And…relax. Forget the whirlwind of Christmas and start the year with a little relaxation at one of the region’s best spas
It’s a brand New Year, and what better way to ease yourself in gently than with a little pampering. Eastlife’s editor Emma Kemsley has been searching the region for spas to suit all moods and moments
Best spa for luxury…Weavers House Spa, Lavenham, Suffolk
The spa at The Swan at Lavenham Hotel is a little hidden oasis in heart of Suffolk. Surrounded by the town’s iconic timber framed buildings, the spa features a steam room, sauna and vitality pool. I took a plunge in the outdoor vitality pool in December among twinkling fairy lights, which was a lovely winter experience, but there is seating available in the surrounding garden for warmer months.
The spa environment at Weavers is cleansing and calm, while the treatment list is great for those looking to rejuvenate. The usual massage and anti-aging options are available, but the range of facials is what makes this spa an extra bit special. A power breakfast, spring clean and purification facial are all on the menu.
I opted for the ‘My Kind of Skin’ Facial, which is created for each individual’s skin type. Using Temple Spa products my skin was treated to an hour of luxury using truffle, gold and precious gem extracts to brighten, reduce stress and illuminate. The result? A glowing complexion, which almost made me feel I could go make-up free for dinner, almost!
The My Kinda Skin facial is priced at £72 for 60 minutes. Overnight guests at the adjoining Swan at Lavenham Hotel have a complimentary two-hour session with use of the facilities in Weavers’ House Spa. www.theswanatlavenham.co.uk/spa
Best spas for couples…Sopwell House, St Albans, Hertfordshire
For an overnight spa break head to Sopwell House. A short drive from the bustling city of St Albans, here you’ll find a sanctuary for the peace and quiet that we all need every now and then. If you’re looking for a mini-getaway with pure indulgence and romance, then choose to stay in The Mews; a privately gated and relatively new addition to Sopwell House.
Set opposite the hotel itself, The Mews features 16 stunning suites. Originally an old stable block, the refurbished suites are centred around a pretty paved garden and a central infinity edged hydrotherapy pool. The Mews ticks all the boxes; our room had a lounge area, central wall gas-fireplace, free standing bath, luxury bathroom, four poster bed, coffee machine, private garden and sunken spa bath – I was in hotel heaven!
The spa is entered via the main entrance of the hotel, through the corridors hung with football memorabilia from famous sporting guests. Featuring a gymnasium with yoga and dance studio, 14 treatment rooms, 15-metre swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and relaxation area, the spa is well-equipped with everything you need to recharge the batteries. I enjoyed a relaxing full body massage. The therapist discussed my needs, and I was given the choice of two oils to smell before beginning the treatment. My body chose the oil intended to help with tension. The hour long treatment helped me gently shed the stress of the week and relax into the weekend.
Sopwell House has a number of spa day packages available which include use of the facilities, and either a treatment, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner or overnight stay – although it’s advised you should book at least a month in advance as spa days are hugely popular!
The Mews, which start from £244 per person including. www.sopwellhouse.co.uk
Best spas for peace and quiet…Congham Hall, Norfolk
Located in the countryside of Grimston, in a striking white Georgian manor house, you’ll instantly start to forget the worries and stress of everyday life. My double room was located off a pretty little courtyard, had a contemporary design, luxury bathroom with freestanding bath and waterfall shower, and terrace area which overlooked the herb garden; perfect if you’re visiting during the summer.
Once changed into a white fluffy robe I headed for the spa, which on a Friday afternoon was empty, much to my delight – I felt as though I had my own little private session. The pool is surrounded by glass windows overlooking the countryside, and I wasted no time going for a dip. It was then onto the experience showers, which feature different settings, such as a Caribbean storm, complete with light and sound effects – for a moment I thought I’d been transported to Barbados! There’s also a thermal suite which includes a sauna, steam room and bio-sauna, foot baths, and my personal favourite, an outside hot tub. To spend an afternoon watching the sun break through the clouds was pure bliss.
Once relaxed, I indulged in the Herb Garden Treatment, which carefully uses the five elements to address key underlying concerns of the skin and body. After answering a few simple questions, it was revealed my elements were both ‘wood’ and ‘metal’. I chose ‘metal’, which meant my facial and intensive back and relaxing scalp massage were designed for detox. I left feeling relieved of all stress and tension! If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle, Congham Hall ticks all the boxes for a relaxing getaway!
Room-only rates (available Mon-Thurs) start at £135 per night, based on two sharing. Dinner, bed and breakfast rates start at £219 per room per night for two people. The Herb Garden treatment costs £75. www.conghamhallhotel.co.uk
Best spa for a girly pamper day…Aqua Sana, Thetford
There’s nothing better than a little pampering with girl friends, and Aqua Sana in the heart of rural Suffolk at Elveden Forest, is the perfect destinations for just that! The spacious lay out, modern interior and wide range of treatments all help you to let go. Set over two levels, the spa features Hydro pools’, a heated outdoor pool at its centre, relaxation room and beds, Vitalé Café Bar, selection of sauna, steam rooms and treatment rooms.
The spa day for 2 starts from £65 per person. If you can’t quite manage a full day there are a range of Twilight sessions available from £47 per person – the perfect post work pick me up! www.aquasana.co.uk/sanaspa/elveden/spa-days
Best spas for city life…The Glassworks Health Club & Spa at The Varsity Hotel, Cambridge
Style, sauna and steam are all on the menu at Glassworks Health Club. Set in the heart of the city of Cambridge, it offers a range of treatments for both members and non members.
Relax in the Jacuzzi overlooking the River Cam, before indulging in one of the many treatments available using Elemis products.
There are a number of spa day packages available starting from £55 per person. Whether you need peace and quiet, time to de-stress or a complete rejuvenation, there’s something to suit all moods. Once relaxed visit one of the hotel’s restaurants or head into the city centre for a little retail therapy to finish the day! www.thevarsityhotel.co.uk
Best spas for…spa and sport – Ufford Park Woodbridge Hotel, Golf & Spa
If you like to keep active and can’t bare to sit around for too long, Ufford Park is for you!
Set in calming countryside, near the pretty market town of Woodbridge, this luxurious hotel provides a peaceful environment to relax and rejuvenate. Featuring the latest thermal spa facilities, including a series of heating and cooling experiences such as a large hydro-pool, aroma steam room, mineral grotto, and soft sauna, this spa is all about pampering. Before relaxing, work up a sweat or embrace your New Year fitness regime at at the hotel’s gymnasium incorporating cardiovascular and resistance equipment or challenging 18-hole golf course! Spa experiences start from £39 per person. www.uffordpark.co.uk