The journey started in St. Albans, I drove both myself and a very excited Scarlett to Lavenham which is located in Suffolk, close to Ipswich, the journey took around 2 hours, so slightly further afield from the more normal short distance trips away we usually have in London. The journey itself was not to bad, I expected there to be lots of traffic along with stopping and starting, however it was a fairly smooth transition to the place itself. Accompanied by Scarlett’s interesting however also very good song choices for the playlist.
We arrived in Lavenham, via small and twisty-turny country roads, with some very beautiful scenery, something that we are not so accustomed to from the London area, with the distinct smell of country life. We eventually ended up outside The Swan Hotel & Spa (4 Star). The distinct countryside smell was replaced by a rather sweet and surprising smell of lavender, which was a nice touch.
Looking at the surrounding buildings was fascinating, as they looked so different and so well presented, in comparison to what I am used to. I believe they were built in the 15 Century, a time in which the town was a part of a rich and affluent era, not to say it isn’t at present either – as they were so beautifully kept.
We approached the building in which we were going to be staying in, a big thick wooden door with a sturdy handle. It certainly looked the part, and as I proceeded to open it, I knew we were in for a good stay.
We checked into the hotel shortly after parking my car in the private car parking around 20 metres from the hotel itself which was convenient and nice as I had a slight peace of mind that my car was safe, or safer at least. The reception staff were friendly and encouraged us to use the spa facilities (keeping our bags for us) as the room would not be ready until later that afternoon. So myself and Scarlett happily went to investigate the hotel and what it had to offer.
It soon became apparent that the hotel had a very classy theme to it, although not losing its roots with wooden features and grand fire places still in place and working, however it had also modernised itself with plush comfy seats and spotlights throughout. We ordered some cocktails to relax us, which proved to be very tasty and we sipped at them whilst discussing our plan of action for the day. We agreed that after some food – we would take full advantage of the incredible spa facilities. So we ate – I had a burger which did not disappoint, it was very tasty and juicy and Scarlett had the grilled chicken, and felt fuelled and ready for the afternoon of relaxation ahead.
We then walked the short distance through the hotels premises to the nearby spa – passing the outdoor jacuzzi that I was so eager to get into, unlike a more reserved Scarlett (only due to the rather cold day). We were again greeted by friendly and very polite staff who asked us to sign into their book, before then being taking on a tour. Natasha explained that one of their unique features was the body pillows in which you lie on during the massages. They are specially created by heating the water inside up to match blood and body temperature – off the top of my head I believe this is 37 degrees celsius. We were then shown through the rest of the facilities such as the steam room, sauna, massage rooms, relaxing room and the quiet room. After this we were shown to the changing facilities in which I was looking forward to wearing my rather fetching green swim shorts – complete with dressing gown, snug slippers and towel.
Myself and Scarlett moved to the small curtained room reserved for pre-treatment consultations. We were greeted with a health form and an amazing looking smoothie as promised by the spa. Since it would be rude not to, we both ignored the health form to start with and sipped upon our fruity, cold and ever so deserving smoothie after a long week of hard work, it almost seemed worth it all for this moment. Anyway after one gulp it was gone – unlike Scarlett I couldn’t wait any longer so it went down in one – and I looked up to see if my girlfriend had finished hers, hoping she said she didn’t like it so I could have another one, however it wasn’t to be, maybe next time…
We both filled out the health form, which asked a variety of questions, some of which were quite interesting. Like what we didn’t like about our bodies, well…. Obviously leaving it quite open for self criticism, we will leave it there.
We gave in our health forms and knew that our treatment wasn’t for another 2 hours, so we gave the Steam room and Sauna a go, both did exactly what they say on the tin and equally both were very well presented and clean. I’m very big on clean, I always have been and my previous job dictated very much so, too the extreme. This was a very well maintained and clean place. I was impressed actually as normally I can pick something up, however it was truly immaculate.
I then, with Scarlett, went outside into the elements where even I would say at the time it was a bit chilly, however I knew it would be worth it for the warm/hot bubbly water that awaiting me in the vitality pool (Jacuzzi to me and you). It did not disappoint, the water was of a perfect temperature to combat the cold of the weather that day, keeping both myself and Scarlett relaxed and happy. We must have spent a good 20-25 minutes in there before retreating to the downstairs relaxation suite. Were we lay together in big comfy and warm dressing gowns.
It was time…. We were greeted individually by our own staff member of the Spa, talked through our health form with the interesting questions included and some tactfully left out. Then we were explained to what treatment we were going to have done, we both had chosen the drift away 60 minute massage. We were promptly whisked upstairs and separated as the double room was occupied. The massage was wonderful, relaxing and just what I needed after a long week, so much so I actually fell asleep, hopefully I did not subject her to too much snoring.
After the massage was over I met back up with Scarlett in the upstairs relaxation suite – known as the quiet room, were we greeted again with more surprises of macaroons and herbal tea. After 10 minutes in the suite we both felt happy enough to go and get changed back into our normal clothes. We were both very happy with the service and massages provided, so much so we talked about going again, something I would more than recommend.
The both of us said our goodbyes and went back over to the hotel after a short 20 second walk. Checked into our room after being navigated to it by Peter. The hotel itself being very old had some rather interesting and surprising corridors and low door frames, which all added character to the experience. The room we checked into was a very homely place, and rather large, it came with 2 TV’s a good sized comfy double bed, tea making facilities and a nice shower room. The room was rather impressive and we had a good nights sleep in it, nothing to complain about there.
That evening we experienced the dining at the hotel, slightly posh and quite on the fine dining side of things, rather than the big plates I am used to. I can’t say I have experienced dining similar to it before, however I was intrigued and left happy with the food that was presented to both I and Scarlett. It was tasty, different/unique and filling. It only left me wanting more, and I know Scarlett would agree.
Breakfast was also very nice, I had your traditional full English breakfast and Scarlett had salmon and toast, all of which was presented very nicely and arrived promptly. It was a very good service, as was the evening meal we received.
On the whole we had a great stay and a great time and it showed me the need to relax every now and then, with the speed that I am usually travelling at when it comes to work and outside tasks, it showed me the value of me time.
Its ‘fantastic’ Five Bubble rating by the Good Spa Guide definitely proved to be true on our stay. I hope if you find yourself here that you have the same experience we did.