As well as loving all things beauty, I also love quality time with my awesome niece, so what better way to enjoy both than an auntie and niece spa day? After hearing lots of positive reports from friends, I decided to try the newest spa in my area – Aqua Sana within Center Parcs at Woburn Forest.
From the moment my niece and I entered Woburn Forest there was a sense of tranquility, with log cabins nestled in-between tall trees and calm lakes. Unlike some other spas I’ve been to there is no queuing on arrival or paperwork to fill out. Instead, we get a friendly, efficient welcome with complimentary robe and towel hire, as well as electronic wristbands that act as both our locker key and cashless payment for the day – no annoying keys or money to lug about.
The changing room is a large, open plan space, with plenty of lockers, mirrors and hairdryers. For those of you that prefer privacy when changing, there are a small number of private changing rooms too.
After we’ve changed we head up to the spa cafe, Vitale Cafe Bar, for our complimentary welcome refreshments. I was expecting something quite basic but we’re offered any of the delicious fresh pastries or fruit salads, as well as a choice of hot or cold drink, including gourmet coffees. We both opt for a pastry, I compliment mine with a fresh fruit smoothie while my niece has a hot chocolate (much to her delight). As with the rest of the spa, the cafe has lovely views of the surrounding forest.
Feeling nicely refreshed, we can’t wait to get started and head over to the spa. The spa is spread over two levels and we started with the ground floor. Straight away my niece spotted the infinity pool so we went for a dip. I must admit I was initially disappointed the spa had an outdoor pool – surely not a clever choice in the chilly UK? Boy, was I wrong! The pool is as warm as a bath, with lots of jets and bubbles, and it feels amazing to be in it with the crisp autumn air on our faces. We spend far longer in it than anticipated chatting and people watching.
Then we head to the first of six spa areas – the sensory spa. Before lunch we manage to fit in all the ground floor has to offer – the sensory spa, the mineral and gemstone spa and the salt spa. Each spa area has a number of rooms with varied heat and humidity. Handy signs outside each room indicate the heat, humidity and recommended time to spend inside. I won’t go into detail on each room, simply because there are too many to mention, but I will highlight some of our favourites.
Our favourite spa area on the ground floor was the sensory spa. My niece loved the Aqua Meditation Room; warm with comfortable armchair style seating and water running down a screen with low colourful lighting. I loved the Sensory Experience; a sauna style room, hot (but not too hot) with screens and projections of relaxing nature images and sounds. The best part was being in there for an authentic thunderstorm experience, complete with thunder, lightning and rain.
One thing I really like about this spa is there are lots of little relaxation lounges of different styles dotted around, providing lots of opportunity to quietly chat or read. Most of them are carefully placed to offer views of the forest outdoors and for the summer months, there are outdoor terraces and loungers.
Soon enough, it is time for the Elemis Superfood Facials included with our spa package and we head to the treatment rooms. At first I’m not sure if we’ve arrived in the right place as what appears to be the reception area doesn’t have a desk to check in at. However, after checking with a passing member of staff we are advised that there is no need to check in, you simply help yourself to a health and safety form, complete it and wait to be collected by your therapist.
I’d been advised at the start of the day that as my niece is under 16 (the spa allows guests from the age of 14) I’ll need to be in the treatment room while she has her facial. This was helpful for writing this blog as it meant I got a good look at the treatment rooms! Because the spa is so new everything is immaculate and the treatment rooms are no different. Decorated in warm, earthy tones with low lighting they are the perfect place to relax for some pampering. It’s the first time my niece has had a facial and she was a little nervous but the lovely lady who did the treatment was friendly and soon put her at ease. She explained what she was doing during the treatment and helpfully reinforced the importance of removing your make-up each night. As this advice has now come from someone other than her mum she is determined to follow it.
Next, was my treatment. The therapist, Scarlet, quite rightly noticed on my form that I’d recently had a brow treatment which wasn’t really compatible with having a facial and after speaking to her supervisor, suggested a shoulder, neck and scalp massage instead. The massage was first class with excellent pressure and beautifully scented Elemis oil. The treatment beds were really comfy too. I would definitely recommend booking yourself a treatment if you go for a spa day, even if it is only a 25 minute one, it’s definitely worth the extra expense.
Next, it’s lunch, which is included in our package. There’s an excellent selection of salads, pastas and sandwiches to choose from as well as hot and cold drinks. The quality of the food is good and the service is friendly and efficient. Lunch times are staggered so it never feels busy or crowded in the cafe.
After lunch, we head for the three spa areas on the first floor – the blossom spa, the herbal spa and the fire and ice spa. The blossom spa smells great but the herbal spa is better still, and my niece and I spend as long as we can in the sage-scented Herbal Inhalation Bath. The saunas in the fire and ice spa are only for the most hardy of sauna-goers and are way too hot for us, but the Snow and Ice Room is exhilarating; freezing cold with ice chips to rub on your skin (or throw at each other if there’s no-one else around). My niece’s favourite is the Refloxology Footbaths, footbaths that automatically empty and refill with three different settings. Be warned, these get busy (they were the only thing we had to wait to use) so probably best to plan them at the start or end of the day. The Fire Relaxation Lounge is a lovely place to read or relax, with a roaring fire the focal point.
Before we know it, our time at the spa is over. I hadn’t thought for a minute that we’d actually be there the entire nine hours, but there is so much to do you really do need a full day to experience it all.
We both had a fantastic day and I have already recommended the spa to friends. I will definitely be heading back. It’s hard to pick fault, the only thing that could perhaps be improved is the information provided beforehand which is quite basic.
My niece and I enjoyed the Refresh & Revive Spa Day for 2 (£95 per person Monday to Friday, £109 per person Saturday to Sunday).
If you’ve visited the Aqua Sana spa I’d love to hear any recommendations of treatments for my next visit 🙂
Beauty Geek x