When anyone used to ask me what my favourite spa was (please don’t think I’m posh because I have a ‘favourite spa’, I still steal jams from buffet breakfasts and take the tea home if I don’t drink it) I used to say Best Western Ufford Park, with its lovely thermal spa and soft sauna.
If anyone asks me now, I’ll say Lifehouse. This is not because they are paying me, or have held me hostage, I just went on Sunday night and really enjoyed it. Set in the grounds of an English heritage site, the minute you pull into the car park you feel like you are ‘away’. We went straight to the check in desk and the gentleman who checked us in explained where everything was, what time is was, and printed off an itinerary for us telling us when we had booked dinner and treatments, which was a lovely idea as I forget things quicker than a fish. He also advised us the desk was open 24/7 for problems, which makes a difference from places I have been in the past who throw you the keys and don’t even explain where the facilities are.
We got to our room and were pleasantly surprised at how nice it is. I don’t know if anyone has experienced this but it’s usually the case that spa’s with nice rooms have dingy facilities, and spas with nice facilities have dingy rooms (both are exceptional at Lifehouse), We had patio doors with a beautiful view of the pond. This was a negative when we opened the doors in the night because it was hot and woke up to some geese rowing at 5am. Not the hotels fault at all, and I can guarantee if we had have told them they would of made every effort to find quieter geese, that’s how good the customer service was.
We got on our robes and slippers (the spa encourage you to walk around in them) and went down to use the facilities. Aside from how modern and clean they were on first impression, I also noticed how they had little touches that were just that over and above a standard spa. The swimming pool and its mood lighting for example. The hydro pool, with lovely stone ‘beds’ either side of the steps you could lay on and turn on the jets. Foots spa’s. A salt inhalation room as well as a standard sauna and steam room. A plunge pool of cold water (which I didn’t brave until the next morning). The relaxation room was also lovely, and again little touches like a well stocked magazine shelf and little black blankets you could take to the beds made the place feel warm and homely.
Being that we wanted to ‘make the most’ of it, we booked a table and went down to dinner. Getting ready in a hotel is my favourite thing ever. Not only did Lifehouse have a massive vanity mirror with a light, it also had showers so posh you could pause them.
I had the chicken balti and my friend had the Dedham Vale burger, both of which were absolutely delecious. I haven’t had food this nice for a long time, and I’m glad we washed it down with the Prosecco AFTER and I was sober enough to remember eating it.
The service at dinner was fantastic (although at this point I wouldn’t expect anything less). Have to praise the waitresses skills in opening our cork without panicking as they scare the life out of me.
We went back to the room and were so cosy and comfy, no word of a life we both fell asleep at 10! The beds were lovely, and if it wasn’t for the fact we wanted to use the facilities again in the morning and have breakfast I could of slept on them for a week.
Breakfast was included in the room rate, which is a winner for me. I’ve before now paid about £17.50 for a full English in Travelodges, where they use Asda smartprice bacon. all of the produce was fresh, and local which is nice to see. A prime example of the little things the staff do to make this place stand out, is seating us and asking us if we wanted drinks, and then bringing them over before asking for our room number. Most places ask for your room number before they even offer you anything to check you are not pulling a fast one, and make you feel like a criminal before you have even got any caffeine inside you. The breakfast was continental AND full English and there was so much choice, even I got full (I can eat a LOT).
We used the facilities again before my friend had her massage shortly before leaving, and when we got back to the room there was an ‘express checkout’ form under the door, which I only needed to put my card details on and pop into a box with the key before I left. Another brilliant example of attention to detail, and very organized. I HATE checking out, its depressing enough as it is without a massive queue. My friend absolutely LOVED her ESPA massage, and unfortunately after it was time to leave Lifehouse.
Lifehouse Spa is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime like singing karaoke or getting a nice surprise.
I actually urge you to go so much you should literally open a new internet explorer window and book it now. It is like a little world in itself and perfect for getting away for a night or two.
Check out www.lifehouse.co.uk and make sure you book through them rather than a third party as they often have seasonal deals.