Regular readers to my blog may remember me mentioning I recently celebrated my 10 year wedding anniversary. On the 26 April 2001 Paul and I were married at Le Sport in St Lucia , rated top spa retreat 2011 by Conde Nast Travellers magazine.
We always said we would go back for our 10 yr anniversary but realistically when you have children it’s not possible to enjoy a week or two at Le Sport! So although St Lucia was out I wanted to prove it is possible to have a luxury body experience here in the UK. I didn’t however expect to find the perfect spa literally on my doorstep only 30 mins away. But that is exactly what happened when I discovered ‘Lifehouse’.
Lifehouse is a stay and day spa set within 130 acres of beautiful grounds and 12 acres of historic, listed gardens. 89 guest rooms boast views of the surrounding gardens or courtyard and facilities include 35 treatment rooms, gym, outdoor fitness circuit, exercise studio, swimming pool, thermal spa area, relaxation areas, and manicure and pedicure stations, make up bays, a hairdressing salon and a spa boutique. The gardens 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.
We arrived quite late in the afternoon and upon approaching the reception Paul did ask ‘do they have a valet service’ to which I replied no, drop me off then go park the car. Whoops they do indeed have a valet service, at least I’ll note this for next time!
Our check in was prompt and we were shown to our rooms by a very helpful man. As a planner I appreciate all the little touches that make an event exceptional and thus totally loved our room which is classed as a ‘great room’. The door card was not one of those irritating swipe cards; it was instead a card you hold up to a sensor on your door. I also loved the white leather wallet it came in.
Of course the first thing I did was check out the bed, HUGE, literally even with my arms stretched out I couldn’t reach Paul! The technical touches in the bathroom include shower controls by the sink so you can turn it on prior to entering the show thus not soaking your arm which is what normally happens to me. The bright shower caps and little ducks were a sweet idea and the complimentary Babor products were divine.
Our first treatment was at 5pm so we hurriedly put on our costumes and robes and made our way to the spa hub to check in. The treatment we chose was their signature ‘Oriental Bathing Experience’ . I was worried whether this would be too ‘girly’ for Paul but I needn’t have worried, it is the PERFECT treatment for couples as it’s just the 2 of you at a time although I think they can accommodate 3 if there a few of you (hen celebrations etc). The treatment lasted just under 2 hours or longer if you do indeed snooze in the sleep pod at the end!
o grounding Thai foot ritual to ‘open’ Sen energy lines
o a soak in our two baths toease away the stress of everyday life
o a full body exfoliation leaving your skin tantalisingly touchable
o a warm oil and hot stone massage concentrating on the back and shoulders using sensual essential oils, chosen to suit your wants and needs
o an indulged feeling as you savour the peace of a quiet, private sleep pod, where you can drift off into a refreshing sleep
Because it was the end of the day we felt like we had the place to ourselves when we went for a swim and enjoyed the Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna etc (all salt water so no chorine in sight). I especially loved the large shower which had a choice of tropical, fresh and I think rain water – and I chose? Tropical of course which was warm and scented of the tropics.
That evening we had dinner in their restaurant and the food was on a par with my high end caterers, I did laugh when Paul asked why my lamb hot pot was served on a bread board with the mushy peas in a little silver pail. I just rolled my eyes and said ‘you know nothing about presentation – sigh!’ to me it was perfect and imaginative. Who would have thought of teaming a chocolate brownie with a shot of mojito?!
On Sunday we woke late at 8:45, we knew breakfast finished at 9am so we ran to the restaurant as we didnt want to miss out! After another swim and sample of the jacuzzi and steam room, we both had a body massage which was again very relaxing, we met up in the Strawberry Tree juice bar before heading off for a walk in the gardens. The grounds are absolutely beautiful and Paul and I enjoyed having a stroll before lunch, exploring the hidden gardens and sitting on the benches by the lakes.
I feel I must give a special mention to the staff – every single person was friendly and professional, they all genuinely wanted to help and made us feel special. The management team must have operated a strict interviewing process to ensure the right staff were hired and they have definitely succeeded.
So if you have a special occasion or just need a break I can HIGHLY recommend a short break at the Lifehouse , there is so much I didn’t get the chance to do but I’m sure I’ll be back again with or without Paul in tow!