovely and they give you a good plate full!!!! also you get your drink in with this.
We went and looked around the elemis shop and had a skin analysis which doesnt come free but i think it costs about £10, they scanned my face and told me about skin damage to my face and wrinkles etc ( im 24 had 2 wrinkles!!) Then they tell you what products you can buy, the products are to die for, they all smell gorgeous but do not come cheap!!!
You book you treatment which comes with package at the desk when you arrive, i have had a facial, body wrap and back and scalp massage here and all have been excellent!! The staff are very friendly but do tend to natter when your trying to relax!
After you have had the treatment they guide you to a room where you can sleep or relax and give you a fruit tea or water if preferred.
We then go and use the spa experiences as you never get time to do them all, you feel a little rushed too as you want to try them all out.
They have a foot spa also which i find pointless as it doesnt really do anything apart from the water bubbling!
They have a range of waterbeds, sunbeds and chairs etc you can relax on although the waterbeds are snapped up sharpish!
In the afternoon you can go and have you free tea/coffee and cake, the cakes are nice but you dont have much of an appetite by that point so never manage to finish.
The spa closes about 6 but for free you can use gym or move to the leisure centre where they have the swimming pools and slides etc, but you are not told this at all, we only found out once we were dressed and about to go home and we asked if we could do anything else.
We decided to go for a meal instead which was awful, maybe choice of restaurant and they are all over priced too which is ashame!!
Overall the whole spa experience is great, alot better than you would expect.
Will continue to go in the future!
I have yet to find another place like this (except for at the other Center parcs locations). I discovered the Aqua sana many years ago whilst on a Center Parcs holiday in Sherwood Forest, and now I only go there for the Aqua Sana.
You can book pamper days (starting from *£70), Pamper breaks (starting at £165 for 1 night) or if you are short of time and just need a quick pick me up you can have an evening session between 4 and 9pm (£35).
I have been on pamper days which were lovely but I can seriously recommend the "Twighlight" sessions, they are very affordable and it's great during a busy working week just to stop and relax.
Very easy, just go onto the website www.aquasana.co.uk or you can access it through the Center Parcs site. They have a list of treatments, descriptions of the spa, prices and the phone number with which to book. They also have a special offer section which changes monthly, so you could get a bargin spa day. Gift vouchers are also available on here.
If you have never been before they will set up a meeting in the restaurant area (usually with a welcome drink) to explain the facilities.
These are nicely fitted in wood and of course they play the essential relaxing plinky plonky music. Robes and towels are provided and there are Elemis products for use in the shower area. The changing rooms have a few sections, although no seperate changing cubicles.
A large variety of different spa experiences are available. There are 2 floors, with a small outdoors pool in the middle (the second floor overlooks the pool). The pool is lovely and warm. It is great to swim in it at night, I have even been out there when it was snowing before and still been warm enough.
The jacuzzi section of the pool could be improved, it seems a little bit too deep to get the full effect of the water jets. Also watch out for the under water walls sectioning it off from the pool, I always seem to walk into them!
Downstairs there are rooms with detailed information plaques outside each one. These include several different types of steam room, a sauna, a warm room, reflexology foot spas, a zen garden and an ice fountain (great fun to see how much ice you can get down your husbands shorts!).
Upstairs is more meditation based, there is my personal favourite the tepidarium, warm stone beds shaped to support you (they always send me to sleep). Also water beds, and an outside balcony with big furry throws and blankets. There are also mediation rooms which use light or sound to relax you. They have thought of just about everything and everybody has a different favourite.
I love the fact that it is so chilled out, there are plenty of staff about if you need them , but they seem to blend in when you don't. It is also a very coupley place, there are probably about 40% men there, although they do offer women only days.
Can be expensive, but when compared with treatments at other spas they don't look so bad. I have had a couple of massages which were good but, I do feel that there is plenty to relax you in the spa already without adding expense. They do carry on their male friendly attitude though with treatments tailored for men included on their list (I assume they use manly smelling lotions and potions?).
A nice airy restaurant with outside seating in nice weather. Simple menu, leaning mostly on the healthy side with fruit juices, salads, wraps and baked potatoes. However, they also cater for the naughty as well with some very nice homemade looking cakes. They also sell champagne (which you get a glass of free with a twighlight session) for special occaissions or treats.
This is a place I have visited and will visit time and again, everytime my husband and I go, we say we should do it more often. The only bad thing I could say is that after 10 or more years since it opened it is starting to look a tiny bit rough around the edges. It is nearly due for a bit of a face lift. But I probably only notice this as I have been so many times over the 10 year period.
* Prices taken from www.aquasana.co.uk
What is Aqua Sana?
Aqua Sana is a chain of spa's, there are 4 Aqua Sana spa's in England and each of them are situated at a different Center Parcs. You can visit the spa whilst on holiday at Center Parcs, or you can just visit the Aqua Sana spa for the day, or an overnight stay. Full details on the soa's and prices are available at www.aquasana.co.uk
Each Aqua Sana spa has 14 spa experiences boasting the widest selection in the UK, and of course there are the usual selection of treatments to choose from haircuts and pedicures to massage's and facials.
I personally prefer to go for a spa day without any of the treatments as the spa itself is a very relaxing place and not too badly priced considering the prices of some the spa's in the UK!
Inside the Spa
I have been to the Aqua Sana spa at Whinfell Forest and Sherwood Forest and whilst the different experiences are the same, the layout of each spa is different.
Each spa has a good selection of 'experiences,' and although there are some that aren't at the other spa's I have found the experiences always to be of a good quality and there is plenty to choose from.
When entering the spa's you will always be greeted by the friendly staff on the front desk. If you are holidaying at Center Parcs then you may have already pre-booked your spa session, or you can turn up and pay. If you are going for the day you can book by contacting the number on the aqua sana website, or you can often book on www.lastminute.com which is what I do when I am going for the day.
You will be given a wrist band and shown where the changing rooms are. There is a seperate changing room for males and females. As you enter the changing room you will notice right infront of you some robes and towels. You can choose your robe and towel here and continue onto the changing area. The changing areas are a nice, warm wooden area with lots of lockers. It doesn't feel like a cheap changing room, it's all very nicely layed out and decorated. I've noticed in both of the spa's I went to that it's mostly benches for you to get changed on, and either one or two small rooms with lockable doors if you are shy to get changed in front of other people. I have noticed people being confused by this and wandering around looking for some changing cubicles!
In the changing area there is also a toilet and some showers and sinks. There are complimentary Elemis products to use such as handwash, and shampoo's, conditioners and shower gels in the showers. I must admit these always smell very nice, but Elemis products are very expensive so it's nice to try them for free!
In both of the spa's it was well signposted where to go when leaving the changing area. If you are only there for a treatment you need to go to the treatment area, however if you are there for the world of spa you can go straight through to the spa.
The spa itself is warm, and very nicely decorated. I noticed in the Sherwood forest there was a stone floor however at the Whinfell Forest spa it was nicely tiled. Both were decorated in the same high quality standard. The main difference between both spa's is that the Sherwood Forest spa is situated on 2 levels, whilst the Whinfell spa is on one level.
There are plenty of seating areas so you're never stuck to find a seat to maybe leave your towel and book on whilst your wandering around the spa experiences.
So, onto the experiences themselves! I will describe the spa experiences at Whinfell Forest, and there are a few extra ones at Sherwood Forest I will go into after.
Outside of each experienve is a small plaque on the wall explaining it and also advises how long should be spent in the room.
Bali Steam Room - This is a very steamy room indeed! As you walk in through the door there are 3 small areas to sit in, and it can be hard to see if people are already sat down when you go into these little areas! The theme of this room is taken from the island of Bali and it has a strong light which slowly changes colour, there is also a lovely exotic smell to this room. The temperature in this room is around 45'C and the humidity is 90-100%, very steamy!
This room was not available at Sherwood Forest.
Greek Herbal Bath - This is a more gentle room and not too hot. As the name suggests it has a greek theme to it. In the centre of this room is a bucket above some herbs balanced on a silver plate and some hot coals beneath that. Every so often the water bucket turns upside down and some water comes out of a small tap onto one of the piles of herbs, immediately filling the room with the lovely smell of the herb! There is camomile, sage and rosemary.
I noticed at Sherwood Forest that the room was very hot, and no water coming out of the bucket when it turned upside down! When I asked a member of staff about this she seemed to dismiss it, so I wonder if it was broken.
Tyrolean Sauna - This is the traditional wooden sauna. It's in a large room and the seating is on two levels. The higher up you go the hotter it gets! It's very warm and dry in here and it's the hottest sauna available with the temperature being 80-100'C! In the corner is a big 'unit' with hot coals on. In the Whinfell Forest sauna there was a bucket and wooden spoon so you could pour water onto the coals and make the room hotter. This wasn't available at Sherwood Forest so I believe the staff monitor this one.
Ice Fountain - The Ice Fountain is always just outside of the Tyrolean Sauna. Here you can grab a handful of ice to put on your face and body, which is actually very nice when you have just spent 10 minutes in the hot sauna! It apparently helps boost your circulation, however I just love the feeling of it after having been in the sauna.
Indian Blossom Steam Room - The theme of this one is taken from a Maharaja's palace and it's very nicely decorated in a lovely Indian style. I love this room as it's scented with eucalyptus and menthol, which really nhelps my breathing, especially as my nose is always blocked up with my allergies! The temperature in here is around 45'C with a humidity of 90-100%, and I always find this one very pleasant to sit in.
Japanese Salt Steam Bath - This is personally my favourite room! It's a small room compared to some of the other but there are lovely ergonomically shaped seats which are very comfortable to sit in! In the middle of the room is a central table which is also used as a foot rest. On the central table is a large rose quartz rock with a small spout of water coming out of the top. Every so often there will be a jet of steam coming from small spouts either side of the rose quartz and these heat up the room nicely. The music in this room is nice and relaxing and the walls are painted in a Japanese style. You can smell the essential oils and salt in the air which really help with clearing congestion and helping you breathe more easily. This room is also around 45'C with a humidity of 80-100%. I find this room easy to sit in for longer as the seats are very comfortable to relax in!
The Laconium - I very rarely go into this room, it's more of a 'starter' room and it's nice and mild. The temperature is 65'C but it's not very humid at all, only around 15%. The seating area in this room is very comfortable and it's nice to come into here to prepare for the more hotter rooms!
Reflexology Footbaths - The footbaths are always just in the entrance to the spa and can be nice to start off in if you have aching feet! You sit on the tile surface and place your feet into the 'sink.' Press a button and it begins filling up with nice hot water, once it's full the bubbles begin! I love to sit in this one, however there are only 4 of them so sometimes they are all taken, however I've never had a problem managing to have a go.
Spa Pool - The pools at both of the spa's I went to were different. At Whinfell there is a heated outdoor pool, and a seperate pool which is slightly indoors with different massage jets. At Sherwood there was an outside pool with 2 massage jets at the top end and a jacuzzi area. Both pools however were very nice, I probably preferred the one at Whinfell as it's more 'outdoors' than Sherwood. The pool at Sherwood is in the centre of the spa, and whilst it's outdoors you don't really feel like you are as the building surrounding the pool is quite tall. At Whinfell you can see the forest and it's very peaceful, especially on a dark winter's evening when the stars are out!
Turkish Hamman - I never last very long in this classic Turkish bath! Whilst it states the temperature is 45'C and a humidity of 90-100%, it always feels much much hotter than the other steam rooms! This one is quite large with plenty of seating areas. It's very nicely decorated and is mostly dark blue tiles.
Water Beds - I love the water beds. They have sheets, covers and pillows on them and are unbelievable comfortable. However thre are only 4 beds and it's often hard to have a go on them as they are very popular! There is a sign advising how long to spend on them to give other guests a go, but you know how people are, and some people fall asleep on them... me included! ;)
Zen Garden - I love Japanese themed things and this garden is very pretty. The one at Whinfell however is rather small, but you can walk around it and sit outside in it, it's very calming. The garden at Sherwood was bigger and much better! As you went outside there was a wooden canopy against the building and underneath this were lots of flat beanbags and pillows to relax on. Whilst it was raining I lay on these and fell half asleep whilst watching the rain in the zen garden and seeing squirrels run up the trees! There were also a couple of wind chimes and it made it all very relaxing. I wish it were the same at Whinfell!
I should point out that all over the spa there are showers which often have different settings. You can have a tropical shower, a resfreshing spray, a side shower, a rainfall shower... you get the idea! Even when I have been in a very hot room I still prefer the warm showers, the cold ones are just too cold for me!
There are a couple of extra experiences at Sherwood. Thesae are the Aqua Meditation room, Tepidarium and the Tyrolean Garden. Whilst these 3 were nice, I don't mind them not being at Whinfell as they weren't major ones to be missed really.
Personally I haven't bothered with any of the massage's or facials as they are really expensive. You can find a full list of the different treatments available on the website, and there is something for everyone. I have however had the Serail Suite before which is mainly aimed at couples. Here you go into a tiled room and there are dufferent types of 'mud' to apply, before sitting in steam for a while then showering off. This was fun, and at £52 for 2 this was one of the most cheapest(!) treatments on offer at the spa and I was glad to use it, however I've never bothered with any other treatments.
At each spa you will find the Conservatory cafe. This is a nice large cafe which also has an outdoor seating area. You can relax in your robe and grab some lunch and a drink. They do soups, sandwiches, bagels, wraps, salad's and jacket's all with different fillings to choose from. They also serve champagne and wine if you fancy it, but I never go for tyhis as I fear alcohol and very hot steam rooms wont mix very well!
If you wish to go for a spa day then keep an eye out for special offers. At the moment you can pay £79 for 2 people to have a day at the spa (from 9.30am till 9pm) and this includes lunch, dessert and 3 drinks from the conservatory cafe each. However when I am on holiday at center parcs I opt for a spa pass which lets you go in and out of the spa whenever you choose to do so. They often have special offers on with the passes too, but they can be around £50 each. You can of course also pay for one visit to the spa whilst you are on holiday, and Center Parcs do special offers with the kids club too so have a good read of your brochure!
I highly recommend these spa's, I always come out feeling very relaxed and they're wonderful to relax in! Each of the experiebce rooms will keep you busy and you can take everything at a slow pace. If you are intimidated by the thought of a spa, as I was the first time, then you really don't have anything to worry about and the staff will always be there to answer any of your questions. I always find people looking uneasy and unsure also, and I've had people ask me everything from where the robes are to the exit from the changing room!
The spa is wondertfully decorated and is always playing nice and relaxing music. Take a book or a magazine and snuggle up on a soft chair and unwind!
As mentioned before, more information on this spa can be found at:
Setting the scene:
Stressed couple in mid twenties, one previous spa experience, on holiday at Center Parcs Elveden and keen for some pampering.
The spa changing rooms:
Beautifully lit (the kind of lighting that makes you look good) and tastefully decorated, the changing rooms implied the spa experience was going to be good. The wooden-fronted lockers took £1 coins and the helpful receptionists checked you had one before you went in. The white towel robes and white towels would be best described as adequate rather than luxurious. Private changing areas were available for the shy, and for afterwards there were private showers with free delicious-smelling shampoo and conditioners and free hairdyers.
The spa itself:
Arranged over 2 levels focused around an outdoor spa pool, the spa was full of areas to discover and I feel there should have been something to suit everyone. Different experience rooms included a sauna, Turkish bath, Indian steam room and lots of others. There were a variety of different temperatures and humidities so it was just a case of trying each room until you found your personal favourite! All rooms were decorated to a high standard and beautifully designed. In between the rooms there were luxurious beds to relax on covered in welcoming blankets, furs and cushions. There were also lots of nice touches, such as baskets of green apples (free) and hot and cold drinking water dispensers. The outdoor pool had lots of powerful bubble areas which provided a free alternative to a massage! It appeared to have been well thought-through, in that there were ample hooks to hang your robes on while in an experience room and lots of showers to cool off in once you came out. Only fault is possibly the lack of provision of footwear - personally I would have liked to have had some form of flip-flop to use between the treatment rooms. Overall at around £30 for half a day it was a bargain, and especially if you are staying at Center Parcs it has the added benefit of being an oasis of calm away from children.
A wide menu of treatments were available. We chose to have the serail mud treatment and a dual treatment. The Serail mud treatment was both fun, sensual and relaxing. This involved sitting with your partner in a tiled steam room for 15 minutes, then covering each other in a clay type mud, then going back into the steam to rub it into each other before eventually showering to get it all off. Messy, certainly, but left you super soft and feeling very close to your partner. Also (relatively) cheap, at £52 for 2 people.
The dual treatment was more expensive at £120 but did involve a back, neck and shoulder massage and a facial. The therapists were excellent and it was so relaxing I almost fell asleep. I also enjoyed it as I have a short attention span and have in the past found hour long facials rather boring, whereas a half hour massage and half hour facial felt like the perfect length!
Great value for money and a good introduction to spas for those who aren't sure what they will like.