Monday, 21 April 2014

Review: Lifehouse Spa & Hotel

  It's my birthday weekend, so I decided to spend Friday and Saturday over in Essex at the Lifehouse Spa and Hotel! Doing six day weeks with constant exams and whatever else for the last couple of months has been absolutely draining, and as this was to be a four day weekend I decided I wanted to spend it at a spa. There are so many spas available around London that it took absolutely ages to narrow it down to what I wanted, but eventually I decided that I wanted a place where the entire emphasis was on the spa and that I wanted to spend at least a night there. After many weeks of narrowing it down, off I went to Liverpool Street Station to get the train and then bus to Thorpe-le-Soken, in Essex.

  Lifehouse is an adults only health spa offering all sorts of treatments and facilities for the guests - all located within 12 acres of English heritage countryside, which ended up being one of the main reasons I ended up choosing it. The other thing that appealed to me about Lifehouse is that it's mobile phone free - you're actively encouraged to switch your phone off and keep it in your room! For me this wasn't a problem, as from the second I checked my phone in Thorpe to look up a map I discovered that I didn't have signal anyway, and didn't get it back until our bus arrived in Colchester!

  At Lifehouse you have three choices of room; you can have a contemporary, a garden, or a signature room. We chose a garden room and were really glad that we did as it offered us fantastic views of the gardens and we could hear the ducks all the time, which I loved! There was even a little sign on the windows reminding you that if you left the doors open ducks were likely to come in. Outside each room was a little table with two chairs, and I was so disappointed we didn't spend an extra day so we could have taken more advantage of having it all right there! The room was a good size and came with all the facilities you'd expect, and the bathroom was lovely as well - really good size, loved the scents of the toiletaries! Of course, the first thing we did was change into our robes and slippers which we remained in for as long as possible. By the way - the third picture down in this little set is the view from inside our room when the doors are opened!

  After this, we had a quick walk around some of the gardens, which were beautiful and varied. I'm also going to take this oppurtunity to say that I'm a bad blogger and brought the batteries for the wrong camera with me so my camera died shortly after this - so the rest of the photos will be of the grounds rather than the food etc, sorry about that! But hey, at least they're pretty. We also had a walk around the woods which was really nice, we spent probably around an hour there and it was such a nice walk - there's a part where suddenly everything becomes purple, and a couple of different water features in there which were all surprisingly varied. There were many more ground options and walks available, sadly we didn't have time to explore them but if we'd had an extra day we definitely would have. You could also hire bikes for free if you'd like to go exploring further. Sadly at the time we went you couldn't use the bikes to explore the grounds and we were in no way good enough cyclists to go on the main roads - but for those who were, you could use them to go exploring further, including to the beach! We'd have liked to have done that if we were a little more able!

  Treatments available are varied, including all sorts of massages, facials and wraps - you can also get lifestyle and nutrition consultations! There are a large amount of treatment rooms and they're all really nice, spacious rooms which are kept very clean and attractive. Our package included a 20 minute treatment which we both decided to use on back massages - mine was quite painful, but then I generally find them to be! I also bought an ESPA personalised facial which I very much enjoyed - it included a cleanse, exfoliation, facial mask and moisturiser, alongside a facial and shoulder massage and a scalp massage. At the end you get a little booklet where your therapist has labelled the problem areas of your face along with recommendations of products and a list of the products they have used on you. I really enjoyed this, the massages were really nice and my face felt really nice when we left - and still does the next day! The products are all probably way too expensive for me to continue using, but hopefully the facial has given me a bit of a kick start anyway.

  There are plenty of group classes available at the spa - we did a meditation class which actually worked for me better than I thought it would (but made my friend go insane with boredom) and a yoga class. There were plenty of other options like zumba and step aerobics but we didn't have time for these! The exercise studio is a good size and attractive and the instructors were of a good standard. The spa facilities themselves were also good, and they were never too busy which was something I worried about. There's a hydro pool which was definitely my favourite part although it was seemingly random in the order that it did things! There's a swimming pool which was of a good size, a cool plunge pool (unsurprisingly no one appeared to spend more than about a second considering this one), a sauna, a steam room, and a salt inhalation room. I enjoyed all of the latter three but unfortunately didn't really have enough time to dedicate to them! There's also a small gym, which I didn't use!

  Our package included a two course dinner at the restaurant - honestly, disappointed! The restaurant itself was really pretty but I didn't enjoy either of my courses so left feeling pretty hungry! I had the soup of the day and a mushroom and mozarella carbonara which I loved the sound of as it's basically a combination of my favourite foods but just didn't enjoy. It also included a breakfast buffet which was really good - I mostly went with typical full English breakfast foods which were all really tasty, along with some bread and fruit which again were very nice. For lunch we headed to the cafe and juice bar, where I had a nice juice and then cancelled everything out with a delicious chocolate cake! There was a buffet option there as well which looked really good but we had mostly run out of money by that point!

  Overall, we had a good time at the spa. There are so many facilities and things to do there and the entire place seems so peaceful - there's all sorts of different lovely scents in the corridors and of course there's something about being able to spend as much of your day as possible just wearing a robe that seems to make it so much better! We wish we could have spent an extra day there and did actually enquire as we were checking out if we could have another day in a garden room as we didn't appreciate it enough but unfortunately the price was way too expensive as the prices are higher on a Saturday! We got there 3pm on Friday and left at 3pm on Saturday and our time was basically filled the entire time - ideally we'd have had two nights because there was so much more we wanted to do, just sitting on our little garden table, exploring more of the grounds, and spending more time in the hydro pool and swimming pool! We stayed on the Love Life break which includes an overnight stay, dinner, breakfast, a 20 minute treatment, your robe and slippers and full use of the facilities. I'd recommend going if you'd like a proper spa stay at a much better price than you'll find anywhere else around London - but if you're like us and want to do lots of different things, if you can, stay for two nights! You can view the website and book your stay here.



  1. Nicola- first and most important; Happy Birthday! It looks like you had a wonderful spa-time, your photos are great.

    I am so happy to have found your blog. Including yours, I've found three especially lovely blogs today (on a roll, haha!). I look forward to skimming through your previous posts and anticipating those posted in the future!!

    Much Love,
    -Stephanie Eva

    1. Aww, thank you very much! It really was such a nice time. Actually, the weekend just kept getting better - but I'll post on that another time ;)

  2. Happy belated birthday! You take beautiful pictures! :)

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