REVIEW: 1 Night Zen Spa Escape Break, Careys Manor, New Forest
WHAT? An overnight stay package at beautiful spa hotel Careys Manor, in the heart of the New Forest.
WHY GO? Comprising an overnight stay, breakfast, lunch and dinner in a pretty garden spa restaurant plus a 30-minute treatment and full use of gym classes and wet facilities, Careys Manor’s ‘1 Night Zen Spa Escape Break’ (at £220 per person) is up there with the best value deals we’ve tested.
WHERE? Arriving at this leafy hotel (just a few minutes’ walk from Brockenhurst station, past wild horses, donkeys and deer) feels like visiting a rather well-to-do relative. A homely welcome awaits, as staff eagerly pick up your bags and offer cucumber water while check-in admin is dealt with.
As you’re shown to your bedroom you’ll be schooled on the shortcuts to the spa’s neighbouring Thai restaurant, where blissed out customers recline in robes with a glass of Prosecco or fresh banana ice cream milkshake, in-between being pampered and buffed into snoozy oblivion.
Come 6pm, guests change into actual clothes (boo) for dinner, a large menu of authentic Thai food served up in the Zen Garden restaurant as the last of the day’s sun pours through the large windows.
We headed over at 7pm after a few hours swimming in the 14m indoor pool, enjoying a huge bowl of Meang Pla to start (a crispy, zingy fillet of seabass deep fried with red onion, cashew nuts, ginger, lime, lemongrass, Thai herbs and sweet chilli dressing).
Next, we chose a mild stir-fried prawn Samunprai, cooked with garlic, chilli. lime leaf, vegetables and Oyster sauce.
For dessert, we couldn’t quite resist sampling deep-fried ice cream, nodding curtly to the healthy pursuits of the weekend with a bowl of fresh fruit. Breakfast is served in this airy room, too, guests loading up on Full English breakfasts, flaky pastries and smashed avocado with a view of early birds splashing about in the pool.
Rolling back to the bedroom after a quick stroll around the sitting room flanking the reception (home to some beautiful furniture), we remarked on the serenity of the place. Though large groups are attracted for hen weekends and special birthdays, all remain quiet and respectful, taking in the relaxing calm of the stately main rooms and thoroughly modern spa facilities.
Our ground floor bedroom was large and light-filled, opening out onto a courtyard filled with greenery and a bubbling fountain. A large bath, power shower and flatscreen smart TV provide all the home comforts, with gorgeous products from The White Company continuing the theme of spa-like luxury.
The spa itself is such a draw, you’ll find yourself lingering well beyond the point your fingers become prune-like. Among its countless wet facilities are showers with their own sound effects (we had endless fun trying the settings, our favourite being ‘Tropical Mist’), an ice room with freezing bucket showers, a crystal steam room, Jacuzzi, saunas, normal steam room and extensive gym pumping energising music all day long.
A relaxation room offers a litany of teas, coffees and juices, stacked with magazines and chairs to recline and even sleep on – we can confirm, it’s as calming as it sounds – there was even some light snoring in the silent area.
Choosing between a list of treatments spanning everything from a Prana calm mind ritual to an Aromatic detox massage and couple’s Rhassoul mud treatments proved difficult, but we landed on cosy, warming Lava Shell Massages, where self-heating Natural Tiger clam lava shells and aromatherapy oils are run across the body in soft, sweeping movements to promote lymphatic drainage and supple muscles.
Feeling cocooned and cared for, we slinked off to our room for a nap, hoping the weekend would never end. Like all good things do, it soon did – but we look forward to booking again very soon.
DETAILS: The 1 Night Zen Spa Escape Break at £220 per person includes:
- Luxurious overnight accommodation
- A New Forest breakfast, served in the Zen Garden Spa restaurant
- Full use of the award-winning leisure and spa facilities
- An authentic two course Thai lunch served in the Zen Garden Thai restaurant
- A choice of classes
- A 30-minute treatment
- A dining experience in your choice of restaurant – enjoy an allowance of £40 per person for food and drinks
- 10% off any additional spa treatments booked
Amy was a guest of Careys Manor