Review: Brooklands Hotel Spa

A few days ago a friend and I were invited for a spa day at the Brooklands Hotel. It’s a hotel I have always been familiar with but have never been to, knowing that it’s right next door to the Mercedes Benz World and opposite the Mercedes test track.

Brooklands Hotel offer many spa packages with spa facilities to compliment the treatments. We were booked on a package with a 50 minute treatment each, lunch and the whole day to make use of the spa.

Review: Brooklands Hotel Spa

We arrived at the hotel and were immediately impressed with it – really grand and with a lovely welcoming feel. We had a friendly greeting and were advised to make our way to the third floor which is home to the Brooklands Hotel Spa.

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A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

Last week Lucy and I went to Wyboston Lakes in Bedfordshire for a much needed spa break. Although Wyboston Lakes is close to where Lucy lives neither of us knew much about it, or what to expect but we were really looking forward to the break.

I have to be honest and say that when we arrived we weren’t exactly blown over by the external Wyboston Lakes buildings. It’s situated on a really large site, around a beautiful lake, and has a hotel building, extra buildings with more accomodation, a leisure club and a conference centre. All of the buildings look quite dated due to when they were built but, you really shouldn’t let that put you off.

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

As soon as we walked into reception to check in we were impressed with the beautiful decor and welcoming feel and this only increased when we made our way to our room. All of the rooms at Wyboston Lakes have been recently renovated and it shows – even the corridors are beautiful and have that lovely new carpet smell!

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

Our room was immaculate. With twin beds, lots of comfy cushions and pillows and the biggest TV I have ever seen in a hotel room. There were also plug sockets next to the bed which gives them a huge thumbs up as in most hotels rooms we end up scrabbling around for somewhere to charge our phones.

The room offered free wifi, a well stocked tea and coffee tray with added extras like crisps and bottled water as well as a tablet that you could use to order room service or find out more about the hotel. Wyboston Lakes have thought of everything.

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

The bathroom was also beautiful – with a huge shower instead of a bath, lots of fluffy towels and complimentary toiletries too. Everything looked so new and my only slight criticism was that the door banged when you closed it – there was no way to turn the handle to close it quietly but that really is a tiny thing in the scheme of things!

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

We had dinner in the Waterfront Restaurant which would overlook the lake during the day but was obviously dark outside when we were eating. The decor was lovely and the whole restaurant had a really formal but also quite relaxed feel to it. There’s also a bar with a much more casual feel to it if you want a more low key meal or just a drink.

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

Our waiter, Joe, was lovely. He took time to make recommendations and didn’t mind us making conversation with him. We couldn’t have asked for nicer staff during our meal. For our starters Lucy had the goat cheese fritters which were teamed with beetroot and tomato flavours, making a really lovely starter and quite light too.

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

I, on the other hand, chose the chicken liver parfait which was a really good size starter with three slices of shallot tarragon toast and a whole jar of parfait. It was my ideal starter and all the flavours worked so well together.

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

For our mains, Lucy went for the trio of welsh lamb which may be one of the most well thought out meals I have ever seen. The three different lamb aspects were so well cooked and one was even wrapped in a cabbage leaf – such great attention to detail.

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

I went for the slow cooked pork belly which was the perfect main. It was served with creamy mash, cabbage and apple sauce and was just the right size – especially following on from my ample starter!

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

For desserts we chose the Tiramisu and the Dark Chocolate Dream. Both desserts were beautifully presented and a lovely way to end our meal. They were both a really good size, tasted wonderful and weren’t too heavy after our previous two courses.

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

After dinner we spent some time relaxing in the communal areas of the hotel. There are so many beautiful lounges and seating areas that it was just such a lovely place to relax and unwind.

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

We then went and relaxed in our room, making the most of the wifi and chatting until late. We both slept really well and woke up ready to seize our second day at Wyboston Lakes. We went straight down to breakfast and loved the buffet style, with so many different cooked options available and even more that you could order from a menu.

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

There were also continental options, fresh fruit and lots of pastries. It was, without a doubt, the best breakfast buffet I have ever seen! It was a great way to start the day – especially with a view over the lake.

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

After breakfast we headed straight for the leisure centre. The gym and pool are in a seperate building to the hotel but directly over the road and hotel guests get access included in their stay. We spent an hour in the gym and really enjoyed it – there were plenty of machines to use, exercise space and weights and it all had a really welcoming feel.

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

It was then time to head to the spa and I was impressed to receive a wristband to give you access to the lockers and doors into the changing room and main spa area. The changing rooms all looked really new and there were plenty of spaces to get changed as well as access to toilets and seating areas to do your hair or make up.

The spa consists of an outdoor thermal pool which is absolute bliss. It’s like the warmest bath you have ever been in and you could easily stay there all day. There’s then two different saunas – with different temperatures – a steam room and a salt room. It was the perfect mix of sensations and left our skin feeling amazing.

I had to leave Lucy in the spa – not that she complained – to go and have my spa treatment – the Katherine Daniels Firming Resculpting Body Treatment. This isn’t the sort of treatment I usually go for but I’m trying to say yes to new things as much as possible, and this sounded perfect with my current lifestyle, having lost weight over the course of the year.

The Katherine Daniels Firming Resculpting Body Treatment involves exfoliation and massage, a heat wrap and a mask being put on. The treatment focuses on your problem areas and so mine was from my stomach down to the bottom of my thighs. It is quite a rigorous and invasive treatment, you have to wear a disposable thong and you do feel quite cold when the mask is on your body but it’s a treatment that works. The therapist took measurements before and after the treatment and in total I lost about 5.5 inches so this would be a great treatment to have prior to a special occasion and just to get your body and metabolism working in line again.

I then went to find Lucy who was relaxing in the quiet area of reading pods and water beds. Such an amazing space to relax, unwind or even have a nap! She’d had a great time in the various spa rooms and had finished off reading her book – such a great break for any parent.

It was then time for lunch and we were impressed with the buffet style lunch that was included in our package. It had so many cooked options, jacket potatoes with a huge range of fillings and a salad bar. As we were just wanting something light we both stuck to the salad bar and had a lovely, light lunch.

A Spa Break at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

It was then time to head home. We had such a lovely break at Wyboston Lakes and, reinforcing what I said at the start, we were blown over by the interior of the hotel and spa given the external appearance. It was the perfect place for a spa break but would be equally as appealing for a day time or evening spa session or just a weekend away. Here’s a little video of our break:

Disclosure: We were invited to Wyboston Lakes for the purpose of this review however all opinions are my own.

Review: Careys Manor Hotel and SenSpa

Last week, along with my closest friend, I drove to the heart of the New Forest to spend the night at Careys Manor Hotel and SenSpa. We’d been invited on a spa break and we couldn’t wait for some time out and quality time together.

Turning the car into the car park we both just felt so at home. Careys Manor is a really beautiful manor house surrounded by a really mature garden and extensive grounds – we were won over from the moment we arrived.

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Our room at the hotel wasn’t available until 3pm but the staff on reception were lovely – we were able to check in and our bags were taken and labelled up, to be taken up to our room ready for us. They also offered to drop our keys at the SenSpa when the room was ready.

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On our spa break we were able to use the spa from 9am on our day of arrival and all day on our day of departure too – as long as we vacated our room by 11am. We went straight to the spa and were given robes, footwear and wrist bands to access the thermal suite and shown to the changing rooms.

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The changing rooms were lovely with everything we needed – hair dryers, lockers, showers and plenty of dry towels. The lockers take £1 coins but the SenSpa staff found a locker token for us and we got changed before making use of the spa facilities.

Sarah and I have been on a lot of spa days but the SenSpa at Careys Manor is, without a doubt, the nicest and most well equipped spa we have been to. Any hotel guest is able to use the leisure facilities of pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna however, on a spa break you can also use the Hydrotherapy Area of the spa.

The main pool was a really good size for a hotel and the water was a really nice temperature, slightly cool to be refreshing after a spell in the sauna or steam room. The sauna was quite compact but the steam room, sauna and jacuzzi were lovely and aspects that we used a lot during our time in the spa.

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The Hydrotherapy Area was one of our favourite parts of our stay and the great mix of experiences and rooms worked really well together for a relaxing and invigorating spa break. The hydrotherapy pool was really lovely and warm with lots of different buttons for different water effects and showers. Then there were health showers, a herbal sauna, crystal steam room, experience showers, ice room, the tepidarium and laconicum. We spent a lot of time laying on the heated beds in the tepidarium and loved the relaxing sounds of water in the background.

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Whilst spending time in the spa you are able to make use of a relaxation room which had a wide variety of complimentary drinks like fruit juices, water and tea as well as a menu of light meals and additional drinks that could be purchased separately. This room was a really great feature of the spa, it let us have time out, relax and rehydrate. There were so many comfy seating options and it was the perfect place to just sit and just be for a while.

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At the end of our first day in the spa we tried the Alphasphere Deluxe treatment. It’s an experience to give you complete mental relaxation as well as being reenergising and inspiring.  The treatment has five different programs to choose from and when we visited three of them were available – we chose the Energy program, designed to be activating and revitalising.

During the Alphasphere Deluxe treatment we were in a dark room with two pods made of fine mesh material. In each pod there was a bed to lay on which vibrated, warmed up and rocked gently as we moved. During the program the top of the pod changed colour and there were sounds to accompany the colours and it really gave a full sensory experience as the pods were sprayed with a fragrance at the start of the session too.

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The Alphasphere Deluxe treatment is unlike any other treatment I have experienced before. It would have been nice to have a more constant fragrance, in a burner or something, but the twenty five minutes flew by. It was really relaxing and a great way to enhance your senses and tune out for a while.

After our treatment we put our robes on, collected our room keys and made our way to our room for the first time. We loved that we could walk straight from the spa to our hotel room without going through reception or any other public areas and so could happily wander around in our robe and flip flops.

Our room was perfect for our stay. There were twin beds and it easy to see that they would make a really good sized double room. There was also a seating area, a dressing table, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, plenty of storage space and we had even been left a gift of prosecco for our arrival.

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The room had a big french door that slid open to let a fantastic breeze in and to give a good view across the grounds. It was such a lovely bright room and we could see that the rooms below had a terrace to sit out on too.

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We also had a really good size bathroom, with a great power shower, lots of mirrors and complimentary toiletries. The room had everything we could need but I have to make my usual hotel room observation – there weren’t any plug sockets next to the bed, one thing that I love to see!

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We spent a couple of hours relaxing in our room and getting ready. It was the perfect space to both relax or work and we loved our time there – especially with the sound of the birds outside and the sun shining in. There was also complimentary wi-fi which is always appreciated.

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Before we knew it, it was time for dinner and we made our way to the hotel’s Cambium Restaurant. The restaurant has a smart/casual dress code and so we dressed up for the occasion, loving the opulent booth we were seated in.

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We were brought a tray of breads and an appetiser of tomato and goat’s cheese cannelloni whilst we decided what to order. The ambience of the restaurant was lovely and the service couldn’t have been better.

For starters I chose the Pressé of Rabbit, Bon Bon, Date, Smoked Carrot, Rye Crisp and Pickled Blackberries. The flavours worked wonderfully together and the blackberries gave such a lovely punch of flavour. Sarah chose the Hand Dived Scallops, Celeriac, Pear, Roasted Hazelnuts and Celery Cress which was cooked to absolute perfection.

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For mains I chose the Loin of Lamb, Glazed Sweet Bread, Belly, Broad Beans, Pommery Mustard, Goats Curd and Wild Nettle which was full of flavour and so well cooked. Sarah chose the Halibut with Squid Ink Buck Wheat, Asparagus, Samphire, Yuzu and Salt and Pepper Squid. We were both impressed with the amount of choice for vegetarians on the menu as usually Sarah only has one or two options per course.

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Lastly, we chose desserts and actually went for the same one – Warm Chocolate Mousse, Caramelised Banana, Toffee Popcorn and Caramel Ice Cream. Sarah isn’t keen on bananas but there was no problem asking to have the mousse without the bananas – the staff couldn’t have been more happy to answer questions and help with the menu.

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After dinner we had some drinks in the bar and we loved the homely feel of Careys Manor. There were comfy chairs wherever you looked and so much choice for somewhere to sit and have a drink, read or just pass the time. It has to be one of the most welcoming hotels I have ever stayed in.

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When we went to bed we slept really well although both woke early due to having our body clocks messed with through five years of parenthood! The beds and bedding were so comfortable and we could have happily lazed around the room all day.

Instead, we went down to breakfast, served in the Cambium Restaurant, and enjoyed the self serve buffet although they also had options from the kitchen – porridge, kippers and a vegetarian breakfast that Sarah chose. I made the most of the extensive cooked buffet, the fruit, yogurt, pancakes and muffins as well as plenty of juices and the obligatory cup of tea.

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It was nice to be able to check out and still make our way back to the spa, able to keep using the facilities all day on the day we check out. Having a dip in the cool pool was the perfect hangover cure and we spent a couple of hours in the various areas of the spa – and even found a new appreciation of the ice room – and how nice it sometimes is to tip a bucket of freezing water over your head! Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Before we knew it the time had come to head home and we both agreed we would visit again in the future. The spa was the best we have visited. The hotel was beautiful and our room was perfect for our needs for a relaxing night away but without a doubt a highlight of our stay were the Careys Manor staff. From the friendly porter when we arrived, to the young man who checked us in and out, to the lovely waitress at dinner and the many staff in the spa – everyone was helpful, efficient and just so happy. There were people that had worked at Careys Manor for 45 years who were still smiling throughout their shift and for me that makes Careys Manor a wonderful place to stay – happy staff make for happy guests and we couldn’t have had a better break away.

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Disclosure: We were invited to Careys Manor for the above spa break on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis for the purpose of this review however all opinions are my own.

How to Make the Most of a Bath Spa Break

*This is a guest post

For Centuries, Bath has been a recreational health spot for Romans, Saxons, Kings, Queens and more recently the health conscious and cultured individual. People travel to Bath from all over the world to relax, rejuvenate and of course soak up its wonderful architecture and history.

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Local spa hotel in Bath, Homewood Park receives its fair share of spa seekers. Eager to eradicate all forms of stress, Homewood Park have put together five ways in which spa guests can go from uptight to feeling refreshed and bright in the blink of an eye.

1. ‘Treatment’ Yourself

It’s called a ‘treat’-ment for a reason, as realistically it’s not something you’d have access to every day. And if this is the case, stop and think about what it takes for you to relax, unwind and replenish your body and mind before choosing a treatment. Use this insight to choose a treatment which is going to invigorate your senses and achieve the goal of ultimate serenity from head to toe.

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2. Sauna, Steam, Soak, Repeat

Spending too much time doing any of these three can be quite overwhelming and make you feel a little light headed. By doing each of them for 5 or 10 minutes each in a little circuit a few times can make it far more enjoyable.

3. Swim

Exercise is great for pumping blood around your body which of course carries oxygen and feeds you muscles energy to grow stronger. However, on a spa break you don’t want to overdo it; and the best way to exercise lightly is to swim.

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4. Culture

While it can be tempting to hide away and read a book on a lounger or plug in your iPod and listen to Café Del Mar, why not test your imagination in more visual ways. Bath is known for its incredible culture and its authentic historical value. Why not take a trip to the city centre (midweek when it’s less hectic) and visit the Roman Baths or the Jane Austin Museum.

5. Fresh Air

Some of the best spa hotels Bath has to offer are located on the outskirts. This means they are surrounded by luscious countryside and glorious gardens. Take a calming stroll either before or after your spa visit and feed your brain with fresh air as well as explore its peaceful towns and villages.

Review: The Well Spa at Bluestone

Whilst we were at Bluestone on holiday I made use of the Well Spa, Bluestone’s spa complex. The spa is situated in a bright yellow building in the main village area making it incredibly hard to miss.

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The Well Spa is the perfect way to unwind, destress or just take some time out. The entrance is bright and welcoming showcasing the range of products that are used and on sale at the spa. I let reception know that I was there for my reservation and was given a towel and robe to use whilst I was there – I was told to take flip flops and a pound coin for the lockers in an email confirming my reservation.

I was then shown where everything was and left to my own devices. If you book a treatment at The Spa Spa you have two hours complimentary access to the spa facilities prior to your treatment – a great benefit!

I made my way to the changing rooms and was impressed with how lovely, bright and clean there were with really nice decor, complimentary shower products in the shower cubicles and even hair dryers.

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When I was in my swimsuit and robe I walked up the stairs to the Thermal Suite, a area of six rooms each containing a different thermal experience. There was a selection of steam rooms, saunas and an ice room each giving great benefits and an all round sensory experience.

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The Thermal Suite was such a nice place to spend time, with dim lights, relaxing music and a really ambient atmosphere. There were showers, coat hooks, seats and a water machine to make it a great place to relax and unwind.

The Well Spa also has Caffi Mor, a place to grab a drink and take some time out in a really comfortable setting. You can even pre-order lunch or afternoon tea to break up your time at the spa or indulge between treatments.

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Through Caffi Mor there is an outside terrace area that features a Thermal Pool, an outdoor jacuzzi that is a great alternative to the Thermal Suite rooms and perfect all year round as it’s nicely heated. This would also be a nice place to lay on a sunbed and relax when the weather’s nice.

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After my morning of relaxing in the spa I had a Deluxe Pedicure that was fantastic. The range of treatments on offer at The Well Spa are fantastic with something for everyone but whenever I go to a spa I love to come away with pretty toes! The Deluxe Pedicure started with a foot bath, exfoliation and massage followed by so many foot and toe treatments and a lovely polish to finish. It was a great way to end my time at The Well Spa and as I had a treatment I was also given a voucher for 10% off any products I wanted to purchase too!

If you’re having a break at Bluestone any time soon The Well Spa is definitely worth a visit.