Aqua Sana Sherwood Forest
Newark, Nottinghamshire, NG22 9DN
Has a pool
Has thermal facilities
21 treatment rooms
This great-value spa has plenty to keep you entertained, with its many heat and experience rooms set over two storeys and built around a heated open-air pool. The spa exterior is designed like a Greek temple, and the reception area is packed with Decléor, Elemis and Aqua Sana’s own products, all of which are used in the treatments. At Café Vitale, your spa hostess will walk you through your spa day. Go in the morning and you can bagsy a hanging relaxation pod.
As with all Aqua Sana spas, Aqua Sana Sherwood is set in a Center Parcs holiday village - in this case, Sherwood Forest. Approaching a spa through a forest is a lovely thing: no traffic jams, exhaust fumes or general road stresses, just families cycling and walking to their various activities. Once inside the spa, the tree views remind you that you are spa-ing in the forest.
The spa exterior is like a Greek temple, while within is a world of indulgence, beauty and relaxation. The reception desk is large, with several uniformed staff waiting to check you in. A huge light retail space is packed with Decleor, Elemis, Bliss, CND, Bare Essentials and Aqua Sana's own products to try or treat yourself to. Express treatments are also on offer here with large pedicure thrones and stations for traditional or gel manicures. You can also have a Bare Minerals make over, threading, eyebrow and eyelash tinting, waxing and a range of mini Bliss facials.
Having checked in at reception, go through to the male or female changing rooms, collecting your white robes and towels from the shelves just outside. If you want spa slippers, you will need to pay for them at reception.
Café Vitale, by the changing rooms, is where your spa hostess will meet you, offer you a hot drink and talk you through your spa day or stay. Café Vitale is mostly white, and spacious and light. It was decorated with fairy lights ready for Christmas when we visited in November, which looked very pretty. From the café, one door leads to the World of Spa, another to the Treatment Suite.
The World of Spa is set over two floors, with plenty to keep you occupied on a spa day. Four reflexology foot baths await as you enter: contemplate the many spa options while bubbles massage your feet!
The laconium is a good place to start. This circular room with contoured tiled seating and foot rests is heated gently to between 40 and 60 degrees, allowing your body to warm gradually. The notice outside advises that you will begin to "gently perspire" after 15 to 20 minutes.
The Turkish hammam combines the heat of a sauna with steam: lots of steam! When you enter, it can be difficult to get your bearings. Once you have managed to find your way to one of the alcove bench-style seats, you can sit back and enjoy the double heat sensation.
The Japanese Salt Steam detoxifies with salt-infused steam, and the Indian Blossom steam room smells heavenly. The Balinese steam room is so steamy, it takes a while to see that there are several mini areas within.
Sauna purists will enjoy the large pale wood Tyrolean sauna with an ice fountain outside. If you prefer to cool down more gently, go straight from the sauna to the spacious Tyrolean garden, which has wooden seats dotted around and a cabana for when it's raining. Another al-fresco option is the Japanese Zen Garden; the white pebbles underfoot encourage mindfulness as you walk barefoot.
The heated open-air spa pool is surrounded by glass; you can watch the coming and goings from the pool from one of the many comfy loungers.
Upstairs offers a large array of relaxation options and was mostly empty in the morning when we visited. Downstairs was very busy first thing, so it may be a good idea to go against the flow and start your spa journey upstairs.
The tepidarium offers another gentle heat experience, so its contoured stone loungers are also a good place to start your spa journey. The Greek Herbal Bath has steam infused with rosemary, sage and thyme to relax tight muscles.
The Aqua Meditation room is low lit and has soft upholstered seating. Coloured images of water projected on to the ceiling aim to help you switch off the chatter in your mind. The Rest and Relaxation room was my favourite Aqua Sana Sherwood experience. Four wicker pods with cushions hang from the ceiling in which you can curl up and watch a wide-screen image of a log fire, complete with crackling sound effects. Unfortunately all four pods were occupied on several occasions when I looked. Go in the morning, however, and you may have the room to yourself.
The rest of the upper level of the spa is all about relaxation, with lots of loungers, water beds and an outdoor terrace with loungers and blankets to snuggle under while you gaze out over the trees.
If you feel the need for some spa entertainment between relaxation sessions, the spa seminar area has regular product demos taking place throughout the day.
We had the Elemis Biotec Sonic Skin-Radiance facial (55 minutes, £79).
My therapist, Sarah, collected me from the large treatment-suite waiting area where I had filled in my consultation form. Sarah took me through to the treatment room, explained the treatment and asked about any skin concerns. I then lay down on the heated couch. Sarah checked whether I was warm enough and covered me with a blanket. Super snug!
The Elemis Biotec Sonic Skin-Radiance Facial is one of six new electronic facials from Elemis. This one concentrates on producing radiant skin. What's not to like?
Sarah cleansed my face and used ginseng toner. Elemis facials are always an olfactory delight and this one was no exception. Heavenly smelling products from start to finish.
Sarah performed the ultra-sonic facial peel by gently drawing a long thin metal device across my face. This vibrates to draw impurities out of the skin, and Sarah concentrated on the congested area around my nose. She constantly wiped my skin with damp cotton-wool pads to ensure that the device glided over my skin without dragging.
Sarah then applied radiance activator and placed hydra gel masks over both eyes, followed by an eye pad to block out the light, and applied a face mask. All I had to do was lie back and drift away while Sarah massaged my neck and shoulders.
Sarah peeled off the mask, toned my skin with rosewood toner, applied neck and bust cream and more activator to my face. She then applied hydra gel using a pair of metal galvanic rollers. Unlike similar electronic devices, these did not cause sensitivity in my teeth, so l could lie back and relax.
Finally, Sarah applied toner, a third application of the activator, and finished with moisturiser. My skin looked amazing after this treatment; all that oxygen and activator had plumped up my skin and, yes, it actually did look more radiant. What's more, it looked noticeably good for the next couple of weeks. So job done!
The Aqua Sana Sherwood Forest spa menu offers a wide range of Elemis and Decleor face and body treatments. How about an organic milk and honey wrap or maybe volcanic mud? The "Something Special" section offers various dry floatation experiences. Also available are treatments for couples, and complementary therapies such as reflexology and Hopi Ear Candles.
Those having treatments get to enjoy the huge dedicated post-treatment relaxation room with blankets to snuggle under and wonderful views of the forest.
If you are visiting for a spa day, you will eat at Café Vitale in the spa. You are offered a drink and a pastry on arrival, and for lunch you can choose a drink and one item from the lunch menu. Choices include a range of paninis, pastas and salads. We had the goat's cheese, pesto and roasted vegetable panini which was served with plenty of rocket -- and was delicious.
If you are staying in Sherwood Forest Center Parcs, you have various dining options around the site including chains such as Café Rouge and The Pancake House as well as Center-Parcs owned Indian restaurant Rajinda Pradesh. If you are too spa-ed out to move, the Dining In service is perfect as it delivers food to your accommodation.
We loved that Aqua Sana Sherwood Forest is a spa that takes relaxation seriously. Not content with providing a wonderful post-treatment relaxation room with views over the forest, this spa has a whole upper floor dedicated to relaxation, including water beds, al-fresco loungers with blankets, and hanging pods in front of a virtual fire.
We loved the customer service; friendly and helpful across the board. Aqua Sana Sherwood Forest feels like a happy place to be for customers and staff alike.
We didn't love having to loiter outside the Rest and Relaxation room waiting for a hanging pod to be free. When we finally got to settle down in front of the virtual fire, the cushions were wet.
We didn't love the showers not being supplied with conditioner. Not a great end to our lovely spa day.
Couples who like to spa together, or those who want to introduce their spa-shy partner to the spa experience. Many of the customers on our visit were couples, so there is no reason for your man to feel awkward in his towelling robe.
Hats off once again to an Aqua Sana spa for being part of the movement to bring spa-ing to the wider public; Aqua Sana Sherwood Forest is a very affordable spa offering real value for your spa pound.
We gave Aqua Sana Sherwood Forest a Good Spa Guide rating of 4 bubbles.
This spa may not offer every luxury but the choice of spa experiences is impressive, the setting is wonderful, and the value is amazing.
Super Spy visited in December 2014 and awarded it 4 Bubbles
Rufford, Newark, Nottinghamshire, NG22 9DN
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.
9am - 9pm every day
There are no offers for this spa.
There are no offers for this spa.