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“Oasis of calm!”

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Lifehouse Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Thorpe le Soken
Reviewed April 21, 2013

I have just spent the night at this fantastic hotel and spa. The room was brilliant, very comfortable and overlooked a small pond. The evening meal was delicious, I chose chicken supreme followed by chocolate fondant and I had cheese and biscuits sent up later in the evening, everything was beautifully presented. The spa treatments were luxurious although a tad pricey.The piece de resitance though, was the superb thermal pool facitiies, the sauna, steam and salt rooms were brilliant, as was the hot tub. Although the were many cars in the car pack on arrival, I thought the hotel and spa were going to be packed, this certainly was not the case, my whole stay was a peaceful, calm and pampering experience, I will definately be returning!

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Andrea J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,195 - 1,201 of 1,755 reviews

Reviewed April 18, 2013

The hotel and resturant are fabulous. The treatments are a bit expensive but enjoyable. The gorunds are really worth wondering around. The rooms are spacious and comfortable. They used to have some smart reclining electric relaxer chairs which were fab but they seem to have gone which I think is a real shame. There are not enough relaxing rooms with comfy seats around the complex so you do feel that you have to spend spare time in your room as the small relax room and bar are always over run with people.

Room Tip: Ask for a ground floor with a patio if going in the summer months.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Debra S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2013

A friend and I had been looking for a spa break and this hotel had the best reviews for the price we wanted to spend and the maximum distance we wanted to travel. And we were happy with what we found.

On arrival, check in was pretty quick, and we had someone immediately show us around the place and to our room, which had plenty of space, and was just like the website pictures. Everything is very contemporary and well decorated. Anyone who expects a hotel room of any kind not to have various marks on carpets/walls etc is expecting too much I think - things happen with guests, and we didn't think there was anything wrong with our room at all.

We did find a sock under one of the beds that had been missed from a previous guest though! We were provided with fresh towels on our second day, which was nice, but less good for the environment, or their laundry bill! They also didn't remake our beds, although we had tidied them a little ourselves, and tea/coffee etc was restocked well. Overall, no issues at all with cleanliness. The shower was spacious and lovely, as was the rest of the bathroom. We loved our room. There was also a unique kind of safe in the form of a lockable drawer which we thought was really clever, and gives ample space for at least 2 handbags.

Towels are in abundance here, with plenty of towel bins when you're done, so everything stays fairly tidy. The hydrospa (jacuzzi area) and pool had plenty of people in, but it never really felt overcrowded as there was a lot of changeover as people spread themselves throughout the hotel. The salt inhalation room and sauna were great, and there were some little 2 person footbaths in front of benches which were lovely to sit at and watch the world go by. The tropical showers are great, although I think you have to be brave to try anything but the tropical setting! The only thoughts we had for improvements to the spa area was to provide a water dispenser with cups near the hot rooms. There was a water fountain, but it was across the other side of the room, and if you're perhaps feeling faint, it would be much more ideal to have it closer. Also, water fountains are not always that hygenic. The other thing was the level of surface water in the hydrospa area particularly, which made the floor a little slippery, but also, stagnant water is never great to walk through and not ideal in your slippers! These are only small things though and didn't impact our stay at all.

Everywhere is lovely and warm, including the pool, which made it much more relaxed - you didn't feel like you had to keep moving in order to stay warm! The only places less warm are the restaurant, which is still a great temperature, and some of the ourdoor corridors which are expectedly chillier.

The treatment was wonderful - I had a full body massage, and it totally didn't feel like 1hr 15mins! My therapist was really accomodating about areas for focus and making sure I was comfortable. I have also never laid in such soft towels! So lovely! And the bedding in our room was lovely and soft too.

We loved that there was so many great places to sit and relax around the hotel, although perhaps my favourite was the 'chatterfree zone'. It was dimly lit, but with reading lamps, and really comfy full length lounger chairs and sofas. Apart from the odd person snoring (bless!), and people who decided to have a chat in there (who I asked to be quiet or leave - and leave they did!), it was so relaxing, with blankets and music.

The spa cafe with the juice bar was nice to sit in, but food takes a while since it comes from downstairs via a hatch, and my friend said her juice was less juice, and more smoothie, which is really still not a complaint, more of an observation.

We didn't use the gym but on peering through the window, it looked pretty good. We did do an exercise class though - Bokwa - which was fun and easy to get into for us - we go to the gym regularly and are used to classes being quite difficult since they're filled with super fit people! But these classes really are for all levels. The instructor was really nice, enthusiastic and bouncy - which I think is just what classes need!

I have read some of the reviews about the food and understand where some of them are coming from, but here is the deal...
At breakfast, some of the fruit provided is fresh, some of it is either from tins or frozen. It's true that the frozen/tinned stuff isn't as attractive and doesn't taste like fresh stuff does, but it's acceptable, and if you don't think so, don't have it! We didn't realise there would be a full English available, but we found this to be good, there is a small selection of cereals and yoghurt, soya and regular milk, apple, orange, or cranberry juice, croissants, jam, toast, meats and cheeses. My friend loved the toaster - the one that travels your bread through and sends it back toasted! And it was really quick in comparison to some I've seen. I don't understand why other guests weren't offered coffee/tea since we had this offered as we were seated each day, and it was on our table before we returned with our breakfasts. There were plenty of staff around to ask for things too - I asked for maple syrup each day.

Now onto dinner...the menu is relatively limited and quite posh, so if you're looking for bog standard hearty english meals, you will be disappointed. We found the food excellent, and the chef was able to accomodate all the requests we made - my friend is a vegan, and the chef adapted and recreated vegetarian dishes for her at no extra cost. We found the wait staff friendly and helpful, and nothing was too much trouble. I never saw even one of them with rolling eyes or a weary expression, they all seem very dedicated to the guests. If you eat a lot, you may feel the portions are not enough. My thought for you is that you're probably eating too much anyway, and we found that we really couldn't manage dessert on the first night and could probably have done without it on the second, but had it anyway!

Throughout, the staff were friendly and helpful, we had everything we needed and were promptly provided with anything else. The atmosphere was lovely and relaxing - I felt relaxed just seeing other people relaxed and wandering in their robes and slippers. There are little things that could be done here and there, but for a place that isn't 5 star, it was perfect. I am sad to have had to leave, although I think if I was there a third night, I would've gone out to eat somewhere else. The dining experience was faultless, although quite pricey, but sometimes you just want choices that are a bit more down to earth. I absolutely recommend this hotel, and my friend and I are already looking at coming back next year!

Room Tip: Mulberry rooms are the quietest since they are away from the main hub of activities. We stayed at th...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank k1girl41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2013

We went to the Lifehouse on a 2 night package deal (Sunday - Tuesday) at the end of March.
We arrived around noon, but our room wasn't ready till 3. We knew that they only guarantee check-in by 3pm, but we got the impression, they just didn't want to let people use the hydro- and thermal spa facilities earlier. Check-in was quick, but quite impersonal.
Room was modern and clean, but there is nowhere near enough storage space if you want to unpack your bags; we didn't mind though. What we did mind, however, was that even on the second day our room wasn't made up before 3pm, which also meant that complimentary tea, coffee and water was replenished quite late.
We didn't want any spa treatments and only used pool, sauna and steam rooms. We had the pool largely to ourselves. Sauna and steam rooms weren't too busy either. However, there were nowhere near enough loungers on the busier Sunday afternoon to relax. Loungers are also not very comfortable. Towels were on the small side and some of them not very clean and beyond their useful life. Jacuzzi was quite packed on the busier Sunday, but much better and pretty empty during the week. I don't think I would want to be at Lifehouse's thermal and hydro facilities, when the hotel is well booked, as I don't think this would be relaxing. In general, we would have liked a separate, comfy and quiet area to relax after the sauna/steam room, but this concept doesn't seem to exist in this country, at least not in this price category.
Dinner on the first night was included, otherwise it would have been quite pricey for what it was. We found the quality of food and service ok, albeit the portions were a bit on the small side. On the second night, we went to Harry's Bar in town and we can recommended this place (cheaper and more on the plate). Breakfast was a bit disappointing. Choice was ok, albeit not 4 star. It felt like a canteen and service couldn't cope with replenishing and clearing tables. With half our fellow guest in bathrobes or gym kit, I don't think that helped to lift the atmosphere.
Overall, given that our gym has a pool, steam rooms and a jacuzzi and there is not much else to do in the nearby area, I don't think we would go to Lifehouse again.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank 2Saxons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2013

My boyfriend and I had a very relaxing stay here. We had a 2 night package which included breakfast both mornings and an evening meal on the first night. The room was lovely and clean, it had a super king size bed which I had my best sleep for years. Everything in there you needed.Two bottle of water was left in your room and tea and coffee. The room was looking out to the gardens, lovely view.
We felt the treatments were over priced, shame they didn't do a special on them. The food in the restaurant was quite expensive and not much of a menu, but what we did have was really tasty and couldn't fault it at all. The breakfast was awful, I ordered an omelette on the first morning and all you could taste was salt, it was not edible and my boyfriend had the cooked breakfast. The scrambled egg was the same as the omelette and full of salt, as were the sausages. The next morning I just had fruit and toast. There were other things to eat so you wouldn't go hungry but would nice to have had a poached egg or a more healthy and tasty cooked breakfast. It was hard to believe it was the same restaurant we had eaten in the night before.
The swimming pool area was kept lovely and clean and always clean towels ready for you. The staff were really friendly and were always helpful. It was only the breakfast and the cost of the treatments that let the hotel down, everything else was lovely and we really enjoyed it.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank WendysLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2013

We came here on an overnight spa package which was excellent value for money.

We arrived early before check-in and were able to use the facilities. The spa area is nice and clean with lots of natural daylight which was great as it was a sunny day. We had a full body massage which was excellent and I found myself drifting off a few times, it was very relaxing indeed.

Dinner in the restaurant was good, and service was fine even though it was quite busy. They first sat us down under a flickering light and when we asked to move tables they accommodated this straight away. Wine was quite expensive.

Breakfast next morning was fine too, they don’t put a menu out for the a la carte on each table so do make sure ask to see this if you want to try something different from the buffet.

Our room was clean and spacious with excellent shower. However we had a terrible sleep because there was a creaking noise above us throughout the night, it could have been the radiators but it was very disturbing.

I’ve seen a few previous reviews where people had extra items added to their final bill, this also happened to us and we charged extra for a few items over dinner. They rectified this straight away but it is worth giving your bill a good check before you pay.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Nisha_sun_worshiper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2013

Wonderful couple of days here with my other half. We arrived quite late at night but the staff were very accommodating.The room was simple but great and we had doors which opened right out on to the gardens.

There is a very laid back attitude throughout the hotel; guests wondering around in robes etc which really makes you feel like you're there to relax.

The breakfast was fab, not as good as some other hotel breakfast buffets I've had, but still plenty to choose from. One of the reviews below that said there was only 'tinned fruit' doesn't know what they're talking about; it was all fresh.

The spa was good but busy during the day, and we were there during the week so I imagine it's even busier at the weekend. The best time to go was after 6pm as day spa visitors all leave. The facilities are open until 10pm and we went late there one night and it was all very tastefully lit up and we were the only ones there. The later you go, the better! We were there for just a few days to relax, but it was clear some were there because they were very serious about the spa and healthy living and all that what-not.

The grounds were beautiful and well worth an hour's stroll. The hotel provide wellies at the front desk which is a nice touch.

The only reason it's not getting five stars is because of a few bugbears. The service at breakfast was painfully slow. Two out of three mornings I actively had to seek out someone to bring us tea and coffee. Also some of the plates and bowls hadn't been washed very well.
In the room there were a few scratches and scuff marks on the walls, but all in all these minor complaints did not affect the enjoyment of our stay.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank NJ26
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 - $283 (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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