Whinfell’s impressive Aqua Sana is set on one level within Lake District woodland, and offers Elemis and Decléor treatments. Outside is a small swimming pool, a large hydrotherapy pool with lots of bubble stations and a zen garden. Inside, your spa journey takes you through a laconium, Greek herbal bath, Japanese salt steam bath, Balinese and Indian blossom steam room, Tyrolean sauna and Turkish hammam. The quiet zone with heated floor has waterbeds to relax on.
- XXL robes available
- 18 air-conditioned treatment rooms
- Balinese multi-steam bath
- Greek herbal bath
- Ice fountain
- Indian Blossom steam room
- Indoor and outdoor pools
- Japanese salt steam bath
- Multi-sensory showers
- Reflexology footbaths
- Turkish hammam
- Tyrolean sauna
- Water beds
- Zen Garden
- CND Nails
- Bare Minerals
- Lava Shells
Our Spa Spy review
Aqua Sana Whinfell Forest lies deep in the woodland of Center Parcs in the Lake District. If you are visiting the spa for the day, you park in the main car park then walk through the trees to Aqua Sana, as Center Parcs is a car-free family paradise. Allow at least 20 minutes for this. When you book, let them know if you or someone in your party needs transport across the site.
The spa reception is large, bright and has shelves of retail products as well as manicure and pedicure stations. The receptionist welcomed us, issued us with wristbands that operate the lockers, and took us through to the changing rooms.
What's on offer?
The changing rooms are large with banks of wooden lockers and soft brown seating. The showers were well stocked with Aqua Sana's own brand of body wash, shampoo and conditioner. There's a spindryer and plastic bags for your wet swimsuit, and hairdryers alongside the mirrors.
Once you are changed, the spa host will show you around the "World of Spa": each Aqua Sana has its own collection of thermal experiences from around the world. At Aqua Sana Whinfell, The World of Spa is on one level. Outside is a small heated pool which was such a treat to swim in. It's open to the skies and surrounded by trees. Loungers allow you to relax around the pool, or in the Zen Garden.
The large hydrotherapy pool could seat around eight people. This has inbuilt loungers so you can unwind in the warm water, swan pipes, and plenty of bubbles.
At Aqua Sana, you can go on a spa journey from the mildly temperate Roman-inspired laconium, on to the warmer Greek herbal bath, the scented Japanese Salt Steam Bath, the jasmine-scented Balinese steam room, the Indian Blossom steam room with scents of black amber and citrus, the intense, dry heat of the wooden Tyrolean sauna, and the fiercely warm and steamy Turkish hammam. Each room has clear explanations of its scent, temperature and how long you should stay inside. Cool down between heat treats in the experience showers, or the ice fountain. Water is freely available so you can stay hydrated, too. With all these experiences to share, Aqua Sana is a very social spa, as people discuss their favourites as they go.
The "quiet zone" has waterbeds and loungers to relax on. The heated floor makes this area especially soothing.
Through a door is a seating area where you wait for your treatments, pleasantly set out with brown sofas and yellow cushions in a circle around a central table. Help yourself to flavoured iced water and teas while you fill in your consultation form. As this area is reserved for those awaiting treatments, it stays quiet and calm. A separate relaxation room for post-treatment recuperation has comfortable loungers, with views over a small garden.
Tell us about the treatments
We tried the Back, neck and shoulder massage (25 minutes, £49) and a Decléor personalised facial (55 minutes, £79).
My therapist, Kat, fetched me from the spa lounge and took me through to a treatment room, where she asked about my concerns. I then lay face down on the bed so we could begin. Kat walked her hands up and down my body to ground me, which was a nice start. Kat then performed a very focused back, neck and shoulder massage, easing the knots in my shoulders and the tension in my neck. She also rubbed some Circulagel over my skin, which felt both tingly and refreshing. I felt looser and lighter afterwards, and very much enjoyed this treatment.
I turned over for the facial, which started with a double cleanse and tone. Kat then used a gentle exfoliator which smelled deliciously different from the usual floral scents of Decléor, quite sharp and refreshing. She applied an Amara balm containing neroli and sweet orange, which felt gorgeously rich and smooth as it went on. Kat carried out a relaxing facial massage, paying special attention to the dry areas around my eyes and across my forehead.
Kat covered my face with a light layer of muslin and, over this, painted a moisture mask which felt creamy and cool. While my skin drank in the moisture, Kat treated me to a scalp massage, managing to pay a little more attention to my terminally tight shoulders.
At the end of the treatment, I felt a lot more relaxed, and my skin felt smooth and soft. Kat took me through to the relaxation room and brought me a cranberry juice. I floated on a lounger for a while before rejoining the World of Spa.
My spa partner had the same massage and facial using Elemis products, which she loves, and which she pronounced heavenly.
Aqua Sana Whinfell offers facials, massages, scrubs and wraps from Decléor and Elemis. There are treatments specifically for couples, such as the serail mud treatment, for men, and for mums-to-be. You can also try a few complementary therapies such as reflexology. Manicures and pedicures complete the picture.
Spa-day packages include a welcome drink and pastry, and lunch in the light and bright Café Vitalé. The room seats about 70 and everyone wanders in and out in their robes quite comfortably. You can take time out here at any time during your spa day, just to revive with a cup of tea or coffee.
You choose your lunch on arrival, as well as a time for lunch that suits you, so that your food is freshly cooked. Lunch is a healthy mix of salads, flatbreads, panini and soup. You can also order pasta with the sauce of the day. We tried the fishcakes and salad, which were tasty, and the sharing platter for two, which included humous, olives and vine leaves. Some packages include afternoon tea or a glass of sparkling wine.
We loved / we didn't love
Swimming in the warm water of the pool with skies above us.
The spa attendants did a good job, making sure everyone was comfortable, clearing plastic glasses, and furnishing towels or a dry robe as needed. Aqua Sana has a lot of guests, but the attendants make everyone feel looked after.
The variety of heat experiences; there is something to suit everyone with all the different temperatures and humidity levels.
We didn't love
The lack of finishing touches: There is no make-up remover or moisturiser in the changing rooms, for example. We'd also have liked to see more salads on the menu.
Who do you think would like it?
The variety of experiences makes The World of Spa ideal for couples and groups. Aqua Sana is a fun and engaging spa experience to share.
Parents who can despatch their children to an appropriate activity in the park and spend a couple of hours relaxing in the adult-only environment of the spa.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded Aqua Sana Whinfell Forest a Good Spa Guide rating of 4 bubbles. The varied heat experiences and value-for-money make this Aqua Sana a spa that every Center Parcs visitor should try, as well as anyone living locally. Aqua Sana doesn't aim for hushed luxury – you'll share the spa with perhaps over 100 people – it offers ia fun and affordable way to spend some spa time with friends or family.
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.