Say ‘spa weekend’ and I’m all ears. I will be the first to raise my hands and say that I am spa junkie. I suppose there are worse things to be right? I love the idea of a little weekend getaway somewhere relaxing. Living in London can take its toll – it’s always busy, there’s pollution and it’s LOUD. The idea of escaping to the countryside for a bit of R&R and fresh air did not sound bad at all so when I had the opportunity to visit Carey’s Manor and SenSpa in the New Forest last weekend, I booked my train tickets faster than you could blink an eye. I have been to SenSpa before which I talked about HERE and this made me even more excited to return because I knew what was waiting for me. Cue: PURE BLISS.
A bit of a background story – Carey’s Manor is situated in Brockenhurst, in the New Forest (Hampshire) which is a quite and peaceful little village located about an hour and a half from London. It’s really easy to get to – simpy jump on a train from Waterloo and you are there within no time. The hotel and spa are only an 8-minute walk from the station.
SenSpa is an award-winning spa situated attached to Carey’s Manor. The hotel is very quaint – think country house or manor. There are three restaurants on site so you really never have to leave. I mean, with a spa, restaurants and comfort why would you? The only thing you might want to do while visiting is take a walk in the New Forest – there are plenty of trails that you can follow if you fancy a countryside walk. Each of the three restaurants also has a very different vibe – you have freshly sourced and delicious British fare at Cambium, healthy Thai at Zen Garden and fine French dining at Le Blaireau Brasserie. All of which are delicious!
The rooms are nice and big at Carey’s Manor as well as being light and airy. Each of them looks out onto the garden so no matter what if you look out your window you can enjoy some greenery. What I loved about the rooms as well as that they are spacious. So you get the feeling of spaciousness of being in the countryside but also that very same spaciousness echoed in the rooms.
The staff at Carey’s Manor are also very thoughtful and considerate. That counts a lot in today’s world where you can live an entire existence online and really don’t have to interact with anyone at all. It’s nice to go somewhere and remember that service is important! A bottle of prosecco was waiting for me in my room upon arrival which was very welcome after the train journey and how every R&R holiday should start!
Along with it were some lovely products from SenSpa who as a spa, also have their own brand which are all-natural and organic. I’ve tried their products previously and they are really lovely – made with care from essential oils and natural essences.
The fabulous thing about staying at a spa hotel over the weekend is the robes. Now you may wonder why I would be so excited by the robes but the fact is that you can wear these throughout the hotel as well as in the Zen Garden restaurant. Strolling around in a robe all weekend – the frazzled woman’s dream!
Which brings me on to the Zen Garden restaurant which serves up healthy Thai fare. This is the only restaurant on site where you can eat lunch in your robe, as it is adjoining to the spa itself. This is where I began the lovely weekend – with a two-course lunch. I had the pad thai of course – one of my favourite dishes! The food is really fresh and also tastes authentically Thai – extra bonus points for that.
After lunch I headed to none other than the spa! I had a Thai massage booked in right after lunch which was amazing and so, so needed. The massage took place on a futon on the floor so that the masseuse could stretch me, walk on me (really!) and pull me in every which way. I love Thai massages because they incorporate stretching, which is so important but that we often forget to do. Hunched over every day on computers, our bodies get so easily out of wack and sometimes we just need a good stretch to remind us that our ligaments and tendons need to be looked after. My Thai massage was so incredibly good that after being thoroughly stretched and massaged, I could no longer feel any tension at all in my shoulders. The gristly horrible knotted feeling I had in my shoulders before the massage had magically melted! The treatments at SenSpa are amazing – most of them are based on Thai techniques and as the spa is award-winning it should come to no surprise that the treatments are also truly amazing. Now, if only I could go back every week!
Once my treatment was finished it was time to take advantage of the SenSpa spa facilities which include an amazing hydrotherapy pool, steam rooms, health and experience showers (that pummel and massage you) and a fabulous herbal sauna. I love saunas and the herbal sauna is amazing at SenSpa. The temperature is just right and I could feel my tension melting the moment I laid down. Because you can’t take a camera inside the spa facilities I didn’t take any photos but you can see more from my previous post HERE.
The hydrotherapy pool is amazing as well – with giant jet streams that pummel your muscles and help you relax. I also like doing hot/cold therapy in spas to help increase circulation and get my skin glowing. I simply alternate between the sauna and a cold shower or ice application and then back to the sauna again. It will make you feel amazing!
With all that spa’ing it’s easy to get hungry! I topped off the day at Cambium, an onsite restaurant with gorgeous food. By the time I arrived, I was relaxed and hungry and ready to dig into the three course menu. For a starter I had the roast duck, pickled carrot and kumquat dish which was amazing – perfectly cooked.
For the main I had venison which was simply melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I don’t usually eat that much meat so when I go somewhere nice I like to indulge in it! The venison was accompanied by red cabbage and swede which complemented it perfectly. The portions are just enough so that you can really enjoy what you are eating and eat slowly. The restaurant also has an extensive wine list including organic and fair trade wines.
For dessert I had an apple crumble with vanilla and cinnamon ice cream that was so good I think I could have eaten another three portions. But again, this is about savouring each dish and eating to enjoy slowly.
After dinner I was so content and relaxed that I couldn’t wait to get back into the room to take a bubble bath with the SenSpa Nourishing Body Wash and then snuggle between the crisp white sheets of my big comfortable bed and head straight to dreamland!
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