If you think spa weekends are relaxing, you should try going with my mates
This time last year, I was job hunting after the start-up I worked for went bust. This meant that both of my best friends 30ths being within a couple of weeks of each other was both a blessing and a curse. I feel like the 30th birthdays of two of the most important people in the world to me just passed me by while I stuck my head in programmatic media buying articles and sat in central London coffee shops preparing for interviews. So this year, now that I was settled in a job I loved, I decided to pack us all off to Lifehouse Spa(my two best friends and one of my best friends sister, who, despite the fact that we have known each other 17 years still refers to me as “just her sisters mate”).
I’ve been to Lifehouse 3 times. The last time I went, I had a full spa day with my Mum and wrote an article for Spabreaks.com. Although it was lovely, I was looking forward to going this time and it not being in a professional capacity. We decided to leave early. And by decided, I mean the other three girls were like “we are leaving early”, so I was up and raring to go by about ten AM. We’d booked to separate packages. The girls had treatment, dinner and breakfast and myself and my friends’ sister just had dinner and breakfast, as, after all, it wasn’t our birthdays. We arrived at around 12.30pm realising there wasn’t a chance in hell of checking in so early when our check-in times were two PM and three PM respectively. I decided we’d announce our arrival and then maybe sit in the bar for a bit until we could check in. No need. Our rooms were ready and the receptionist checked us in at no extra charge. Not only did we get this little-added benefit, but we also got a late check-out for free as they were so busy. This was shaping up to be a pretty good weekend already.
The rooms at Lifehouse Spa
The rooms at Lifehouse never fail to impress, no matter how many times you go. Bright and airy, the majority of them have patio doors which open onto a Juliette balcony, which is a wonderful way to let some light in without freezing your tits off. Whenever you book a room at Lifehouse you get a robe and slippers, and they actively encourage you to wear them. This means that during the day, you are more than welcome to potter about, go to the bar, and eat lunch in your robe. We headed to the bar for a bit to work our way through the cocktail menu. And by “work our way through” what I mean is I drunk tap water because I don’t drink, but enjoyed the fact my two friends were having such a good time at their birthday treat because believe me both of those girls deserve it.
The spa at Lifehouse Spa
We had a couple of hours to kill before the girls had their treatments, so we headed to the spa. The spa at Lifehouse never fails to impress me. The hydro-pool and the standard pool form the centrepiece of the spa area, with the steam room, sauna and salt-inhalation room in rooms dotted around the perimeter. There are also a number of sun loungers, many more, in fact, than last time I went, so it’s obviously becoming more popular. Owing to the fact I wind my friends up 365 days a year, they obviously seized the opportunity to push me into the incredibly cold swimming pool. Which would have been fine except this is the first time I have ever been there and found it uncomfortably so. To my recollection, the pool has never been that cold, and it’s a shame somewhere that prides itself on great customer service can cut corners on something so important to save money (we weren’t the only ones who moaned about it. The pool was actually empty and it was a widely discussed issue around the sun loungers).
After a good couple of hours alternating between the sauna and the hydro-pool, we decided to try the relaxation room. The relaxation room at Lifehouse is a dark, quiet room that is incredibly cosy and has comfy chairs and blankets. Although I wouldn’t describe it as “quiet” when we got there. Our time in the relaxation room was cut short when my friend actually sat on someone because it was too dark to see anything. If you are reading this and you got sat on at Lifehouse last weekend, I apologise.
The food at Lifehouse Spa
Luckily enough for me, I’ve eaten at Lifehouse a number of times, so I knew what a treat we had in store for our dinner. Choosing a late dinner over an early one for more spa time, we got ready and headed down for our nine PM table. The restaurant at Lifehouse is a crowning feature as much as the spa. In using fresh, locally sourced ingredients they favour quality in a way that many restaurants overlook when deciding what to put on their menus. Seeing as I was on “holiday” I decided to go simple and have the burger. Not only was it divine, but the triple cooked Italian chips set it off magnificently. I’ve never triple cooked anything in my life, but if things come out as crispy as Lifehouse chips do, I’ll be triple cooking everything for the foreseeable future. Two of my friends had the seafood stew, and they didn’t stop going on about it for around 24 hours so it must have been nice.
Despite the late dinner, I set an alarm for the Sunday morning so as not to miss breakfast. I forgot I was away with three people with children whose body clocks are more accurate than a Rolex. There was a lot more to the breakfast than last time I went, and being the non-hungover one I took full advantage of this. The girls headed back to bed in their version of taking advantage of the late checkout, and I headed back to the spa for another two glorious hours of hydro-pool and salt inhalation.
I will say this to anyone who will listen: you MUST visit Lifehouse. It really is one of the best spas I’ve ever been to, and you genuinely can’t help but relax there. Just give me a text first to make sure we aren’t going.