I don’t remember the last time I was able to celebrate my birthday properly, obviously I’ve still received cards and gifts, but I mean going out to celebrate it and this has been down to poor health. The last party was for my 30th and I was six months pregnant at the time.
So back in April I decided to that this year I would, no matter what. A friend recommended the Lifehouse Spa in Essex – actually its been more raving about ever since she went there.
My best friend’s birthday is on the 4th July, 3 days before mine, so it made sense to rope her into the action. Imagine my surprise when not only had she heard of the Spa but had been dying for an excuse to go too.
Unfortunately we have pesky husbands that work away a lot, so it would have been too good to be true to be able to go in July. As it happened that worked out for the best because I ended up having an operation on the 6th July. June it was and to be honest we were so excited that the sooner the better was our motto.
Lifehouse Spa run regular promotions on line, for their spa packages. We paid £99 each, for the LOVElife package, which includes:
Full use of Spa facilities
The Playground (Gym)
Fitness & Wellness classes
Plus a complimentary treatment (Facial, Back Massage or Head Massage)
Photo Credit: visitessex.com
June 13th couldn’t arrive quick enough and as we drove into the secluded grounds I expected to see the quintessential English Manor House, converted into a Spa. Instead we found a large but completely in keeping, unimposing modern building surrounded by country grounds, seamlessly blending into each other. Similar to those Eco homes you see built on Grand Designs. No building no more than 3 storeys high and glass making up a good majority of the buildings. Including the enclosed walkways to each of the different areas. So even if it’s raining, you can still enjoy the surroundings.
Lifehouse aim to to provide a relaxing environment, which also makes you feel as if you are the only people there. And throughout the stay that is exactly how we felt. Not like we were on a conveyor belt of people waiting for treatments.
The concierge will park your car for you and takes your luggage into reception, whilst you are checked-in by a dedicated receptionist, who gives you a schedule of your pre-booked treatments, classes and meals. (I thoroughly recommend booking ahead of your stay, as the treatments are very sort after and get booked up fast).
Concierge then took us to our rooms, with our luggage. He offered to to give us a guided tour but I prefer to nosey around myself.
Photo Credit: cowans.co.uk
We’d booked a Twin Room, which was very spacious and French Doors overlooking the grounds. Something small but silly, that I particularly liked, was that the beds weren’t uniformly next to each other – as you get in other hotels but in a L shape on adjacent walls. . Which meant at the end of the day we could sit and chat on our own beds – in a fun sleep over way.
The bathroom was also large, with a wet room / shower for two at one end and was constantly at a lovely cosy temperature – that even made the floor tiles warm to the feet.
No sooner had Mr. Concierge left us to it, were we changing into our swimming costumes and slipping on the complimentary bath robes. Which were gorgeously soft, not rough like they sometimes are from too many boil washes.
The Spa area itself is only a short distance from each accommodation area, for us it was just past the Waterlillies restaurant and next to the Oriental Bathing Experience – touted as the ‘Ultimate in Relaxtion’ but at £122 for 120 minutes I am yet to find out what that entails.
A large Jacuzzi, fits 8 people comfortably, Steam and Sauna room, Salt Inhalation Room and Freezing plunge pool make up the spa. I particularly enjoyed the Salt inhalation which cleanses the sinuses and respiratory systems. Absorbing moisture and killing bacteria. If you have a cold I thoroughly recommend a short stint in here.
Through a glass partition is the 18.5m Swimming Salt water Swimming pool. All the water in the spa is Salt water, opposed to Chlorine. Again in keeping with the Lifehouse philosophy of detox and purify.
My first treatment was a Lifehouse Barbor taster facial, (Since our stay, Lifehouse are now using ESPA products for their treatments) in the treatment rooms above the spa. Because the only place you can use mobiles etc (this isn’t gestapo enforced) is in the bedrooms. It’s impossible to keep track of time so once you’ve booked in at the treatment reception you are given a buzzer (similar to the ones they give you TGI Fridays, for when your table is ready). You are then shown to the smoothie bar where you can sit until your buzzer goes off and your beautician is ready and waiting.
I found the treatment rooms to be pretty much like any other i have been in, except a noticeable and welcome difference was that the rooms were warm – not stifling hot and not air conditioned freezing.
After 25 minutes I felt refreshed and so relaxed I wanted to go to bed not to Dinner.
I had my other two treatments the following day, a Footlogix Wellness pedicure with Jessica GELeration Overlay and a Jessica prescription manicure with GELeration Overlay. These treatments were done in the Communal Therapy Area – the opposite end to the private treatment rooms. The Chairs are what it must feel like to sit on a cloud in heaven. Every single part of my body was softly supported – I’d not been sat in it for more than 5 minutes before I started drifting off. I’m sure that had nothing to do with the two bottles of wine we had, had the night before but I welcomed the refreshing ice cold glass of water with lemon.
After each treatment your beautician takes you to the Ssshh zone, with a variety of beds, chairs and sofa’s for you to continue with your inner relaxation, even a little nap if you so wish. should you have a need for further relaxation massage chairs are available free of charge. Being a Spa Snorty Snorter I managed to keep myself awake and avoid any embarrassment.
Our dinner was in the Waterlillies restaurant, our server was Monica possibly the most attentive and loveliest lady I have ever had the pleasure to meet. The menu is truly gourmet ad in no way rabbit food. I enjoyed the most delicious and tender Lamb I have ever had the chance to eat. Desert was a Chocolate Melting Pudding with Ice Cream. Perfect again, as I don’t like anything too sickly or rich.
Photo credit: itsallweeat.com
Positively stuffed and perhaps a little tipsy, we retired to our rooms and what are described as Luxury beds and that they are. One of the best nights sleeps I have had in a while and I think we can thank not only the bed but the whole spa experience.
The following day, check out was at 11am but there is no need to be physically at reception at that time (queueing with everyone else while you could still be enjoying the facilities). Instead, as long as you’ve packed up, you can arrange for concierge to collect your bags and continue using all the services and treatments until 3pm. this meant we could have a leisurely breakfast, the remainder of our treatments and as the sun had come out a couple of hours drinking refreshment on one of the many sun trap terraces. We definitely left, as promised, with a the best possible after spa glow – that lasted too!
Photo credit: maplandia.com
Please do not be out off by the electronic communications in rooms only policy, I am the worst Smart Phone addict there is and I can say hand on heart, no sooner was I out of the room that I barely thought of about it. There is plenty to keep your senses awake and entertained.
There is also the opportunity to borrow wellies or bikes to explore the surrounding grounds if you get the chance or inclination.
Lastly, a lovely touch, which I didn’t use but is a wonderful idea – the Spa offers a complimentary ‘Meet & Greet’ Service from Thorpe-Le-Soken train station (Must be booked in advance).
Visit Essex Tourism