The Lifehouse Spa and Hotel is located ten minutes from the quaint seaside town of Frinton-On-Sea, in Essex and takes just an hour and twenty minutes to get to from London, making it popular with Londoners and Essex folk alike.
This reasonably priced spa and hotel is built on the grounds of Thorpe Hall, set among 12 acres of stunning English heritage gardens which can be admired through the glass walkways which link the hotel’s 89 rooms to the facilities. On a quick welcome tour my spa partner (ok, husband) and I discover the Lifehouse is equipped with an 18.5 meter pool, a gym, hot rooms, hyrdro pool, plunge pool, juice bar, restaurant and 35 treatment rooms. And it doesn’t take long to realise why the Lifehouse has scooped various awards, including the 2012 good spa guide award. Our room is smart and spacious with a walk in shower, and has all the mod cons you’d expect from a 4* hotel. It also boasts spectacular views of the gardens and the biggest double bed I’ve ever seen.
Once robbed up, our first stop is the hydro pool and various hot rooms. There is an ample sized sauna and steam room, and a salt inhalation room, which promises to help calm your breathing. There’s also a ridiculously cold plunge pool (which I give a wide berth!).
The pool – although a little stark in design- is surrounded by loungers, perfect for a catnapping, and soothing music is piped throughout. The gym has plenty of state of the art exercise machines including the standard cross trainers, treadmills and bikes (plenty of which). It also has free weights, mats and personal trainers available to help you get to grips with the equipment. One to one training sessions can be booked and cost £45 for an hour. There is a timetable of various classes ranging form high impact Bokwa, which combines conditioning, strength training and African dance with boxing moves (phew!) to the more mainstream spin and yoga classes.
The treatment rooms are attached to a juice bar which also doubles up as the waiting area and once you’ve had your cares scrubbed, rubbed and kneaded away twenty minutes in the chill out room is highly recommended. You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to treatments, with everything on offer from ESPA facials, massages, scrubs to treatments for men. There is also an onsite hair salon, spa boutique and mani and pedi stations. I opted for a full body massage, which was thoroughly relaxing! If you’re looking for more than a little escape, and hope to kick start a new health regime, there are a wide variety of holistic consultations and tests on offer. And the spa run a variety of detox, boot camp and wellness breaks starting at £109 a night.
The dining experience is just as a much of a treat as the spa experience. Kick off your evening with an aperitif in the bar and in the summer sit outside on the patio area while you may well be joined by a friendly duck or cheeky squirrel. The restaurant hosts breakfast, lunch and dinner and is modern but cosy. Breakfast consists of a buffet of fresh fruit, cereals, croissants, and a yummy full English option. Produce is locally sourced well possible and there is a good wine list and excellent service. Our evening meal was really delicious. You won’t be disappointed.
Staff at the Lifehouse are helpful and friendly but one of the best things about this spa is that you really can enjoy it with anyone, including your partner. It’s popular with couples so the man in your life won’t feel out of place, unlike some spas, which cater mainly for women. But the thing which sets this place apart from other spas are the magnificent gardens which can be enjoyed all year round. Wellys are available to borrow from reception and a visit to the Lifehouse really wouldn’t be complete without a hack around the gardens.
WF SPECIAL OFFER! All WF readers are entitled to 15% off Spa Breaks from Sunday to Thursday until 31 March, 2014. This offer is subject to availability and cannot be used in conjunction with promotional rates.
To qualify call Lifehouse Spa & Hotel on 01255 860050 and quote Women’s Fitness.
For more on spa breaks, click here.