Time to chill out
In need of some serious R&R? Ellie Moss heads to the Lifehouse Spa & Hotel in Essex in an attempt to find some inner peace
Weeks of deadlines, too many nights out and aching muscles from my new exercise regime meant I was desperate for some pamper time – and the Lifehouse Spa seemed like the perfect solution.
Set in 12 acres of listed grounds in quiet Thorpe-Le-Soken, Essex, this peaceful retreat was the perfect antidote to my usually hectic schedule. We were picked up from the station by a courtesy minibus and driven through some of the famous grounds on our approach to the spa. The spa itself is relatively new, built on the site of the former Thorpe Hall owned by Lord and Lady Byng. But the gardens, apparently greatly admired but Queen Mary, have been restored to their former glory.
After checking in we headed straight to the pool and enjoyed dipping our toes in the various pools and rooms in the cavernous and naturally lit wet area. After we’d tried out the salt pool, sauna and steam room, we took a dip in the beautiful main pool, which revitalised us after our journey.
Then it was off to the Water Lilies restaurant for dinner, where we feasted on delicious food and a view of the lake that was good enough to eat. I highly recommend eating here, even if you’re not using the spa, but don’t book your dinner in too late in the evening, as service goes at a leisurely pace.
After a blissful night’s sleep we stumbled down to breakfast in our fluffy slippers and dressing gown – true bliss! A full English breakfast later and I was ready to face the day. First up, a quick session in the gym.
While the gym itself is quite small, it’s got everything you could possibly need for a great workout and there’s an outdoor area at the back with a huge tyre and other obstacles, which is great for adding variety. After a speedy sprints session followed by a quick circuit I felt I’d had a pretty good workout. There’s also a good range of classes on offer for guests.
My workout got me well and truly ready for a shiatsu massage – I couldn’t wait for the treatment to really shift those last knots of tension. After a quick consultation, my therapist decided to address my overall lack of energy and stress levels. He then set to work focusing on pressure points across my body. This was a long treatment lasting 95 minutes, but by the end I was completely zoned out!
Lunch served up another delicious meal – this time, salmon with a pea purée – before waiting out the rain with a coffee in the smart and spacious bar area. When the weather finally picked up, we dashed to reception, grabbed some complimentary wellies and set out for a stroll around the gardens.
The Lifehouse grounds are really beautiful and in many ways were the highlight of the trip: completely relaxing, peaceful and stunning to look at. As we watched a line of ducklings take their first dip in the lake, I felt completely removed from my busy lifestyle.
I was disappointed that we didn’t have the time – or the weather! – to fully explore the grounds and I’d recommend booking in for two nights, preferably in the summer, hiring one of the complimentary bikes and heading out to explore. Frinton-on-sea is an easy cycling distance, so you can enjoy the seaside, too.
Sadly, the weekend was over before we knew it. We headed back to the station – and reality – relaxed and revitalised.
Bed and breakfast from £89 per room. Call 01255 860 050 to book or visit www.lifehouse.co.uk for more information