I love family holidays but I do, without fail, reach a point where I like to retreat to a sanctuary, a space of complete peace. A space where there are no toy cars under my feet, no play-doh stuck to the cover of my favourite book and no high-pitched interruptions of any kind.
Last week my family descended upon Elveden Forest en mass for our annual winter get-together at Center Parcs holiday village in Suffolk. It was approximately five hours before I pulled out the App and my boyfriend and I checked ourselves in at Aqua Sana Spa for some rest and relaxation.
Nestled in the heart of the forest, Aqua Sana is an adults-only haven of peace and tranquility where you can treat yourself to as many beauty treatments and indulgences as you could dream of. As soon as we entered the front door we were transported to a paradise where things are so beautiful that people talk in hushed whispers as they absorb it all.
We booked a spa session that allowed us to absorb ourselves in spa experiences from around the world. Giddy with excitement but still just about managing to adhere to the ‘Shhh, people are relaxing’ signs, we headed for the Laconium first.
There are 14 different experiences to try and you can visit them in any order or re-visit as often as you like throughout the session. The Laconium is a dry, gentle heat and a great place to start the session and acclimatize your senses to the peaceful ambiance of the spa.
The rooms are beautifully ornate, all with a different feel, sounds and smells to help you relax and revitalize. We spent some time in the Turkish Hammam, the Japanese Salt Bath, the Indian Blossom Steam Room and the Tyrolean Sauna before braving the outdoors.
Steam rises from the bubbling water which looks so inviting as massage jets stream in and Jacuzzi bubbles burst to the surface. It’s a numbing walk in the December air to make it to the warmth of the water but it’s so worth it when you get there and immerse yourself in the hot froth.
It’s nice to take the afternoon/early evening spa session so you can look up at the stars as you soak away the stresses of the day. Soothing jets work on your aching muscles and bones as you unwind in a steamy haze of bliss.
Leaving the pool is an even greater challenge than entering as we made a hectic dash back indoors, clouds of steam rising from our skin as we did a tip-toe, slow-motion sprint towards our robes.
The best way to get back to cozy comfort is to head for the squishy sofas or one of the water beds. We snuggled up with a magazine and almost fell asleep in the deep relaxation and gentle background music. With a fresh robe, fluffy slippers, chilled water on tap and bowls of delicious, perfect green apples to enjoy, I felt a strong calling to abandon the family and move in.
We booked the spa session as part of our stay at Center Parcs but Aqua Sana is also open to day guests. It was slightly cheaper to use the spa mid-week and we paid £30 each for a three hour session.
Have you been to a spa that you really enjoyed? I cannot wait to try this experience again! Please leave me a comment if you have any recommendations.