Why fly off to Thailand when you can enjoy authentic Thai flavours at the New Forest’s SenSpa. The zen gardens, Thai food, therapists trained in Thailand and Thai décor create an authentic experience. The pools and thermal experiences are extensive; there’s a huge spa pool, whirlpool, herbal sauna, crystal steam room, ice room, laconium, tepidarium… we could go on! There are gentle nods to the spa in the attractive red-brick hotel which has two Thai Buddhas guarding the entrance.
- XXL robes available
- 19 treatment rooms with two double rooms
- Rasul mud room
- Relaxation room
- Quiet room
- Hydrotherapy pool
- Herbal sauna
- Crystal steam room
- 14m swimming pool
- Experience showers
- Ice room
- Hammam room
- Vichy showers
- Thai Temple Studio with classes
- SenSpa boutique
- AlphaSphere Deluxe
- SenSpa Natural Bath and Body
- Willow Organic and Natural Skincare
- Eminence Organic Skincare
- SKN-RG Organic and Natural skincare
Our Spa Spy review
Careys Manor is a red-brick manor-house hotel in the heart of the New Forest.
You can easily lose a day or more in SenSpa, a sumptuous and authentic Thai-themed retreat. The spa has extensive thermal experiences, soothing relaxation rooms, and indulgent treatments at the expert hands of therapists trained in Thailand. Two Buddha statues signal the entrance to the spa.
What's on offer?
The Spa Manager, Sean, warmly greeted us and led us through to the comfortable reception area. This has sofas, a spa shop selling SenSpa's own range of products, and Thai accents, including a giant wooden elephant. Here, we completed consultation forms, sipped Thai tea, used a cold towel infused with lemongrass, and received a wrist-band to access the hydrotherapy area.
The changing rooms have high ceilings draped with Asian fabrics and two shelving units resplendent with towels. You'll find plastic sandals and a robe in your roomy black wooden locker; you need a £1 coin for access, or ask at reception for a token.
Two private changing cubicles have saloon-style swing doors and there are two slatted benches by which to change. The showers are small but are equipped with SenSpa Nourishing shampoo, conditioner and body wash scented with jasmine, cedarwood and ylang. The vanity area is well lit and equipped with eight powerful hairdryers, SenSpa's Nourishing hand and body lotion, and plenty of cotton wool.
The thermal facilities at SenSpa span two floors. The wet area has a 14-metre ozone-treated swimming pool and a large rectangular Jacuzzi. A skylight lets in the passing sunshine, while slick dark tiles and twinkling lights in the ceiling add a modern touch. We began our spa journey by doing several lengths in the pool, which we had to ourselves.
We used our wristband to enter the impressive thermal suite. The hydro-pool has swan-neck jets, submerged loungers and a bubbly whirlpool, and we spent a good amount of time relaxing in here. We also spent some time in the hot steam room with its large amethyst crystal at the centre and purple-hued lighting. The herbal sauna was delicately-scented on our visit. In the experience showers, press a button for your choice of Sea, Ice or Tropical Storm, complete with appropriate soundtrack. We loved Storm after a long session in the sauna, complete with sounds of thunder and lightning.
On the upper level are a laconium, tepidarium -- with curved, mosaic-tiled beds -- rhassoul, hammam and 14 treatment rooms. The large relaxation room is well stocked with glossy magazines. Help yourself to juice, tea, coffee and water, or order a snack from staff as they pass by.
Fancy a snooze? Head to the Quiet Room and snuggle under a blanket on a comfortable lounger. SenSpa also has the AlphaSphere Deluxe, a series of multi-sensory relaxation pods that you can book in 25-minute slots.
A regular schedule of classes, including yoga, Pilates, and Zumba, takes place in the naturally lit Thai Temple Studio. SenSpa also has a gym with personal trainers on hand.
Tell us about the treatments
We tried the SKN-RG Wave Facial (90 minutes, £110), a new treatment going on the menu in November 2018 and designed specially for SenSpa.
My therapist, Lucie, met me in the spa reception and took me to a dimly lit treatment room with Thai cotton drapes over a treatment bed, and a shower in the corner.
Lucie invited me to sit on a chair so that she could enquire about any concerns and talk me through the treatment: this new facial uses sound frequency tuning forks. She left the room so that I could get comfortable on the treatment bed, lying face up.
Lucie began the treatment by placing chakra crystals on my stomach and behind my head to clear my body and mind. She used tuning forks on my feet, knees, forearms, shoulders, head and ears; the vibrations increased in intensity as she moved up my body.
The facial began with a pre-cleanse using a flash balm containing aloe vera to soothe my skin and remove any make-up. Lucie cleansed my skin using a gel before adding a clay-based mask which she expertly applied using two brushes. Containing iron, magnesium, zinc and copper, the cold substance oddly smelled just like marzipan and reminded me of Christmas.
After wiping off the mask with hot towels, Lucie performed a very uplifting facial massage, paying attention to the delicate skin around my eye sockets: take that, wrinkles.
A cellular revitalising toner followed by an eye elixir, night cream and lip elixir, all from SKN-RG, ended the facial. As Lucie poured me some water, I had a sneaky feel of my skin and was impressed at how soft it was, particularly my forehead, which is usually quite dry.
SenSpa at Careys Manor offers various therapies that focus on relaxation. The spa has a good range of scrubs and wraps, hammam massages using a heated bed, and massages for stress relief and detoxing. The facial menu is very enticing. SenSpa also offers specific treatments for men and mums-to-be, and you can slather yourself with mud in the rhassoul.
If you're visiting the spa for the day, you can enjoy a two-course Thai lunch in the SenSpa Zen Garden restaurant as part of your package. We ate happily in our robes and tucked into a light and crunchy papaya salad followed by a chicken Pad Thai which was as good as anything we have tasted in Thailand.
Careys Manor has two other restaurants: AA Rosette Cambrium, under head chef Alistair Craig, is highly regarded for its innovative British food using local, seasonal ingredients. There is also a French-inspired bar and restaurant within the hotel grounds called Le Blaireau.
We ate at Cambrium and enjoyed the fish of the day to start followed by spiced pollock with red quinoa, cucumber, yoghurt and onion bhaji, which was a light and spicy triumph.
We loved / we didn't love
Our treatment: This Spa Spy loves being a guinea pig for new treatments; once written into the treatment menu, the SKN:RG Wave Facial should prove popular.
The food: From traditional Thai dishes to a sumptuous afternoon tea, or gourmet dishes in the Cambrium restaurant, you can't fail to eat well at Careys Manor.
The larger-than-average hydrotherapy pool: You could spend hours bubbling away admiring the Thai-inspired decor and flickering faux candles.
We didn't love
The changing rooms are in desperate need of an upgrade.
Who do you think would like it?
Solo spa-goers: SenSpa is somewhere you can curl up happily with a glossy magazine and deeply relax.
Weekend breakers: There is a lot to keep you busy at Careys Manor: relaxing in the various heat-therapy areas, walking in the New Forest, working out in the gym or taking part in an exercise class.
Peace and quiet seekers: SenSpa at Careys Manor is strictly for over 16s; you won't find young children dive-bombing in the pool or ruining your Zen.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
At Careys Manor Hotel and SenSpa, there are three dining venues open to hotel guests and members of the public alike.
Zen Garden Restaurant offers a Thai inspired menu in authentic and tranquil surroundings. Favoured by our SenSpa guests, it is the perfect way to relax and unwind during a Spa day or break!
Ten room styles available in Careys Manor Hotel, from Manor Rooms to The Manor Suite. Room rates from £189 per room per night (double occupancy).
All of the 78 rooms feature king or super king size beds and are locally sourced for exceptional quality. Each one has been handcrafted by a local supplier who understands the importance of quality workmanship.
Beds feature layers of cotton, silk and lamb’s wool, sourced from the neighbouring county of Dorset.
Weekdays: 7am - 9pm; Weekends: 7am - 8pm
Travel and Parking
Leave M27 at Junction 2 and follow signs for Fawley A326. Continue straight across 4 roundabouts. After the 4th roundabout, take the right lane on slip road signposted Lyndhurst A35. Follow A35 through Lyndhurst then follow A337 signposted Lymington/Brockenhurst. Careys Manor is located near the village of Brockenhurst.
There is free parking on site.
The nearest mainline station is Brockenhurst just a short walk from the hotel and is well served by regular direct train services from London Waterloo (90 minutes),the Midlands and the North.
Careys Manor is located less than 20 miles from both Southampton & Bournemouth Airports and is 1 hour and 15 minutes from London, Heathrow Airport
Spa Reception - Access via ramp to spa reception
Massage / Facials - Ground floor treatment rooms are accessed via ramp from spa reception. Massage couches can be hydraulically lowered to wheelchair height or lower. Please inform the spa when you book so that they can reserve an appropriate room and allow extra therapist time or arrange additional assistance.
Manicures/Pedicures - The manicure room is situated up several stairs which is inaccessible to wheelchairs and challenging for guests who struggle with stairs. Please advise the spa reservationist when you book so that they can reserve an appropriate room for you to have your manicure or pedicure.
Swimming Pool - Accessed via spa reception on the ground floor. Hoist is available. Please give prior notice so that trained staff are on hand to assemble the hoist and provide assistance.
Hydrotherapy pool - On ground floor in hydrotherapy hall and accessed via swimming pool. Please give prior notice so that trained staff are on hand to assemble the hoist if required and provide assistance
Hotel accessibility information can be found here: https://www.careysmanor.com/find_us.html