Wednesday, 22 July 2015

CenterParcs Longleat - Aqua Sana Spa

As I mentioned in my first post about our recent stay at CenterParcs Longleat, we booked a World of Spa session for our final day. This was a three hour session, costing £37 per person (there are a limited number of cheaper two person deals available each day too, but these were fully booked when I made our booking).

Bookings can be made without being a guest at CenterParcs for £59-£69 per person. You are welcome to eat at any of the restaurants within the park, although you cannot use any of the additional leisure facilities.

The Aqua Sana at Longleat can be found set back from the lake. It is less than a 10 minute cycle from the main plaza (20 minute walk) and there is plenty of bike parking. If you are going as a day visitor there is also car parking available nearby. When you walk up it looks a really small building, but cleverly concealed behind the trees is a huge complex, beautifully laid out.




For obvious reasons no photography is allowed inside the spa, but there are a range of photographs on the Aqua Sana website to give you an idea of the facilities.

On arrival

We booked our 3 hour session from 11am-2pm. You are asked to arrive 15 minutes early, but we actually got there just after 10.30am and were allowed to start our experience early. We gave our name and lodge number and were each given a key to a locker in the changing rooms. Inside the locker you had a huge, fluffy towel and a big, fluffy dressing gown. I forgot flipflops to wear on my feet, but once inside the spa it was obvious that I wasn't the only one! There were not sharp surfaces to walk on, but some areas could get a little slippery, so I would definitely recommend bring some footwear with you.

To get into the World of Spa area you had to walk through the Cafe which felt strange in our dressing gowns, although when we left it was later in the afternoon and there were lots of people all in their dressing gowns there.

What's included in the World of Spa

This spa experience gives you access to the heated outdoor pool along with 8 steam & sauna rooms, two meditation rooms, a physiotherm infrared room, foot baths, waterbeds, outdoor zen gardens & multi-sensory showers. There are no time limits to each room/area (although there are recommended times to spend in each area posted on the wall) and generally there is room for six or more people to use each room at one time. There is also a complimentary water station that you are encouraged to use, but the water had a strange taste to me.

The Pool

Steps from inside the complex lead down into the outdoor pool. Because the pool at Longleat is a round pool it wasn't really big enough to swim lengths in. There is one area of it that has massage jets, with enough seating for 8 people. The jets are not on all the time, but only switch off for a few minutes, before restarting. Despite having lots of trees and foliage around there were no leaves or debris in the pool any of the time we were in it.

The Rooms

The sensory rooms are a mix of steam rooms and dry heat rooms (saunas). The steam rooms have varying degrees of heat to them, but I didn't really feel much difference to them. As well as the steam, some of them also have essential oils and fragrances released. I think my favourite steam room was the Balinese room. The two sauna rooms were similar in temperature - you had to go outside to use the Finnish sauna, but it was a dry day when we visited so this wasn't an issue for us.

We only visited one of the meditation rooms, but we both dropped off briefly so they obviously work! 

Our favourite room was the physiotherm infrared room. This room has only four seats in it. Each seat has an infrared machine behind and in front of it. These machines gently heat your muscles and you gradually become aware of the warmth. Both of us found our backs and shoulders loosen after spending 20 minutes in here. it was perhaps the most simple looking room, but was definitely the most effective.

Additional Areas

Sion really loved the steam rooms, so while he was revisiting some of them I spent time in the outdoor zen garden reading one of the many complimentary magazines that were dotted around. Blankets are provided so you feel really snug, while enjoying the fresh air and cool breeze. I also had a 20 minute snooze on one of the waterbeds. Again there are plenty of blankets on each bed so you get really cosy - Sion actually had to come and wake me up so we could carry on our experience!

Refreshments

We were going to stop for lunch on our way home so didn't buy anything from the cafe, but the food that we saw looked very inviting and reasonably priced. Tables were being cleared quickly and the staff all seemed friendly and efficient. when we next come back I would have no hesitation in having a snack or meal there.

There were a couple of clocks in the Spa so we were able to see when it was time to head home. The changing facilities were clean, with lots of available showers, toiletries & hair driers. We left our robes & towels in the drop off point and handed our keys back to reception. We both mentioned how utterly relaxed we felt and how soft our skin was now feeling as we made our way back to our bikes and the end of our visit to CenterParcs Longleat.

We both felt that despite not having any massages or other treatments (these can be booked separately), this was the best value-for-money spa day we have had. We didn't feel rushed, the spa wasn't too crowded and the facilities were clean and well maintained. In fact the Aqua Sana spa is the main reason we would return to CenterParcs.

We paid in full for our Spa Experience, I decided to write this review on our return. All thoughts and words are my own.

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