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“Good but what would it be like when really busy?”

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Lifehouse Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Thorpe le Soken
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
65 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Good but what would it be like when really busy?”
Reviewed March 2, 2011

The spa - purpose built - still is so new - the curing of wood smell in the rooms was still there!
We had room 56 which is very good - ground floor tables outside near the last 2 rooms on far block - so quiet view of the lake there - much nicer than the main building at front
I would recommend this room location.

The food in the restaurant - Michelin star quality is the best way to describe it we had dinner and then lunch cause the dinner was that good
sublime and delicious and not over priced - 2 courses £30 plus about 5-6 for desert.

The presentation the service was all very good in restaurant!
The restaurant was packed so everyone else realised that it was that good

We really were shocked by how good it was - the food was on a par with tasting menu we went to recently at Galvin at window in the Hilton in London = and that was £100 per head min.

The spa was nice - the treatment rooms where intimate but cold - they said they were having problems with the heating systems.

The pool area although very nice well thought out etc - i could see as getting a bit too busy for my liking at busy periods as there is a limited amount of space
dont get me wrong its a big place - with salt steam room - steam room - and sauna
but none of them are that large considering that the spa can hold a lot of people staying over - or even members.

We had a groupon deal which entitled to stay - free 30 min spa treatment
the food was extra as were the drinks - all in all if you stayed with a booked package from the spa - the food be it dinner or lunch was included in price -
which would make it very good value - about £350 for 2 people for one night or day break

Lets mention the food again - the food was excellent the quality was outstanding.
Really ! And we get around with our food !

Ive rated the location as a bit difficult to get to if your from london - it can take 90mins tto get there as its so far into Essex - however once there its like all inclusive in some respects.

Wifi was acceptable in the rooms and free - the valet parking was very nice touch as was the bags to the room by porter all part of the excellent service they offer.

Everyone very well presented and friendly

Value ive marked down as this is a premium place most definitely.

All in all a very serious spa location the food the treatment the spa all was very very good quality.

I would visit again as as serious treat but the cost would be a factor if not on a deal
put it this way if there was a groupon deal - then i wouldnt hesitate to go again

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MoOriginal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LifehouseEssex, Manager at Lifehouse Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, March 22, 2011
Many thanks for your review on Lifehouse, as a new spa we really do appreciate all your comments and feedback.

We look forward to welcoming you to Lifehouse again soon.

Many thanks once again.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (402)
Date | Rating
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English first
St. Albans, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed February 28, 2011

I travelled with a friend using the Groupon voucher, and I have to say we had a fantastic experience!
The service was second to none, everyone was very polite and helpful.
The spa was lovely, new and modern and seemed to be particularly quiet during our stay.
We also had the Oriental Bathing Spa (their signature treatment) which was a brilliant treatment to have done together.
The grounds of the hotel are lovely, and they will lend you pink wellies if you want to go out and explore them.
The food was lovely in the restaurant and the bedroom was very nice (and the bathroom was great).
All in all, the best spa experience we have had to date! Would highly recommend it!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank br00mey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LifehouseSpaEssex, Lifehouse Marketing Team at Lifehouse Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, July 1, 2011
Many thanks for your review on Lifehouse, as a new spa we really do appreciate all your comments and feedback.

We look forward to welcoming you to Lifehouse again soon.

Many thanks once again.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
22 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2011

Booked a great February deal - 125GBP for one night at the spa including dinner, breakfast and lunch. A house treatment, bottle of champagne and chocolates!
Had an excellent experience - one of the best spas I've been to. There were a couple of things that I wanted to point out that could be improved upon to make a stay perfect.
They have done themselves proud with the staff they've hired. Every one was very friendly and polite, couldn't do enough for you. It really made a difference to the stay.
Check in was very quick and porters on hand to carry bags up to the room. The porter also explained how the shower worked and where everything was, which was useful.
We stayed in the Willow floor and the room was very comfortable, very high quality fittings, with a nice view out to the courtyard. and was nice and quiet. Lots of nice touches like high quality teas, proper coffee and high brand toiletries.
I had read some reviews that the spa was very busy, but we didn't experience this, there was lots of room and I enjoyed the hydratherapy pool and the salt steam room. The main pool was a lot colder than any normal pool, so feel they could raise the temperature, as it's quite a shock after being in the the other room.
One thing I feel they do need to look at is the fact that there doesn't seem to be enough showers in the changing rooms. This was not a problem the first day, but on the second day, we checked out at 11am, but had treatments and lunch booked that day. The locker system was very efficient, but there are 3 small changing rooms, each with only one shower each. This was not enough when the area is full and meant there were a queue of ladies all waiting to shower. Also, I was surprised that conditioner wasn't supplied, since every personI know uses it. Luckily I just had a small amount left of my own, but my sister hadn't and wasn't happy that her hair was like straw for the rest of the day.
The relaxation room was a nice big room, but agree with the others, that it needs more massage chairs and a quiet area, as this was main used for friends to sit and chat rather than to relax in.
I had a house facial, which was very nice and well done. I didn't get a card with the products used, which would have been helpful when I went down to the shop.
At the shop I was a little disappointed that there weren't testers out for everything, when I pointed out that I couldn't buy something I hadn't tried, the shop assistant shrugged their shoulders, and seemed happy to accept losing a sale.
The food in the restaurant was great and very high quality. The menus for all meals had a really large choice and had something for everyone. I particularly liked the pork belly I had for dinner and the eggs benedict with salmon for breakfast. I was also pleasantly surprised that the wine was very reasonably priced at the house white I had with dinner was very good.
Had a walk around the grounds in the morning - could have borrowed the cycles there if we'd wanted and wellies were also available. Grounds were lovely, can see they are still to do some landscaping, but I'm sure this will all start to mature soon.
Check out was very busy as there were a lot of people also checking in. There seem to be a lot of porters waiting to take bags, but not enough reception staff to deal with the volume.
All in all, a lovely stay - hope the suggestions above will be taken into account if they are to compete with the competition.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank poppyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LifehouseSpaEssex, Lifehouse Marketing Team at Lifehouse Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, July 1, 2011
Many thanks for your review on Lifehouse, as a new spa we really do appreciate all your comments and feedback.

We look forward to welcoming you to Lifehouse again soon.

Many thanks once again.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Essex UK
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2011

My wife and I took advantage of a Groupon special offer to visit Lifehouse for a night. The voucher was for one nights accommodation plus a 35 minute treatment each and use of the facilities at a cost of £145 reduced from the normal rate of £350. We are experienced travellers and have stayed at many hotels.

I intended to list every issue we had with the stay but will keep it brief as I feel I've wasted enough of my time on Lifehouse. In brief the Spa is very nice, however they messed up our booking initially but rectified it after we complained. The hotel part of the establishment is very poorly managed, the rooms are nice and the food in the restaurant is superb but the organisation is very poor. The restaurant is too small.

We felt that the £145 we paid for our stay (plus £75 for dinner) was good value and we would probably go again for this price. If I had paid the full £350 I would feel I'd been ripped off.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank warren-dive
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LifehouseSpaEssex, Lifehouse Marketing Team at Lifehouse Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, July 1, 2011
Many thanks for your review on Lifehouse, as a new spa we really do appreciate all your comments and feedback.

We look forward to welcoming you to Lifehouse again soon.

Many thanks once again.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
1 review
Reviewed February 14, 2011

This place is the friendliest, cleanest and TASTIEST spa I have ever been too. Incredible doesnt even cover it. The staff could not be any more helpful, the food could not have been any better and the views and grounds could not have been any prettier.

Go. Go now.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank KittyWalsh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LifehouseSpaEssex, Lifehouse Marketing Team at Lifehouse Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, July 1, 2011
Many thanks for your review on Lifehouse, as a new spa we really do appreciate all your comments and feedback.

We look forward to welcoming you to Lifehouse again soon.

Many thanks once again.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ipswich
Level Contributor
88 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed February 10, 2011

I visited this new spa with my best friend - we usually do a "spa break" at this time of year.

We checked in on a Sunday afternoon and were told as we arrived that we had an appointment booked straight away but not to worry, they would rebook it for us. Our fault completely as my friend got carried away on our pre-spa shopping trip and we didn't realise the time. But, it would have been good if they'd e-mailed me with the timings of our included treatments - I think they did ask me when I wanted them and I thought I'd asked for both of them to be made for the Monday, but can't be sure as it was several weeks between booking and actually going there.

My car was valet parked and our luggage was wheeled to our room immediately.

We unpacked and went straight to "The Hub" to rebook our missed appointments and this was where we experienced the only poor service of our stay. The receptionist was not terribly friendly and seemed to have huge problems trying to fit us in at another time. We were asked to wait in the seating area and she would call us when she'd managed to rebook. Anyway, after about 10 minutes another member of staff came over and gave us new appointments for the Monday so it was all sorted out.

Apart from that I was most impressed with the friendliness and helpfulness of all the staff - we couldn't fault them. I spoke to a couple and asked them whether they liked working at Lifehouse and both said that they loved it. (Whether the staff like working somewhere is usually a good pointer to whether the place is good or bad).

We had a twin room in the Mulberry wing - very modern and stylish which we both liked. The bathroom was fabulous - huge walk in shower and large countertop around the basin. Even the robes and slippers were far superior to those we've been given at other establishments. I would agree with another reviewer that guests should be shown how the shower works - there is a push button on the wall near the basin as well as one on the actual shower itself, but even a technophobe like myself managed to work it out after a minute or two.

The beds were the most comfortable I've slept in but I did find the duvets a little warm and had to put the wool throw at the bottom of the bed onto the floor - just a minor thing but wouldn't want it during warmer weather.

The incuded "House" face and body treatments were superb - the beauty therapists were extremely well trained and I felt that they were really interested in the client. We only did one exercise class - Zumba - and this again was well run with an excellent instructor (Shelley I believe).

The "chill out" room near the spa was great - could do with a few more of the vibrating massage chairs though. There were only 3 and they were quite in demand sometimes. The massage chairs in the library were not so comfortable and a bit noisy so could disturb other guests who were trying to read or use the computers.

The pool area is fabulous - think they have had a few teething problems here as on our last morning the salt inhalation room was not working and they had some technicians in working on the plunge pool as well. The swimming pool could do with being a degree or two warmer as well but it was ok once I'd edged myself in! There were also only 4 loungers around the pool area and a couple of chairs - can't see that being anywhere near enough once they get going. The changing facilities are superb - plenty of room and good showers with quality shower gel and body lotion. This is one of the few places I've stayed where I actually used the toiletries provided in the room and liked them.

We took a while to find our way around but if a member of staff saw you looking a bit lost they immediately came over to help you and would walk you to wherever you wanted to go.

I took a walk around the grounds on our last morning as it was a bright sunny day - there are a team of gardeners working on them and there are a few ponds, lovely trees and shrubs and I'm sure once spring arrives they will look even better, Benches and outdoor furniture have been put in various places around the grounds so in the good weather you could sit outside.

The food was excellent and restaurant service was very good. We loved the breakfast buffet and some dishes at lunch and dinner were so good we had them twice in two days! The only downside was the hard modern wooden chairs which we found a bit uncomfortable. We also thought the wooden benches with padded seating looked a bit like bus shelter seats - they go with the modern decor but are not built for comfort. Complimentary still and sparkling water was always provided on the table (and in our room) but wine and soft drinks were available to buy as well. One issue re food and drink - my friend's husband ordered a bottle of champagne and a birthday cake for her. The champagne should have been given to us at our first dinner but arrived at our door around 10 pm that night - this was after my friend had phoned her husband and he realised from her conversation that it hadn't arrived. Next day at lunch we ordered a main course and dessert. After our main my friend was presented with the most fab chocolate birthday cake - which we couldn't eat at that precise time so they kindly put it on a tray and delivered it to our room along with plates and cutlery. Did not take us long to demolish it but we may have enjoyed it more if we'd known about it before we'd ordered our lunch. Not too sure whether we should have had the cake with the champagne. Still, this is just a minor hiccup really as the rest of our stay was fantastic.

Checking out was pretty painless - my car was brought round to Reception and our bags placed in the boot for us.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Lifehouse - it's in a quiet position away from the main road and has a relaxed atmosphere. We will definitely be going back as it far outshines other local spas we've been to.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank blynda9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LifehouseSpaEssex, Lifehouse Marketing Team at Lifehouse Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, July 1, 2011
Many thanks for your review on Lifehouse, as a new spa we really do appreciate all your comments and feedback.

We look forward to welcoming you to Lifehouse again soon.

Many thanks once again.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed February 10, 2011

My husband and I went to Lifehouse for a 2 night break for some rest and relaxation and made the most of the 2-4-1 offer on the Romantic Getaway break.

Check In:
We arrived at 3pm and were met by a porter who took our bags and car. One of the receptionists showed us to our room and it was all very smooth.

Room:
We stayed in the Mulberry wing and the room was stark and quite bare. The view was nice across the gardens. I know you're supposed to pack light on a spa break but there were only a few hangers and no drawers at all so we didn't bother unpacking which resulted in scrunched up clothes. The bed was ridiculously hard - I hardly slept a wink on both nights as I was so uncomfortable and usually I'm a pretty good sleeper. I thought it was a ploy to get you to buy more massages because your back hurts?! The room was kept clean and the bathroom was basic but clean. The shower was very high tech but most of the gadgets didn't seem to work - I couldn't work out what most of the knobs actually did! I was also disappointed that they didn't provide cotton pads or a shower cap which are usually standard in a hotel bathroom. The safe was no where to be found and my husband was worried about leaving his valuables just lying around. It was only once we mentioned this to reception that they told us the safe is actually in the drawer under the tv with a strange mechanism - not sure we ever really worked it out! It was nice to have drinking water in the room and there were plenty of plugs for hairdryers/straighteners.

Bar:
The bar did a nice selection of drinks and was nice for a pre-dinner drink and chat but it wasn't somewhere you could snuggle down. The chairs and sofa's were too hard, the fire wasn't lit and it is in the same room as the dining room so there is the constant noise of cutlery being cleared up/waitresses chatting etc. It was nice to have a selection of newspapers to read.

Library:
It has a good selection of books but again it wasn't very comfortable to snuggle down in as the chairs are all hard and the sound of the massage chairs is pretty noisy.

Chill out room:
This big open space room was difficult to completely relax in as there were always people coming in and out and talking quite loudly. The sofa's were fairly comfortable but not that great. The massage chairs were nice but noisy. What this place really lacks is a silent zone where you can really snuggle up on a big comfy sofa like the 'Retreat' at Ragdale. I certainly couldn't do that in my room - the bed was so uncomfy!

Pool area:
There were only 4 sunloungers by the pool so you have to be quick to get one. The pool was freezing at first but warms up once you get used to it. When we arrived there weren't any towels available or obvious but after a while a member of staff repleneshed them. The jacuzzi pool was nice but quite busy. The steam room was ok but not as warm as we like and on the second day the salt room and jacuzzi pool weren't even working with no explanation as to why! Also there is a distinct lack of water around the place - they tell you to keep hydrated but there are no water machines and we didn't want to spend money on bottled water.

Treatments:
As part of our package we had a house facial, a ginseng massage and a oriental bathing experience. The facial was lovely and tailored towards your skin. The massage was nice too but having had hot stone massages before it didn't quite do it for me as I prefer deeper massages. The therapist was a bit unprofessional too as when it came to turning over she just said "ok turn over now" making no attempt to help hold up the blanket and just stood there watching me. The oriental bathing experience was interesting and fun but we wouldn't pay £120 each for it. It was very relaxing but we did feel a bit stupid doing some bits like walking around in circles on stones! The sleep pod was lovely and I fell asleep for a while but it was noisy from the pool and people walking back the forth all the time. It was also a bit weird that people from the pool can see you! I had my hair cut while I was there and I was very pleased - the sylist was very good and I really like my new hair!

Shop:
The 'shop' is tiny! Only one rail of clothes and a shelf of some cosmetics. I quite liked one of the hoodies but they didn't have them in my size so when I asked if they would be getting any more in the assistant told me she didn't have a clue and burst out laughing. Very odd!

Food:
The dining room was nice but the chairs uncomfortable - I felt like I was much higher than my husband sitting on the bench and the hard wooden backs made me once again think it was all a ploy to get me to spend more money on massages! The lights are ridiculous - you have to do some bending so you don't clunk your head every time you sit down. Not sure they were properly thought through! The food was delicious though - definitely not somewhere to go to lose weight! One annoyance was that we were there for 2 nights and the menu didn't change so I ended up having the same thing twice. The pancakes for breakfast were especially yummy!

Check out:
Make sure you check your bill as they had charged us for the wrong bottle of wine (£8 more that the one we actually had!) We had to wait a while for the car to arrive back with no where to sit as it was busy but all in all it was quite smooth.

It was nice to have some time to ourselves and I'm sure things will get better but I think my problem was I constantly compared it to Ragdale and its just not as good!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank sparaline
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LifehouseSpaEssex, Lifehouse Marketing Team at Lifehouse Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, July 1, 2011
Many thanks for your review on Lifehouse, as a new spa we really do appreciate all your comments and feedback.

We look forward to welcoming you to Lifehouse again soon.

Many thanks once again.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lifehouse Hotel & Spa

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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