Spa review: Aqua Sana at Center Parcs Woburn Forest

At just an hour from London by train, this newly-opened spa makes for a perfect escape from the city

Originally posted on MSN UK, September 2014

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If the thought of a visit to Center Parcs conjures up images of non-stop activity (games of badminton, forest cycles, splashing around an overcrowded swimming pool – you know the drill) then the Aqua Sana spa at the chain’s Woburn Forest village is here to change your perception.
Tucked away just outside Flitwick, Bedfordshire – handily just an hour by train from London’s St Pancras train station – the latest Center Parcs opened in early June, and the on-site spa complex has quickly established itself as the jewel in Woburn Forest’s crown, offering an oasis of calm and relaxation away from the bustle of the village’s subtropical swimming complex, various sports courts and lively bars and restaurants.

Visitors are greeted at Aqua Sana’s private entrance by friendly spa staff, who are on hand to offer a glass of champagne and help orientate guests before they venture into the extensive facilities, which features six unique sections to explore: Fire & Ice, Blossom, Herbal, Sensory, Mineral & Gemstone and Salt. Each includes multi-sensory experiences with restorative benefits designed to clear the mind and body of stress – the lavender-infused sauna in the Herbal Spa is particularly effective.

In addition to the six spa areas, there’s plenty more to discover at Aqua Sana; soak your feet in one of the essential oil foot spas, curl up and read (or, more likely, take a nap) on one of the oh-so-comfy water beds, or else head outside to experience the pure indulgence of the outdoor pool – the juxtaposition of the heated water and the fresh forest air is instantly invigorating.

If all this isn’t enough relaxation for you, then book yourself in for a treatment at one of the spa’s 22 treatment rooms – we loved the Elemis Total Time Out, a tailor-made facial combined with a full body massage that left us serene with satisfaction, but there’s an extensive list to choose from. Despite being fully booked on the day we visited, the treatment centre was one of the most tranquil places in the entire spa, with the post-treatment chill out room providing a quiet, comfortable space in which to let the de-stressing effects of the treatment linger.

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 One day of relaxation not enough to sooth your stressed-out soul? Then check in for an overnight stay at one of the on-site spa suites. Each of the impressive hideaways features a comfy living room, cosy bedroom and sizeable bathroom complete with Elemis beauty products. There’s also a large private balcony with loungers to snuggle up on, and the best bit – a huge bathtub with views of the forest.

You’ll also find complimentary snacks to graze on in your spa suite, but on an overnight break you’ll struggle to go hungry. Lunch in the spa’s bright and airy Vitalé Café Bar is included in your stay – choose from a selection of delicious sandwiches, or hot options including fresh pasta and fishcakes). You’ll also receive a £20 voucher per person to dine at one of the village’s many restaurants.

As you climb in to your super-comfortable bed feeling relaxed, nourished and gloriously stress-free, you’ll definitely have changed your view of Center Parcs.

Spa Days at Aqua Sana in Center Parcs Woburn Forest start from £69 per person. Luxury Spa Breaks start from £249 per person per night, and include overnight accommodation in a spa suite, entry to the spa between 9am and 9pm each day, a 55 minute face and body treatment each, lunch, continental breakfast, a £20 evening meal voucher each and complimentary cycles to explore the forest. To book, visitaquasana.co.uk, or for more info visit centerparcs.co.uk.

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