Aqua Sana Elveden Forest
Brandon, Suffolk, IP27 0YZ
Has a pool
Has thermal facilities
21 treatment rooms
Aqua Sana Elveden Forest is a warm haven of a spa in a popular holiday village, nestled in the Suffolk countryside. The spa offers stunningly good value for money, a wide range of thermal experiences and treatments, and spot-on customer care. Aqua Sana captures the essence of traditional Roman baths where people would go to socialise and gossip. There’s enough at Aqua Sana to keep you busy all day long, and it’s the perfect place for friends and couples to spend some quality time together in a laid-back atmosphere.
1 person says this spa is family friendly. 2 people say this spa is a social spa. 2 people say this spa is health focused. 2 people say this spa is solo friendly. 2 people say this spa is romantic.
Aqua Sana Elveden Forest is set in a Center Parcs resort in the rural Suffolk woodland. It's super easy to get onto the site and you can park just outside the spa. Tucked away in a quiet corner of the resort, the large spa is set over two floors with treatment rooms, 15 fire-and-ice experience rooms, and an outdoor hydrotherapy pool. This social spa is perfect for groups, friends and couples alike.
The spacious spa reception has tall ceilings, large white globe lights and a long curved desk. The retail area is generously stocked with Elemis, Decléor and Aqua Sana products. The décor is eco-lodge chic, with wall hangings, tasteful lampshades and wall lights bringing the outside forest in.
At the desk, our friendly receptionist gave us a map of the spa and briefly explained the many thermal facilities. She told us where to go for our treatments, and advised us to go to the café first, where you can have a welcome drink and pastry or fruit, and reserve lunch. She gave us wristbands and described how they would activate our lockers.
Towels and robes are stored in cubbyholes leading into the changing rooms. There are no flip flops (you can buy them or bring your own). The changing rooms are a good size with plenty of lockers; if you forget which one is yours, press your wristband to a machine and it will tell you the number. There are two toilets and eight showers, all stocked with Aqua Sana products. For post-spa changing, the three mirrored vanity areas each have a chair and hairdryer. Pendant lampshades patterned with trees add a splash of style.
The star of the spa is the thermal area. The first level has experience rooms and loungers arranged around the large, heated open-air 15-metre spa pool. Relax in here between experiences, either floating in bubbles and gazing up at the sky while inhaling the subtly scented air, or having an intense shoulder massage under one of the three swan pipes.
There are four reflexology footbaths by the entrance. Begin your journey in the gently heated laconium with warmed mosaic seats. You then make your way -- counter-clockwise -- around the experiences: the tiled and steamy hammam with water bowls for cooling your face, experience showers, the scented Indian blossom steam room with glittering lights, after which you can scoop ice from a bucket and rub it into your skin. The Japanese salt steam room is quite strongly fragranced and hot. Outside, relax on sumptuous four-poster day beds in the Zen garden (there's also a grassy Tyrolean garden) before continuing to the large wooden Tyrolean sauna, followed by a cold plunge bucket or experience shower.
Head upstairs for a warm Greek herbal bath, which has seven tiled seats facing inward to a mock well scattered with herbs, followed by a Balinese steam bath, with four tiled annexes leading off from the Buddha statue. In the meditation room, you can sit on tiled seats and gaze at three giant coloured lava lamps.
This floor also has lots of relaxation areas: actual beds behind a wooden screen, wicker cushioned sofas, loungers, hanging pod chairs, a large long raised sofa, and outside loungers overlooking the pool below. The highlight has to be the two large round waterbeds on the balcony, each with cushions and blankets, overlooking the tree tops.
The treatment area is downstairs, where you can wait on sofas and fill in your consultation form.
My therapist, Zoë, led me to the treatment room and invited me to sit while we went through the consultation form. She said she would examine my skin before deciding on the products to use, and asked me about my concerns (tense shoulders and wrinkles!).
The treatment began with Zoë pressing my limbs through the towel. She moved the towel down my body and applied massage oil which she smoothed over my back. She worked in the oil using long, firm Balinese strokes either with her hands or forearms and elbows. It felt blissfully relaxing and I drifted off. Zoe stretched out the knot in my painful shoulder with firm, lengthy strokes that slowly eased the pain. At one point, she asked me to inhale deeply and pressed along my spine. She did fast friction strokes up from my hips -- a lovely, warming sensation. When she had finished my back, she moved down to my calves. The massage felt firm and quite painful -- my muscles are quite tight from running -- but Zoë soon pressed away the soreness with soothing strokes.
Zoë then invited me to lie on my back and cocooned me in towels ready for my facial. She cleansed and examined my skin before choosing the products, then exfoliated using fine grains which, she told me, are better for sensitive skin.
She removed the scrub with hot mitts, then massaged my face quite firmly with facial oil. My skin felt soft and utterly relaxed. She then cleaned off the oil and applied a face mask. While the mask seeped in, Zoë massaged first my arms and shoulders, then my legs and, finally, my scalp. She ended the massage by cupping my ears, which filled with a whooshing sound like sea shells. She removed the mask with hot mitts, then dabbed on eye cream and a moisturiser.
My skin felt glowing and smooth and the effects lasted several days. My body felt pain-free and incredibly relaxed, and my shoulder knot had vanished.
The treatment menu at Aqua Sana Elveden Forest offers Elemis and Decléor facials, wraps, scrubs, massage, Lava Shells and hot stone treatments, serail mud treatments and options for men and mums-to-be. There's also a new wellness massage for those living beyond cancer.
We had lunch in our robes in the bright, modern Vitalé café. The café is spacious and comfortable with glass doors opening onto a veranda. It was serenely empty when we visited on a Tuesday, but more lively at peak times.
Vitalé offers a range of paninis, ciabattas and healthy salads, as well as wraps, soups, pasta and platters to share. I tried the poached salmon which was fresh and light, filling and tasty. You can also order afternoon teas, desserts, hot and cold drinks, and Prosecco, wines and cocktails if you're celebrating.
We loved the range of facilities and the upstairs relaxation space. We lay on the outside waterbeds as the rain pattered on the trees; it's inspired, having the beds on the balcony.
Our treatment was very enjoyable and the results were instant and long lasting.
The friendly and attentive customer service made our day really special. I would love to go back for an overnight package; the spa suites with their roll-top baths overlooking the gardens are stunning.
We didn't love getting horribly lost on the way there; the postcode confuses sat-navs, so just put in the resort name and address, or follow the signs from the M11.
No pockets in robes is a pain. We understand that people sometimes pick up the wrong robe, but we had to carry books and specs and find somewhere dry to put them while steaming.
On a quiet day early in the week, solo spa goers will find plenty of space to achieve inner calm as well as have a fabulous treatment.
We also saw lots of couples, friends, and mothers and daughters enjoying the facilities. Aqua Sana Elveden Forest offers very good value for money. We also saw lots of spa newbies discovering the world of spa.
We gave Aqua Sana Elveden Forest a Good Spa Guide rating of Four Bubbles. The quality of service and treatments, the updates to the décor and creative use of space, and the relaxing flow of the spa journey creates something quite special.
Savant Spa visited in June 2016 and awarded it 4 Bubbles
Brandon, Suffolk, IP27 0YZ
Vitalé Café Bar – Mediterranean restaurant to delight your senses, with a mouth-watering selection of lighter meals, designed to be both nutritious and irresistible.
Executive Apartments available for spa breaks; Luxury Spa Suites available for luxury spa breaks.
9am - 9pm every day
There are no offers for this spa.