Lisa Oxenham discovers a wellness retreat with a Scandi snug, treetop sauna, Nordic vibe and great value, all set in a magical forest...
Why go… A weekend in the countryside: walks, hikes, barbeques and board games. Not to mention a newly refurbished, world-class spa and cosy chalets inspired by some of the world’s most spectacular forests from icy Nordic landscapes, to the high-altitude Chilean Arenal forest. This is the ideal place to come with a group of your best girl friends – the perfect place to solve hen hell, in fact.
What’s involved…Check into the chalet (it sleeps up to six), admire the forest views, then kick off some serious R&R in the spa. In other words: drink a glass (or two) of Prosecco, slip into your fluffy robe and loll about in between treatments. There are a whopping 26 experiential areas to get involved in here – hot tubs; steam rooms; treetop saunas (10 meters high for panoramic views); ice caves; thermal suites where essential oils, salts and minerals infuse the air; an incredible heated outdoor pool and a welcoming cafe in diverse scenery to top up your energy levels. Phew! You won’t get bored and there’s genuinely something for everyone – exactly what you want for a happy hen do. Then when night falls, mooch to your wooden chalet for a slumber party. When you wake up the next morning, a brisk walk in the woodland followed by another snooze-packed day at the spa = bliss.
Dine at…Vitale Café Bar (think bright area tucked in between the facilities with fresh, healthy Mediterranean salads and tapas). Tea lights flicker and Prosecco is poured into (very!) large glasses.
When… Aqua Sana Spa is a year-round destination. We went at Christmas time when the hot treatment rooms became a welcome escape from the cold as well as our hectic lifestyles. But this retreat is equally beautiful in spring and summer when you can enjoy a swim in the heated outdoor pool and cycling through the forest when it is at its most lush and energising. Sun worshippers are also well catered for with plush loungers on the terrace – but not without slathering on a generous helping of SPF first as it’s a sun trap!
You really must…In terms of wellness, the blissfully hushed Aqua Sana is a thrill to walk into. Try the Decleor Rapid Radiance Facial for a powerful complexion overhaul or stop by the new Elemis Speed Spa for a quick-fix facial and effective results in just 20 minutes. There are massage options aplenty: the aromatherapy option is based on smooth, steady strokes, the freestyle deep tissue version gives lasting relief to tense shoulders and the anti-cellulite massage makes legs feel instantly lighter. There are also detox wraps on offer and lymphatic drainage or make use of the dry floatation treatments and massage pools to melt away knots. We really enjoyed chilling out in the mineral rooms to help with skin healing and de-stressing. It would be impossible to experience everything on offer in just one trip, but that’s part of the appeal. Like any good spa-break, you can choose what you’re in the mood for that particular day.
Stay at… There are five Aqua Sana spas but we loved Sherwood Forrest in Nottinghamshire to take in the beauty of the environment, listen to the soothing sounds of nature and unwind in the outdoor heated pool.
Book now: Aqua Sana offers spa sessions for Center Parcs guests (from £38pp), spa days (from £79pp) and spa breaks (from £199pp) so you can escape to the spa in the forest for as long as you like. For further information on the Aqua Sana Spas please visit: www.aquasana.co.uk