A Spa Hotel in Essex:
What woman doesn’t like an overnight stay in a Spa Hotel? I have to admit the last time I went to The Lifehouse I had some reservations – partly because of my own complete lack of sense of direction which resulted in a feeling of being totally lost much of the time. But many of the things that didn’t work for me have changed over the last year – the place is rather less clinical with fresh contemporary art hanging on the walls and thankfully there are now plenty of signs directing visitors around the place so that even I found it easy to navigate!
The main spa has a new layout and there’s a fabulous ‘couples’ area if you are visiting with a significant other and want to relax in private. And, all the good things I remember from last time are still there too. The gardens are as stunning as they always were, the spa area elegant and spacious. Sadly, although I’ve visited twice now I’ve never been there for long enough to explore the grounds properly. Though, that too is a reflection on the the Lifehouse Spa – there are a lot of things to do and each time I’ve been I’ve taken away a list of things to do when I return.
Even the standard rooms at the Lifehouse are large and comfortable. The beds are exceptionally good, the showers large enough to swing a cat and the rooms are light and airy – with fabulous views out over the historic listed gardens. Rooms on the ground floor even have a terrace, like the signature room pictured.
The spa itself is the main focus of the Lifehouse. There’s a large swimming pool with relaxation couches around the sides. There’s a hydrotherapy pool with those great water jet devices. There’s a salt inhalation room, a steam room and a sauna. And there’s a small but well equipped gym. I’m told there are yoga and fitness classes throughout the day, though I didn’t get a chance to experience. All of that is free for residents. Almost enough without indulging in treatments, but it would be a shame to visit and NOT try a treatment or two.
I had a totally relaxing ESPA massage which lasted an hour (ESPA is new to the Lifehouse and for me, a welcome addition to the treatment options). The treatment rooms are modern, clean, comfortable and well equipped and of course you are provided with towels, robes and slippers. Treatments themselves cost from £35 for a 25 minute mini manicure up to £65 for a 55 minute facial to £125 for an hour and 50 minutes. So you CAN afford to pamper yourself. In fact, it’s excellent value for somewhere just a stone’s throw from London.
Now I still have a bit of a query about the food. It’s delicious. As it was the last time I visited. But, I’d love to have at least had the option of a low calorie menu and actually the food is pretty full on. Obviously you CAN book and go on one of the special detox or weight management programmes.
The Lifehouse even offers a four night 5:2 diet ‘fast break’ where you follow the 5:2 diet on 2 days of your stay, as well as enjoying some pampering treatments. What a fabulous way of taking a break from following the fast diet at home, even if you DO miss trying out my 5:2 diet recipes. But I’d really like to see a menu that highlight healthy options for all visitors, not just those on a weight management programme. Meanwhile, it’s a great opportunity to be tempted – as we were!
Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, The Lifehouse offers a real chance to get away from it without travelling too far from London. It’s exceptionally comfortable and well planned with a feeling of tranquillity. And, it is really competitively priced so that you can have all the treatments you want. When we were there, it was quiet,which suits me very well. But I imagine it may be a little busier at weekends. The Lighthouse runs a whole series of programmes, so if you are looking for support on the 5:2 diet, detox, a programme tailored to the over 50s and even a recovery break day for people who want to feel better after illness, cancer treatment, bereavement or burnout. There seems to be a continual effort to improve and develop what is on offer so that everyone has a wonderful stay and comes away from The Lighthouse feeling relaxed and at ease.
I was a guest of Visit Essex on this trip and travelled with Greater Anglia Railways to Chelmsford. There are trains from Liverpool Street Station directly to Thorpe le Soken where The Lifehouse Hotel and Spa offers a regular, free shuttle taxi service.
Rooms at The Lifehouse Hotel and Spa start at £99 per night including breakfast and use of the Spa facilities. There are a range of residential and day spa packages and discounts for early booking.
Lifehouse Hotel and Spa
Thorpe le Soken