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“The devil is in the detail”

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Lifehouse Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Thorpe le Soken
Reviewed April 4, 2013

I had a great time at the Lifehouse Spa. The food was very good, especially the fish dishes. And the spa itself was great and very relaxing.
However, the service failed in a few 'small' details that, all added, stained my good impression of the place:

- upon arrival, the lady at the check-in desk spoke extremely quickly making it hard for me to understand. I've got a hearing disorder and English is not my first language, as she should have noticed from my accent, but still she didn't make an effort to speak a bit slower.

- directions to the rooms and restaurant are not very good, There could be more and clearer signs.

- breakfast food was just average and every day they ran out of something (orange fruit one day, scrambled eggs the other) and wouldn't quickly refill.

- on the first evening we've ordered drinks, starters and main meals and, whilst the first two came in quickly, the main meals took forever to arrive and then I started noticing that people who had arrived after me, were already being served. When confronted with this the server came up with a very poor excuse. Would have done better by just apologising and saying she had forgotten our orders.

- on the second day, at lunch time, drinks were forgotten.

- getting the meals bills right was also a struggle.

But if you can overlook that, the place is clean and well maintained and they even pick you up and then drop you off at the local train station.
There is a big and very nice garden with lots of little lakes and water streams.
Staff are generally very nice and helpful.
And most of all, the spa facilities are great.

All in all, it was a very good experience.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Irene_Melo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,188 - 1,194 of 1,738 reviews

Reviewed April 3, 2013

Me and my boyfriend stayed for one night over the Easter weekend. The place was pretty much fully booked up, but the spa area with the pool, hydrotherapy pool, sauna etc wasn't really full whenever we went. This may have been as people were having lunch/breakfast when we chose to go. Because of this there were plenty of places to lounge around before we were able to go to our room at 3pm.

The room was clean, modern and well equipped with lockable drawer, snack/drinks tray and kettle, hair dryer and even a set of ghd hair straighteners. The programmable shower gave the perfect water temperature - I want one in my house! The bed was huge and comfortable.

We managed to get a couples massage due to a cancellation, and it was lovely - a proper full body massage by a couple of very nice ladies. The room was comfortable and low-lit so it was quite soporific. The post-massage relaxation area was a nice touch, with a huge bed/futon to lounge on for up to an hour after.

The hotel/spa is set in 130 acres of land and it looked like a good place for walks, but due to the weather turning rubbish whenever we were free to go out we couldn't appreciate it. Bikes can be rented from reception to explore, which we may do if we return when it's nice out.

Negatives:
- Check in took ages as there were only 2 people on reception during the big rush at 11.30 and they had a lot to deal with.
- Room availability time wasn't made clear to us on the phone - I may have misheard but I was sure they said it would be free from 11am and not 3pm. I also heard someone else say this so I don't think I'm not alone here.
- Lunch wasn't good, and it was expensive. My caesar salad had big clumps of dressing on it, but at least it tasted ok. My boyfriend's burger was burnt while his chips were undercooked, and when he asked for another it was the same story. We couldn't be bothered to send it back again. Dinner was much better (dessert was amazing!) but if it wasn't included in the package we may have considered eating elsewhere due to the impression left by lunch.
- The room was warm which was nice as it was freezing outside, but was a bit too warm - it made for quite disturbed sleep and as the radiator wasn't even on, there was no way to turn it down. It seems to be centrally controlled.
- Breakfast was average buffet fare and was fine, but as others have said the pancakes are cold, dense and not freshly prepared. Don't bother ordering them.

It wasn't perfect, but because we still had a relaxing and enjoyable time we would still go back. The staff were all friendly and really helpful, and the pick up/drop off service they offer is so convenient. I read in one of the other reviews that they even drove them to a local restaurant - I think if we return we would definitely try this option.

Room Tip: 2nd floor rooms have a bath/shower combination. We were in room 43 which had a nice view of a pond r...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank hanam0geraed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2013

We arrived early and checked in, hoping to avoid the queues at 3! Our room was the last to be ready at 3.15. Did notice while w were waiting to check in that other guests were not vacating rooms till gone half 11, maybe this had a knock on effect. Massive queues in reception the two staff doing their best in the circumstances, they had to use the staff from the juice bar to show people to their rooms. Easter weekend, fully booked. needed more staff.

Spa area clean, would be cleaner if more people used the laundry baskets for wet towels instead of expecting the staff to do it for them! Couple petting in the spa areas very off putting, maybe notices needed. Reserved sunbeds but nobody using them!!

we didn't use the restaurant other than for breakfast which was fine, we got there at 8.30, , all food hot. Young staff but very friendly. Bar was very busy, had to wait a while to be served at both lunchtime and evening.
Checkout was far easier as we checked out before breakfast and just handed in our room key at 11 but once again massive queues blocking the reception area. overall a good stay.

Room Tip: we had a top priced room and would have expected a better view for the price, our room looked over t...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank kitten42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2013

I have just returned from the Lifehouse where My Mum, daughter and myself have spent the day. We purchased the pamper and prosecco for £59, for this you get a 55 minute treatment, use of all the facilities, two course lunch with a glass of prosecco.
This was my 2nd visit, my a first for my Mum and Daughter.
We had a marvellous day, treatments were superb, lunch delicious and the facilities perfect.
For the price paid this was a bargain pampering day, we all want to go back.
I have not stayed over night so cannot comment on the rooms or breakfast but if you are looking for a very reasonable priced spa day, then give it a go, you won't be dissappointed.
Ignore reviews about one size slippers etc, some one will always moan.
Will be booking back in to take hubby for his birthday

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank TheBookFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2013

Overall good value for money which we booked through a discount website. However we had quite a few problems which the hotel should really address including the following:

- We had reserved spa slots over the phone and were told they we would receive our itinerary on the day, when we arrived we were told we had no reservations for the spa and they were fully booked. We were offered no alterative so half of our group had a spa day without any spa treatments!
- It also seemed the staff were quite happy to pass the blame on more than one occasion and there was a sense of lack of management.
- Poor breakfast arrangements.
- blood found on my tea mug in room - whilst i was drinking it!

However we had some real positives to our stay:
- Great chauffer service, we were driven too and from a local restaurant
- Spacious room and beautiful grounds
- Spontaneous circuits with a personal trainer in the gym after dropping in

Room Tip: Ground floor rooms open up to the gardens
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Dani S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2013

Spent a couple of nights here with my boyfriend on a relaxing weekend. The spa was just what we needed and spent most of our time in the sauna. Food is good, a little over priced. Would have liked to have walked in the gardens but the weather was rubbish.

Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
Thank Violentverb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2013

Arrived on March 30th with my husband to be welcomed with a smiling member of staff who parked our car, very nice as the weather was cold. Quick check in and a good explanation where every thing was, it was all very personal and not rushed. Treatment in package was a back massage, sheer bliss, best I have had at a Spa.On to our delicious and beautifully presented evening meal which really hit the spot. Turned in for the night later and the bed was huge and very comfy. I was awake early so went to the hydro pool, salt room and swimming pool,so much light everywhere it made a great start to the day. Went for an English breakfast and wow, all good yet again. Next time shall have a walk in the beautiful grounds and maybe even hire a bike from reception.
So glad to have fallen upon such a wonderful retreat. Just to mention the staff were immaculate and were lovely to speak to. Thank you Lifehouse! 5 stars from me.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Qualtime
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lifehouse Hotel & Spa

Address: Frinton Road, Thorpe le Soken CO16 0JD, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > Essex > Thorpe le Soken
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Thorpe le Soken
Price Range: $162 - $282 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Lifehouse Hotel & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 89
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Lifehouse Spa & Hotel, located in Thorpe-le-Soken, Essex, is a contemporary lifestyle spa. Only 80 minutes from London by train and set in 130 acres of grounds, Lifehouse Spa & Hotel will help you revitalise and relax in beautiful surroundings. With a selection of day and residential packages to choose from, guests can indulge in a day of pampering, or truly get away from it all with an overnight stay. With 89 bedrooms, 35 treatment rooms, a gym, exercise studio, swimming pool, sauna & steam room, thermal spa area with salt-inhalation room, relaxation area, manicure and pedicure stations,and 12 acres of listed gardens, you can do as much or as little as you like! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lifehouse Country Hotel Thorpe Le Soken
Lifehouse Hotel & Spa Thorpe Le Soken, Essex

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