Tales of a City Girl

Where’s the best spa I’ve ever been to? You may be surprised…

What do I have in common with the Made in Chelsea lot? No, it’s not the fact people pay me to go to their bars – it’s that I also agree going to a spa is the only way to spend a weekend darling. Although, unlike reality TV toffs, I can’t really afford to go a lot. This is why I’m so pleased to post about my brilliant and affordable trip to Aqua Sana Spa in Center Parcs. Yes, that icon of happy childhoods everywhere has a spa too – and a damn good one at that.

My Mum and I decided to go away to Aqua Sana Spa a few weeks ago to take advantage of their Luxury Spa Break. For me, it was a good break from work and London – for Mum, simply a few short days away from her hectic retiree lifestyle before she also goes to Cuba and India this year (she should write a blog herself). That’s by-the-by though…

I’d like to also mention, before I go on, that this post was written while drinking wine from a tumbler in a coffee/wine bar in East London from a Mac laptop, on my own, while waiting to go meet a friend for dinner. I feel like I have reached uber-hipster twat levels – even though it was actually quite fun. The shame.

 Aqua Sana Spa is a beautiful spot within Elveden Forest in rural Suffolk, tucked slightly away from the hubbub of the core of the Center Parcs village. Split over two levels, it consists of lots of different steam and sauna rooms, from a Japanese Zen Garden to a traditional Tyrolean sauna, with a heated outdoor pool surrounded by greenery in the middle.

Scattered around are different relaxation areas filled with a range of perfect napping spots, from water beds to loungers and sofas as wide as they are long. These are perfect for when the heat of the steam rooms gets to your little over-relaxed brain and you need to go to sleep while clutching one of the magazines provided. Everywhere gentle Enya-like music plays – the kind of playlists suitable for spas and dentists only.

The Luxury Spa break includes an overnight stay in the Luxury Spa Suites, which is separated from the spa by a length of corridor and a door for the ultimate lazy luxury, and was one of the best hotel suites I’ve ever stayed in.  Our suite had a fire, and 3 TVs (one in the living room; bedroom and one of our two bathrooms). Our spa concierge (yeah, you get a personalised spa concierge… it’s weird but go with it, it’s also pretty great) had also put chocolate-coated strawberries in the fridge; root crisps on the dining table; and fresh coffee pods for the coffee machine on the side.

Included in the trip is a 55 minute Signature treatment. When we went, this was a full body exfoliation, moisturising, facial and a choice of head and scalp; foot or shoulder massage. The treatment was brilliant and the lady I had was lovely – she even massaged special muscle relaxant into my bruised ankle for me.

Food-wise, don’t fear about paying extra for that either. Your spa break includes breakfast (choose from room service; or a restaurant in the Center Parcs village); a £20 voucher each towards dinner for any restaurant in the Village (we chose the Country Club for beer and burgers) and lunch in the Vitale Café, a lovely sun-trap within the same spa building.

Center Parcs holds so many great childhood memories for me anyway (what can I say, I’m white and middle class) and the spa gives a whole new flavour to the Center Parcs experience.

  • Luxury Spa Breaks start from £179 p/p. Find out more on the Aqua Sana website.
  • We stayed in the Elveden Inn the night before our stay – a 5 minute drive from the park itself. You will need to find somewhere to stay before your spa day starts unless you live nearby.


Image attribution: Centerparcs.co.uk