Transport yourself to the shores of Thailand at Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa.
A small slice of Thailand is not what you’d expect to find in The New Forest village of Brockenhurst, best known for its pony-filled heathland, romantic woodland walks, and quintessentially British pubs, but that is exactly what you will find at SenSpa….
THE PACKING EDIT
SenSpa is an all-singing, all-dancing spa. An impressive 22,000 square foot spa, boasting 18 treatment rooms, the extensive treatment list is carried out by the expert hands of Thai-trained therapists. All guests are welcome to make use of the 14-metre pool with views overlooking the Zen Garden which subtly nods to the Thai influences. The pool is flanked by a steam room and sauna to further aid relaxation. There is a Fitness Suite, with personal trainers to put you through your paces, and the Thai Temple room accommodates the mind and body classes if you fancy a spot of Pilates or meditation.
However, the true magic happens in the separate wellness centre – an additional charge, but well worth the upgrade. There’s a cavernous hydrotherapy pool lined with candles and complete with an invigorating jacuzzi. There are also four thermal rooms of varying temperatures to be enjoyed at your own leisure. While away some time at The Herbal Sauna and the rather bohemian Crystal Steam Room, as well as the Laconium and Tepidarium, where you can lay on heated loungers. Hardier spa-goers can make use of the enlivening ice shower and experience showers. Choose from warm tropical rainfall or a refreshing cold sea storm to awaken you from an afternoon slump.
There’s a definite nod to the sunnier shores of Thailand with treatment rooms in a mellow yellow hue, mosaic-panelling, lots of orchids and potted plants, and stained wood. Whilst the décor could do with a little modernising, it authentically mirrors a traditional Thai spa, and the treatments themselves are excellent, carried out with finesse.
You’re spoiled for choice with treatments – body scrubs, mud treatments and ESPA facials – however, it’s the impressively extensive massage menu where the spa truly shines.
I opted for the Sen Vitalising Massage. All too often massages merely whisper at muscles but this revitalising massage, with a delightfully zesty oil, got to work on coaxing deep-rooted knots into submission. Anyone who’s experienced a Thai massage knows this is the one to opt for if you want serious results: 60 minutes later – after being suitably pummelled and preened – my shoulders felt like they had dropped two inches.
Whilst there are ample hotels in Brockenhurst that beckon, staying at one of Careys Manor’s bedrooms means you can retreat back to your room in your prerequisite fluffy robe. Opt for a Manor Suite, ensconced in the 18th century manor house, with quaint country home features. A neutral palette of muted greys is punctuated with four-poster beds, flocked wallpaper, and plush tartan cushions. Meanwhile, the garden rooms have a more contemporary design, with access to the surrounding gardens. All rooms have robes and slippers (ready to hotfoot it to the spa) and White Company products mean you need little convincing to indulge in a pre-dinner soak.
With three on-site restaurants, Cambium is the jewel in the crown offering laid-back fine dining, with an impressive wine offering to boot. The menu centres around modern British cuisine using local produce, like New Forest lamb, Isle Of Wight tomatoes, and locally sourced cheeses. Breakfast at Cambium is a relaxed, elegant affair; a buffet of cereals, fruits, and pastries is supplemented by a menu of poached eggs and full English breakfasts to fuel brisk walks in the surrounding heathland.