Aqua Sana Whinfell Forest
Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2DW
Has a pool
Has thermal facilities
18 treatment rooms
Aqua Sana Whinfell Forest provides a friendly, sociable space for day guests, and a perfect retreat for parents wanting an afternoon’s grace from their activity-filled holiday. Nestled on the edge of the Lake District in the Cumbrian countryside, this Aqua Sana has one of the region's only combined wet and dry spas. Take in the beauty of the ancient forest and listen to the soothing sounds of nature as you unwind in the outdoor heated pool. Enjoy the range of experience rooms and relax in a large thermal suite that is fun to share, with good Decléor and Elemis treatments, and spa days at affordable prices.
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 wrist bands that operate the lockers, and took us through to the changing rooms.
The changing rooms are large with banks of wooden lockers and soft brown seating. The changing rooms 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 swimming pool and a large hydrotherapy pool that could seat around eight people. This has inbuilt loungers so you can relax in the warm water, two swan pipes, and plenty of bubbles. Loungers allow you to relax around the pool, or in the Zen Garden.
Inside, you can go on a spa journey from the mildly temperate Roman-inspired laconium, on to the warmer Greek herbal bath, the marakuja (passion fruit)-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 is peaceful and comfortable, with views over a small garden.
We tried the Elemis Thousand Flower Detox Wrap (55 minutes, £79).
My therapist, Gemma, collected me from the pre-treatment area and took me through to our treatment room. She explained the treatment, then left me to change into some disposable underwear before getting onto the comfortable treatment bed. Gemma began with a foot cleanse, applying pressure to points of tension in my feet, which set me on the road to relaxation from the start.
Gemma lightly exfoliated my legs, back and arms with a brush before massaging me with green tea oil. She then applied a dark Somerset peat to my front and back. This soil, full of flower essences, aims to kick-start your body to remove toxins. Gemma wrapped me up in brown towels, so I felt quite comfortingly cocooned while the peat did its detoxification. I felt even more cocooned with the accompanying facial and scalp massage that targeted my tension. The rose petal cleanser and toner were uplifting and fresh, and the lymphatic drainage massage as part of the facial was very welcome. Gemma was careful to check the massage pressure and make sure I was warm and comfortable at all times.
After about 20 minutes of cocooning, I made my way to the shower in the room and scrubbed off the peat with a mitt. Once I was back on the bed, Gemma smoothed green tea serum onto my body, some pro-collagen marine cream on my face, and I was detoxified and good to go. My skin felt smooth and soft. Gemma took me through to the relaxation room, where I floated on a lounger for a while before rejoining the World of Spa.
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. CND 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. This is so that your food is freshly cooked. Lunch is a healthy mix of salads, flatbread, panini and fishcakes. Our borlotti bean and vegetable soup was delicious, as was our tagliatelle with the sauce of the day: mushroom, spinach and tarragon. You can also choose a package that includes afternoon tea or a glass of sparkling wine.
We loved swimming in the warm water of the pool while the snow fell around us: quite magical.
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.
We loved the variety of heat experiences; something to suit everyone with all the different temperatures and humidity levels.
We didn't love having to bring (or buy) our own spa slippers; pack yours in advance!
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.
We gave 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 everyone living locally. Aqua Sana doesn't aim for hushed luxury -- you'll be sharing the spa with perhaps over 100 people depending on when you visit -- but offers a fun and affordable way to spend some spa time with friends or family. The atmosphere is friendly, the spa assistants helpful, and it's easy to spend a day here unravelling in your own way and at your own pace.
Single Spy visited in April 2016 and awarded it 4 Bubbles
This spa has not had any public reviews yet. Why don't you become the first?
Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2DW
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.
There are no offers for this spa.