Having only been to the spa in Whinfell Forest in Cumbria for the day was excited to sleep in one of the Spa Suites and experience an overnight stay at Center Parcs, Woburn Forest.
I admittedly always thought of Center Parcs as a place just for families, especially with young children- and although it is ideal for parents and children, this branch has made great efforts to attract the younger couples looking for a luxurious weekend away full of romance, pampering and rest.
If you are feeling drained from work, tired of going to the same hotel every time you want a weekend away or are looking to mark a special occasion with your partner, then a Luxury Spa Break is just what you need!
Our orientation was presented by Careena, who met us at the entrance and showed us to the reception room where she gave us a complimentary glass of Prosecco and told us about what we had in store for the weekend. Although the signage is very good around the spa and the park as a whole, it was great to have that personal touch upon arrival. Careena made sure we had our wristbands for the spa on both days which included a waterproof wristband that could be linked up to a credit or debit card. This meant that we didn't have to worry about losing our purse or wallet- we could just swipe the wristband and it would be added to our final bill. Great for the spa and the waterpark so you don't have to carry anything on your person. She also gave us our £40.00 vouchers for our evening meal which is included in the package. They could be used in any of the eating houses in the Village Square.
Breakfast was in the package too which you can have in your room or in one of the eateries nearby. We had ours in The Shearing House- a restaurant that brings together country and chic. The walls are lined with pictures of sheep and cows, with sheepskins hung from hooks above you- it has a real feel of being in the heart of the country. The Shearing House has a sweeping window so you have full views of the forest, the chalets, the lake and the bike park so you can plan what you want to do with your weekend by the temptations going on outside.
The food was well cooked and the presentation was clearly well thought out and a real novelty to behold. The sugar for the tea came in an old syrup tin and the milk was brought in an old fashioned mini milk bottle. My partner had the heartier Full English Breakfast for big appetites and I had the Salmon and Eggs, so there are lighter bites or fuller meals depending on your preference to start the day.
We came back and got into our robes and swimming gear ready for our inclusive 55 minute face and body treatment. For men that included a back massage and facial and for the ladies this was an arm and shoulder massage and full body exfoliation and moisturize.
Merissa was my therapist and she made me feel very comfortable, given that I had to strip down to nothing but paper knickers!
She was very discreet and made sure that she gave me enough time between treatments to get showered and changed before the next phase of the pampering.
My partner had Sarah- and he said that it was the best back massage he had ever had in a spa.
At the end we were both given recommendations of the products used so we could pop downstairs to the shop and buy anything we liked the feel or the smell of.
The package is full of things to fill your time with- such as entry into the World of Spa on arrival and departure days between the hours of 9am-9pm. The spa suites have their own passageway to the spa so you don't have to worry about venturing out in your robe where there are non-spa goers.
The spa itself has six unique areas within it including The Fire and Ice Spa, The Blossom Spa, The Herbal Spa, The Sensory Spa, The Mineral and Gemstone Spa and The Salt Spa.
There is no other spa in the UK that has so many multi-sensory rooms that each offer their own restorative benefits and individual design. The outdoor pool is a great place to go between experiences to cool off too.
While we were there we saw singles, couples, groups of women and a hen do- so there is a spa day to suit everyone to catch up on the gossip, a good book or to simply unwind.
Once we were thoroughly relaxed we were able to check in to our suite.
The suite was simply breathtaking- it boasted a kitchenette area, a lounge, with a partition wall between this and the bedroom that had a TV on each side. The bathroom was fully stocked with products and fluffy white towels and the shower had heads positioned both above and at either side for a thorough wash.
The super king bed was beautifully dressed in fresh natural colours and right next to it was a large bathtub for two overlooking the lake.
The room had many extras- like movies delivered straight to your door, take out menus, coffee and tea making facilities, fans, under floor heating, hair straighteners, extra robes and the lights were sensitive to movement so no fumbling around in the night to find a switch. Everything was above and beyond what you would find in another quality hotel.
The suite also had a balcony with a seating area outside so you could see theforest and the Vitale Café Bar below.
We were given some complimentary dry snacks, a bottle of still and sparkling water and chocolate dipped strawberries and apricots to keep our energy up for the day.
We took advantage of another perk of the Luxury Spa Break which was access to the bikes. Parked right outside the spa we took in a tour of the park to work up appetite for our evening meal. Everyone on site is either on a bike or on foot, encouraging a very healthy of living while there; we didn't see many cars at all.
We took our vouchers to Hucks on the evening in the Village Square- a mere 5 minutes' walk forms the spa. This restaurant is an American diner that serves a lively menu for bigger appetites. For starter we shared an Onion Ring Stack- Stack of beer battered onion rings with Ranch dressing and chipotle mayonnaise.
For our main course my partner had the Fallin' Off the Bone Pork Ribs- marinated, smoked, chargrilled and basted in our tangy BBQ sauce, served with fries and coleslaw.
I had the Blackened Cajun Chicken Sandwich- Flat Grilled chicken breast cooked in a Cajun butter with lemon remoulade served on a brioche bun with sliced gherkin and seasoned fries and coleslaw.
The restaurant is certainly for those with a bigger appetite as we couldn't manage a desert. With two rounds of drinks this only cost us £15.00 extra so the vouchers go a long way to paying for the majority of your meal.
The following day we made our way down to the Vitale Café Bar to enjoy our inclusive Mediterranean inspired meal and drink after making the most of our room before the generous check out time of 12pm. Surrounded by eager women and men in their robes, ready for a day in the spa, the atmosphere was very chilled out. My husband had the Lasagna and I enjoyed the Brie and Caramelized Onion Flatbread- we also added a couple of extras to our order- a Scone and a Lemon Meringue Pie, with some snacks. We were served by Amy who confirmed what were entitled to as part of the package and was very patient with us while we decided what to order.
The Luxury Spa Break also granted us access to the Subtropical Swimming Paradise. If you are a big kid, just like my partner and I this is a great perk to staying in the suite.
Within this complex there is a lazy river to get you started where you can drift around on a blow up ring. There are 4 slides- one for singles, two for pairs and the biggest and best, the Tornado where up to four people can go down the vertical drop on a raft. There are several places to grab a drink here. We took some time out and had an iced drink at the Canopy Café and Bar before heading for some more fun. Themed like a beach café, and covered over by palm trees it felt like we had been transported abroad.
I genuinely felt like we had won the lottery when we checked into our room. It was the height of luxury and we felt completely recharged when we checked out. The staff even turned down our bed when we left for our evening meal, so when we returned it was really inviting and we had two heart shaped chocolates each on our pillows.
Center Parcs has thought of everything- it is very evident that so much time and thought has gone into every detail of this branch and we were lucky enough to be able to sample some of the newest technology that has not been rolled out to the others parks yet, like the electoric wristband.
The staff we encountered were very friendly and informative and happy to help if you have lost your way or need some information.
Although we were not there as a family- I can see the appeal of bringing children here. It felt safe and it allows a bit of freedom for children who want a sense of independence while still being within the confines of one place. Parents can rest easy and have some alone time while their children go off and fill their day with the endless amounts of activities available on site.
My only disappointment from the entire weekend is that I am now at home and back to reality.