Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Aqua Sana, Woburn Center Parcs, Bedfordshire

So sometimes mums and dads need a little break from the walking and children and to relax. What better way to relieve tired muscles than a visit to a spa.

Whilst at Longleat Center Parcs I managed to persuade Phil to visit the Aqua Sana spa for 3 hours. At the end of the 3 hours he admitted that it was actually ok and he would go again. Roll on a few weeks and we found ourselves at the recently opened Woburn Center Parcs Aqua Sana spa for a day, on his suggestion.
Aqua Sana entrance. Cafe and outdoor terrace on 1st floor, 6 spa suites on 2nd & 3rd floor
You don't have to be staying at Center Parcs to visit the spa, it was very easy to book packages online, and on arrival at 9am it appeared a popular thing to do. Very friendly staff on hand to greet you, handing out locker wrist bands and towels. The changing rooms are really large, good size lockers (some with a hanger), a number of hair dryers at vanity tables, numerous showers with complementary shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and swim costume spinners with wet bags. There is one private change room. Once changed and though the other side you head up the stairs were staff greet you and direct you to the cafe where you book a lunch slot and complementary breakfast of pastry or fruit salad and a drink is brought to you.  On entry to the spa you are given the times of any treatments you have booked (more can be booked in advance or on arrival depending on availability) and a run down of the spa areas with a tour if you wish.

Herbal Sauna (c) Center Parcs
I had read it can take three hours to go once round the spa, this is quite true. It took us over two hours to visit each room, some so hot (or cold) you don't stay long and others so perfect you stay longer.
Set over 2 floors with 25 experience rooms and divided into 6 zones with an outdoor infinity pool and zen garden you don't realise on first glance how big it is. There are a few wall maps around to help you get your bearings when needed. Each area has a sauna and steam room, along with spa showers. Other times you will find a mix of rain walks and relaxation rooms. There are some rooms especially designed for Center Parcs, such as the volcano room, which is very hot and if you get the right angle lie back and watch volcanos explode on tvs. There was some different uses of tvs in rooms, like the sensory experience sauna where you go through the four seasons projected on the ceiling with smell and touch. There were herbal and flower rooms, along with mineral and salt rooms. We entered a mineral steam bath looking ominously up at the showers wondering if they come on... to eventually laugh when we got drenched (in the nicest possible way). As well as relaxation rooms in the zones there was outside and inside loungers, double round beds to snuggle under a blanket on, and water beds that people fell asleep on. There were a few water points dotted around but sometimes we found the water hadn't been refilled or it was out of cups, the same applied to the single point for cool face cloths (which though placed in ice weren't moist).

Aqua Sana outdoor pool at night (c) Center Parcs
 The infinity pool was very nice, will be more secluded when the tress in-front grow taller with time as jealous onlookers walked by. The jets appear to come on quite randomly, the jacuzzi bed could have been larger at busy times, and some of the water jets were a little harsh. Leaving only the brave to go near. The pool was a lot nicer than the one at Longleat with space to sit, lounge, watch and chat (even in the rain, yes it did rain).

Lunch was a choice of salads, pasta dishes and paninis, enjoyed with juice, hot drink or even with a glass of Prosecco. The "sweet treats" looked very nice so we popped back in the afternoon for coffee and a cake. Service again was excellent and the food tasted as delicious as it looked.

After lunch we went along for our treatment, we both had a Elemis Revive and Refresh Booster Facial. I've been to a few spas and had treatments at Aqua Sana before so knew what to expect. Phil on the other hand was a spa newbie. We were greeted promptly by therapists and made very welcome. We both found the therapist explained what she was about to do and what she was using. Phil did get a bit of a shock with a quick foot massage to start with which was very unexpected, and being a foot hater didn't enjoy this. I on the other hand had no foot massage. We came out feeling relaxed and Phil had to say it wasn't quite as bad as he expected and his skin was a lot better for it.
Infinity pool
After another once round our favorite rooms in the spa sadly our day had to come to an end. We were welcome to use other facilities at Woburn for the day so we had a walk around Woburn and enjoyed a lovely meal at Cafe Rogue before home.
As well as a various choice of spa days on offer you can also book luxury spa breaks and we wished we had booked this for the night, it felt like our day had ended too quickly and the rooms look amazing on the website. It would be an excellent choice for that special occasion.

We went on a Saturday during the summer holidays. So quite probably a popular day but at no point did it feel too busy. I read maximum capacity is 200 people, which sounds a lot and we think there could have been close to that by the afternoon (there was an obvious difference in numbers in the morning to afternoon) but spread over the different "zones", cafe and treatment rooms we never felt we couldn't get into a room or we couldn't find a lounger to lie-on.
One minus of the day was as the spa is spread over 2 floors we did feel we went up and down a bit to lockers to grab a book or kindle and for getting a dry towel or robe. We kept on sneaking to the other side of the changing room for a dry towel and robe, they do get very wet and heavy.

We thoroughly enjoyed our day, and really hope to go back. Our favorites being the foot baths, lava volcano room (how long can you stay in for), snow and ice room and mineral room.

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