The bright and modern Bannatyne Kingsford Park is surrounded by green parkland, close to the city of Colchester. Escape to this health club spa for the day and enjoy full use of the gym, classes and, of course, the spa. Take a dip in the hydrotherapy pool, relax in the sauna and steam room before indulging in an Elemis treatment. Curl up post-treatment on one of the water beds.
- Single sex facilities
- XXL robes available
- Family swim times
- Steam room
- Aromatherapy room
- Rainfall shower
- Manicure and pedicure lounge
- Skin care lab
- Relaxation lounge
- Water bed room
- Hydrotherapy pool 10m
- Spa pool
- Rasul treatment
Our Spa Spy review
Bannatyne Colchester - Kingsford Park is a health club set in a white neo-Jacobean manor house surrounded by rolling lawns and attractive gardens. The setting puts the venue a notch above your average leisure centre; the new all-white spa "wing" -- with its light-filled sash windows and spacious, elegant rooms -- is in a class of its own. The spa is a peaceful oasis in a busy health club.
What's on offer?
The spa reception is a large, light-filled atrium with a domed skylight and sash windows offering garden views. This serves as both reception and the venue for lunch.
A cheerful receptionist signed us in and offered us a smart spa bag containing a robe, flip-flops and a towel. Unless you are on a specific spa day, you pay a £20 deposit; you will get £10 back when you return your robe and towel, and can keep the bag and flip-flops. We sat at one of the tables to complete consultation forms.
The changing rooms are in the health club itself, down a flight of stairs (or use the lift). While spacious, the changing rooms are beginning to show signs of age. Walls are lined with banks of wooden lockers operated with a wristband, with several hairdryers and tissues on a nearby vanity desk. Your showers are around the corner and contain just shampoo dispensers; you can use one of four private changing rooms to change.
A double-height barn-like building with original beams, beige-tiled floors and windows facing peaceful gardens, contains the 21-metre swimming pool which is long enough to do laps. Despite how busy the pool area was on our visit, we loved swimming in the dappled sunlight afforded by floor-to-ceiling windows. A rectangular 15-metre hydro-pool has three swan jets and several bubble stations. A round Jacuzzi with room for four sits in the corner overlooking the grounds. There are plenty of cushioned Adirondack chairs and recliners to relax on, and the area is dotted with plants.
Bannatyne Colchester - Kingsford Park has three thermal rooms: a hot wooden sauna with two rows of seating for around 20 people; a hot and steamy steam room with red mosaic-tiled benches accommodating 16; and a similarly-sized, warm aromatherapy room. All three rooms were wonderfully hot on our visit.
The spa itself, accessed via the café, is peaceful and chic, with polished parquet flooring and white walls emphasising original features. Head to the Elemis boutique to browse products or book a free Skin Lab test. Beneath the staircase is a manicure and pedicure station with white polo-mint modern chairs and bowls of white flowers. Sit on one of the chairs by the wall and wait to be collected for your treatment. The spa has two relaxation rooms: one a charming drawing room with blacked out windows and 11 warm tepidarium beds; the other a darker room with four oval water beds. Drift away listening to soothing spa music. You can also book a private rasul for £20 extra on your spa day.
Active spa-goers should avail themselves of the health club's two exercise studios, where over 20 classes are run daily, and well-equipped gym.
Tell us about the treatments
We enjoyed an Elemis Superfood Pro-Radiance Facial (55 minutes, £74).
My therapist, Charlotte, led me up to one of several treatment rooms which was bathed in soothing purple light. She left me to slip under the towels and a warm blanket, returning to begin the facial.
After a double cleanse using Elemis Balance products -- one oily; one foamy -- Charlotte applied a scrub, which she removed with hot mitts. Massaging my face, Charlotte then turned my head to each side to stretch out any tension in my neck and jawline. I found her pressure firm, confident and deeply relaxing.
Charlotte pasted on a cooling superfood mask and, as this set, gave me a slow, intense head massage which calmed my mind. After removing the mask with hot mitts, Charlotte applied an eye serum and moisturiser. To mark the end of the treatment, she gently pressed my body through the blanket, bringing me back to the room, before leaving me to rise and re-robe. Charlotte brought me a cup of water and pointed me in the direction of the relaxation room.
I was impressed with the results of the facial: even though I usually go for anti-ageing, my entire face looked glowing and smooth, as though my skin had received a powerful shot of goodness.
Bannatyne Colchester - Kingsford Park offers a range of facials, massages and body treatments with both Bannatyne and Elemis products. There are special treatments for men and teens; alternative therapies such as reflexology, floatation bed therapy, reiki and Hopi ear candles; and beauty treatments including OPI nails and make-overs.
Our lunch was pre-booked for 1.30pm and we arrived promptly into the light-filled atrium, still wearing our robes. The menu offered a choice of healthy cooked meals, salads, sandwiches and paninis served with chips, as well as a good choice of puddings.
Our halloumi salad was simple and fresh but the vegan pasta dish with hummus and mushrooms was a little unusual. Plenty of people around us were ordering wine and Prosecco.
We loved / we didn't love
The revamped spa is rather beautiful: Minimalist, stylish but comfortable and welcoming; staff were very helpful.
The tepidarium relaxation room: We were very happy dozing away on warm beds.
Thai chi on the lawn beneath the cherry blossom: The varied exercise classes are a great addition to a spa day. You can do almost anything, from high impact to gentle yoga, then enjoy lunch and a spa treatment.
We didn't love
The changing rooms were clean but looked gloomy and, like the pool area, could use an update.
Who do you think would like it?
Active spa-istas: Spend the morning in the gym or doing a class and the afternoon enjoying some well-earned R&R in the spa.
Mums and teens: Bannatyne Colchester - Kingsford Park has a great treatment menu for 13-17-year-olds, and superb facials for less bouncy skin. Bring dad along to enjoy the male treatments, too.
Couples or close friends: We saw many friends catching up in the Jacuzzi, doing a class together, and lunching. Couples can book the private rasul and a double treatment room, then find a quiet spot in the garden to relax.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded Bannatyne Colchester - Kingsford Park a Good Spa Guide Bubble Rating of 4 Bubbles. The all-white spa is a stylish and peaceful oasis in a busy health club. It offers good quality, affordable treatments; fresh and tasty food; and pleasant spaces to relax. Large windows bring the outdoors in, and the gardens come into their own in the summer.
An on site a la carte restaurant, open to all, and extensive grounds that guests can walk.
Monday - Friday 09.00 to 20.00
Saturday - Sunday 09.00 to 19.00