Thursday, 22 March 2012

Lifehouse Spa

Last week, my friend Jemini and I took our stressed selves off to Lifehouse, a contemporary spa retreat in Thorpe-le-Soken, Essex.  Leaving the hustle and bustle of everyday life in London behind, we jumped on a train at Liverpool Street and arrived at Thorpe-le-Soken station, a mere 80 minutes later, to be greeted by Brian, a lovely porter from Lifehouse in his burgundy uniform, who swiftly grabbed our luggage and settled us into the Lifehouse taxi.

En route to the short drive to Lifehouse, Brian told us that Lifehouse is set within 130 acres of beautiful grounds which include 12 acres of historic, listed gardens, which were much improved in the 1920s and '30s by Lady Byng, the one time mistress of Thorpe Hall and wife of Lord Byng, a personal envoy to George V.  In fact, much of the land we passed on the way to the station belonged to Lifehouse - acres and acres in every direction!  It really did feel like we were in the middle of nowhere, at one with nature in the chicest way possible!

Lifehouse

After a speedy check in, we were whisked off to our room before our first treatments.  The spacious room was lovely, with plush beds, garden view, proper dressing table, huge bathroom with a ma-hoo-ssive walk in shower and a tea tray with an actual teapot!  We quickly got into our fluffy, extra soft robes and slippers and headed over to The Hub, where we checked in for our treatments...

Read more after the jump!




Our spa schedule
View from our balcony!
Surrounded by woodland!


Loved our room's 'proper dressing table' with illuminated mirror
Also really loved the modern yet cozy furniture, like this chair!

We were both having the BABOR Iconic massage as our first treatment, likened to a Swedish massage.  Before the treatment, I let the therapist know my stress areas and then she got to work with some lovely smelling oil.  The treatment was amazing, a really relaxing massage, with just the right amount of pressure in each area, that sent me off to the land of nod!

We were then shown round the spa areas - starting off with the Thermal Spa area, featuring a jacuzzi, a large pool, sauna, steam room, salt inhalation room, foot baths and plunge pool.  The best thing was that the Thermal spa areas were all tasteful and elegant in decor - all dark grey slate flooring, chic poolside furniture (which was all ultra comfortable!) and outdoor design elements.

Lifehouse - Thermal Spa area
Aside from the thermal spa area (where we spent a LOT of time!), there seemed to be zillions of treatment rooms and zillions of therapists in identical taupe and hot pink uniforms!  In fact, there are 35 treatment rooms, outdoor fitness circuit, yoga / Pilates studio, 15 manicure and pedicure stations, make up bays, a hairdressing salon and a spa boutique...phew!  To top that off, there is a wonderful relaxation area featuring amazing massage chairs (which aren't ugly!), lots of soft grey sofas and some very chic chaise longues topped off with some hot pink throws! 

After some quality time in the thermal spa area, we decided to derobe ourselves and dress for dinner (other guests felt more than comfortable padding over in their robes!), and headed down Waterlilies for a yummy three course dinner.  We definitely came away thinking that the restaurant is great in its own right, serving beautiful cuisine, and by no means an add on to the retreat.  My favourite by far was the 'warm chocolate fondant, peanut butter ice cream & caramelised almonds' - sorry no photo as I gobbled it up too quick!  After dinner, we chilled even further with a cappuccino in the bar area; Orchids.

Orchids

The next morning, after a delicious continental breakfast (enjoyed in our fluffy robes!), we prepared for our next treatment, chilling in the relaxation area till our buzzers signalled it was time for our appointments.  I was having the Footlogix Jessica Pedicure whilst Jemini has opted for a Babor Life...Style Face Treatment.

My pedicure was strangely relaxing!  My feet were really taken care of by my lovely therapist Sophie, who explained everything as she did it.  It was a medi-pedi of sorts, using new dermal integration technology called Footlogix, for ultra moisturisation deep down.  My feet were soaked in a footbath and then cleaned, before Sophie trimmed the toenails and cuticles, pushing them back and buffing the nails using the electric machine.  She then used the Footlogix stainless steel file to remove all hard skin, having softened it prior with water spray.  At first glance it just like any foot file but the difference to the softness of my feet was amazing!  After filing, Footlogix Dry Skin Mousse was applied to my feet, which soaked in immediately, leaving no greasy residue!  Finally, the pedi was finished with a couple of coats of Jessica polish in 'Powerful' and I was good to go!

Voila! The finished pedicure!

I met Jemini snoozing in the relaxation area and when I asked about her facial she said, "Honestly I think that was the best facial I have ever had!", rendering me speechless!  Her face matched her words and she had a very healthy, glowy look about her!  In our new zen like states, we decided we were peckish and wondered over to Orchids for a light lunch.

Then, our final few hours at Lifehouse beckoned (sob) and we made the most of it by swimming and lounging by the pool and relaxing in the thermal spa areas, till we had to face facts, get showered and prepare to go home (sad face).

We left feeling truly rested and relaxed - which had probably got something to do with Lifehouse's stunning location, meaning we felt as if we'd really gotten away for a break!

Surrounded by nature!

Lifehouse truly is a special place, surrounded by nature and the outdoors, but with beautiful, modern interiors that make it cosy and inviting.  Award-winning architects and interior designers The Manser Practice, have done a simply stunning job; choosing some amazing design elements, unusual yet striking decor schemes and modern yet cosy furtniture and accessories, that all come together to present the modern spa. I will definitely be returning!

For more information, check out the Lifehouse website

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