'A much-needed break in a close-by oasis'
Fresh off the back of a five bubble rating from the Good Spa Guide, Geraldine Scott paid a visit to Aqua Sana at Center Parcs Elveden to see what all the fuss was about.
In 2018 we are surrounded by stress.
Whether at work or at home the Mental Health Foundation found that in the last year 74pc of people had felt so stressed they were overwhelmed or unable to cope.
So it is no surprise the spa industry continues to grow with a realisation we need to look after both our physical and mental health a lot better.
Walking in to the Aqua Sana spa at Center Parcs Elveden, it was immediately obvious that was the focus.
From the calming music to the ambient lighting you immediately felt relaxed.
What had not been relaxing was the crash on the A11 which had left my friend Jessica and I running late and dangerously close to missing one of our booked treatments, but the unflappable reception staff had been extremely helpful when we called ahead and moved the slots without a worry.
Needless to say by the time we arrived we were highly-strung and ready to chill.
We were led through to the changing rooms which felt luxurious and warm, the heated floors were a particular treat.
And bundled up in our dressing gowns and towels we made our way through to the spa itself.
A lovely touch was the high-end Elemis products provided to take off any make-up so your skin could truly benefit from the experience.
Aqua Sana recently had a makeover of its own, which led to the Good Spa Guide bumping its rating from four to five.
Kay Pennington, Aqua Sana Group spa manager said: “We’re thrilled to have had the refresh recognised by the Good Spa Guide. After a lot of hard work from the team, and the desire to provide a beautiful, natural place for our guests relax and unwind, our spa is now ready to wow. We’re looking forward to sharing our newly revived space with guests.”
And it was clear the renovation had paid off.
The first thing we did when we arrived was booked in for lunch, where a whole host of healthy options (and unhealthy treats too for those celebrating) were on offer.
A stuffed portobello mushroom for me and a salmon and smoked haddock fish cake for Jess.
Then it was off to explore the spa itself, but not before a quick coffee and a pastry to set us up.
Set around a central outdoor spa pool, complete with bubbles and jets, were five experience rooms, with another two upstairs.
Ranging from a Turkish Hammam, to Japanese Salt Steam Bath, moving through the different intensities, the different heats, and different aromas opened the airways and relaxed the muscles.
A refreshing ice fountain shocked the body after heating up in the Tyrolean Sauna.
Or heading upstairs waterbeds soothed many guests to sleep after reading complimentary magazines.
I was treated to a Decléor City Detox Face and Body Ritual (£85pp) combining a deep tissue massage to detoxify from the pollution and pressures of the city, plus a refreshing facial to clear out any pollutants.
My therapist, Nic, was brilliant and put me straight at ease - it never feels natural taking your clothes off in a room with a stranger!
And she talked me through every product she used to ensure I knew exactly what was being put on my skin.
Overall, the experience was a much-needed break in a close-by oasis.
Elveden isn’t far from Norwich in the grand scheme of things and is easy to get to.
The only drawback I found about Aqua Sana was you need to have a car to get there. I drive, but don’t own a car as I live in the city centre, so took advantage of the Norfolk Car Club to make my way there.
That in itself was a bit costly, and kept us on a time limit to get the car back, so access to public transport which stopped there would be an advantage.
But once you are there nothing is too much for staff, who even brought around complementary mini glasses of prosecco for those relaxing in the quiet area upstairs.
I‘d definitely return to Aqua Sana whether for another relaxing day with a friend or as part of a break at Center Parcs.
It was a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
• For more information visit www.aquasana.co.uk or call 03448 266205.
• This is an independent review.