I can 100% confirm that booking in for a Spa Day the week of Christmas is definitely a great idea, especially when all you’re planning on doing is to lounge around, watch movies and eat junk, so when I had the opportunity to book something thanks to Wahanda and their excellent deals I obviously couldn’t wait. We didn’t want to travel far so we booked in for the Afternoon Tea Spa Day at the Chakra Sp at The Felbridge Hotel, East Grinstead. This hotel is conveniently located about 40 minutes from Brighton via car and near Gatwick airport too. The package cost £130 for two people which included one treatment each, Afternoon Tea and the use of the Spa facilities for a day, so it’s excellent value. You can check out the Spa’s listing on Wahanda for similar great deals.
The hotel from outside doesn’t look like much, it’s on a busy road and looks pretty bland, I feel like it’s probably a great choice for businesspeople passing through on their way to Gatwick or to London, but out of all the four star hotels I’ve seen it’s not all that exciting. However, inside is clean and inviting so you can’t complain about that.
The Chakra Spa reception isn’t too exciting either, it feels more like a Dentist’s waiting room than a Spa, but once again it’s clean and tidy so can’t complain too much. Once you’re past the reception doors and into the actual spa changing areas the mood changes drastically, it’s gorgeous dark wood interiors with plenty of space and easy access to everything that you will need on your day. You are provided with a robe, towel and slippers on arrival too, so no worries about bringing your own.
The spa facilities are very small, but once again very well maintained, clean and tidy. The pool area has loungers, a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. Luckily we were visiting on a very quiet day, but I can imagine on busy days it could feel a bit crowded. Unfortunately the steam room wasn’t working and there were no instructions on how to operate it so we skipped that one, but enjoyed time in the pool, jacuzzi and sauna.
When it’s time for your treatment you head back to reception to be collected by your therapist. We managed to book our massages at the same time, which was helpful. Miz hasn’t had much experience of spas so I think he felt a bit awkward to find out that we were going to be separated for this time and we didn’t have much time to chat about what to expect beforehand.
The treatment rooms are beautiful and once again super clean and tidy and my therapist was lovely and polite. The treatment on offer was a 55 minute full body massage, which used warm Grapeseed Oil. My therapist was really awesome at checking with me what level of pressure I wanted and if there were any particular problem areas that she should focus on or avoid, this is clearly a sign of an experienced therapist and really helped. However, Miz’s therapist was quite a bit younger and perhaps not as comfortable with the situation as mine was, meaning Miz had a bit of a weird and awkward experience, which is a shame.
After the treatment you’re free to do what you want until your Afternoon Tea time slot, which is served in the Qube Bar, being off peak the place was pretty dead and their choice of music a bit bizarre (they definitely had a 90s Now 60 something CD on, because it featured such artists as Backstreet Boys and Dido) so weird. Anyway, we sat down and got offered tea or coffee as normal and soon after our Afternoon Tea arrived, normally when I’ve been for Afternoon Tea you get a menu first so that you can choose which sandwiches and tea you want, so that it can be customised to your preference, this one didn’t have this, which is unusual.
Unfortunately none of the sandwiches were things that we were fanatical about: Red Onion and Brie (we hate onions), Turkey, Cranberry and Stuffing (this might have been OK minus the stuffing) and Smoked Salmon and Cucumber. We might have nommed up the turkey and salmon ones if they didn’t look so dry and sad, like they were leftovers from lunch. Either way, it would have been nice to have the option of swapping out some of these for other flavours.
The warm scones were AMAZING, so they saved the day. You get two plain and two sultana scones with clotted cream and a mystery jam. We ate all of these and could probably have eaten more, they really were excellent. The cake selection looked pretty at a glance, but again felt a bit sad and dry, the lemon cake was definitely dry and the strawberry tarts didn’t taste fresh, the fruit wasn’t quite ripe or had been in the fridge for too long. Overall, it looked the part but didn’t live up to scratch when tasting, such a shame. I would imagine that at peak times when the hotel is busier you’ll probably get a fresher selection and different level of service, so wouldn’t condemn it completely.
We completed our Spa Day with a McDonald’s dinner and then a trip to Wetherspoons for Christmas Eve Eve drinkies with Miz’s band mates, we balanced it out nicely for sure. Can’t believe how good Wetherspoons has gotten now with their craft beer selection and it’s SO cheap! Weird day anyway.
Overall, if you’re in the area of East Grinstead this place is worth a visit and very good value, but if you’ve got flexibility of location and can drive, I’m pretty sure you’ll find somewhere better in close proximity. I think I’ve been spoilt with Spa’s too as the other ones I’ve been to include The Sanctuary Spa and one at a five star hotel in London, so my expectations are high.
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