Sometimes you just need a day of rest, and to escape the stress of London. But with so many spas – how do you know which one is worth forking out for?
Aqua Sana spa is that hidden gem you’ve been scanning google for – with a room upon room of saunas, steam rooms and even a pool nestled in the forest, you’ll go home a completely different person.
Based a train ride out of London in Woburn Forest (Bedfordshire), and part of the Center Parcs – you can get the train to Flitwick and they even provide a free shuttle bus to the spa.
Nestled in an actual woodland, you get to slip into fluffy dressing gowns, comfy slippers and pretend you’re hanging out at home – which just happens to be a spa. Then start your day in the cosy café, in your fluffy dressing gown still of course, where you’ll be greeted with your welcome drink and cake, then either head in to the main spa, or for one of your treatments.
Our first stop was the ELEMIS Speed Spa, where we tried out one of their new speedy facials. If facials were a weekly encounter, then I would happily have this facial every time. I arrived a little tired and stressed, so this gentle massage, cleanse and face mask, which was done with ELEMIS products, was well needed – giving my face a dewy renewed feel to it. All treatments at their speed spas last 20 minutes and range from massages to facials.
Make sure you give yourself a good few hours to explore the treatment rooms. Based on two floors it’s like going into a maze, with different rooms around different corners. Broken up into six individual spas, each with a selection of multi-sensory rooms, including fire & ice, blossom, herbal, sensory, mineral & gemstone and salt, one minute you could be in a colour censored room with steam and the next in a room full of ice, which you use to douse your body in, before you hit the next sauna. There’s also foot baths, water beds where you can relax to the point of sleep and even cosy little pods where my friend and I could catch up in private.
The Woburn spa also has a heated pool, where you can swim from the comfort of the spa indoors to the woodlands outside. And if you love the concept of this the Aqua Sana in Sherwood Forest is taking the Japanese trend of forest bathing to a whole new level – with a dedicated ‘Forest Bathing’ area, with walkways where you can immerse yourself in nature, outdoor relaxation areas, and even a treetop sauna with a window where you can look over the forest.
If you want to indulge further they also provide unique treatments such as detox wraps, salt body scrubs, energy massages and even vitamin facials. I opted for the Garden of England Rose restore massage – an hour of being pampered and released of tension – while they used scented rose, camelina and poppy seed oils, which left my skin feeling moisturised and rejuvenated.
I caught the train back to London relaxed and stress-free, well, until I hit the tubes in rush hour!
Aqua Sana has four other forest spa locations across the UK including Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, Elveden Forest in Suffolk, Longleat Forest in Wiltshire, and Whinfell Forest in Cumbria. Spa days at Aqua Sana start at £75pp and spa breaks from £159pp.