Scarlet Spy tries a Bespoke Asian Massage

Feb 28 2024

Scarlet Spy

On the Road

5 min read


Why fly off to Thailand when you can enjoy authentic Thai flavours in bucolic Brockenhurst in the New Forest. At SenSpa, the Thai décor, zingy Thai food and Thai-trained therapists will make you feel a world away. There are gentle nods to the spa in the attractive red-brick hotel, too, which has two Buddhas guarding the entrance.


We were warmly greeted in the spa’s reception and directed to take a seat on one of the comfy chairs. SenSpa products dominate one entire wall; the spa’s signature scent - containing lime, lavender, tea tree and Ylang Ylang - fills the air. As we sipped a cup of Camellias Wellness Tea, our spa host handed over our assigned locker key, spa wristband, timetable, and towel and robe. More towels are available from reception if yours gets soggy.

You’ll find the changing rooms up a flight of stairs. After opening your pre-assigned locker, change beside one of the wooden benches or bag one of the three basic changing rooms behind swinging doors. There’s also a costume spinner, two loos, showers and a seated vanity area for post-spa preening.

A door at the back of the changing rooms leads down a flight of stairs to a 14-metre swimming pool - perfect for laps – and lined with loungers on one side; you’ll find a small sauna and steam room on the other side and a bubbly Jacuzzi at the end. The highlight of the spa is the giant hydropool; tap your wristband for access. We arrived as everyone was leaving for lunch so had it to ourselves. Press the black buttons for bubbles-on-command. We worked our way around all the jets, from the shoulder pummelling swan neck jets (which were just the right side of hard) to the bed jets.

There’s a good selection of heat facilities to explore, too - we loved the Herbal Sauna with storm sounds and star pricked ceiling. After cooling off under the experience shower, we relaxed in the deliciously hot Crystal Steam Room, with its purple tiles and giant Bohemian Amethyst at the centre.

A new-found appreciation for all-things cold-water ensured the Ice Room was fully embraced, with the drench bucket shower pulled over our heads; handfuls of ice rubbed onto our toasty skin; and a combo of sea storm, ice storm and tropical settings in the experience shower.

Had enough of the wet facilities? Take the spiral staircase up to the first floor. Here you’ll find the Laconium (with its heated floor to lie on) and Tepidarium tucked at the back. A private Rhassoul and AlphaSphere Deluxe can also be found on this floor; book in advance for an extra charge.

The Relaxation area is located on the same floor as the ladies changing rooms – along with the treatment rooms, gym and Thai Temple Studio, where we spotted rows of yogis in downward dog as we passed by. There’s a choice of seats and loungers to kick back on; help yourself to tea, coffee or citrus-infused water.


We tried a Bespoke Asian Massage (60 mins, £115).

My therapist, Steph, met me in reception and led me to one of the 18 treatment rooms (Willow) where we discussed my problem areas: tight calves and hips, re-occurring headaches and a wonky neck (she had her work cut out for her). Steph then left the room so that I could get settled on the bed, lying face down.

The treatment began with three deep breaths of a soothing SenSpa signature oil, followed by a foot cleanse using hot mitts. Steph commenced the massage on my feet and legs, working out tension between my calves and hips before focusing on the tech-induced knots in my shoulders. I loved the feeling of the hot towel on my back afterwards.

Turning onto my front, Steph set to work on the front of my legs before working out the tension in my neck by turning my head from side-to-side. The treatment concluded with a heavenly scalp massage.

Steph signified the end of the treatment with a chime of a bell and allowed me time to come to as she fetched a cold glass of water.


From the pressure points in my feet to the Marma points in my scalp; my body and mind felt deeply relaxed and soothed.


A real highlight of SenSpa is the Zen Garden, a Thai restaurant in the centre of the spa. Gold murals, a bamboo ceiling and a pretty garden which you can sit in on a pleasant day create a tranquil atmosphere. The food is delicious and colourful, and is often adorned with edible flowers.

We feasted on the hot and spicy Som Tom: a green papaya salad with tomatoes, crunchy green beans, chilli and cashew nuts in a Thai dressing. We followed this the Penang Beef, a Thai curry containing Sirloin Beef and Pak Choi served with Jasmine rice.


Try the AlphaSphere (20 minutes, £19), located on the top of floor above the hydrotherapy pool. Created by Austrian artist and perceptions researcher, Sha, SenSpa is one of the only locations in the UK with this glowing fibreglass bed that curves to the shape of your body. It uses fluctuating levels of colour, sound, light and vibrations to create a sensory space to soothe the soul.

Your chosen colour - blue for balancing, pink for sentimental moments, red for strong and deep emotions or orange for energy and revitalising (our choice) – glows above you as rumbling sounds and vibrations transport you to another world. You may look like you’ve been abducted by Aliens, but the device finds that dreamy state between consciousness and sleep.


Play in the thermal facilities, bubble in the hydrotherapy pool and finish with a two course Thai feast at the Zen Garden.


Scarlet Spy

28th February 2024

Spy Likes:

Nature-inspired spas, cold water plunges, sound baths, deep tissue massage, delicious food.

Spy Dislikes:

Thin walls in treatment rooms, loungers hoggers, bright lights

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