A venue characterised by its golf course is probably not what you would usually choose for a girly getaway, but Spabreaks.com’s product team found the fairway to be the perfect accompaniment to Ufford Park’s thermal suite.
Driving along, the first thing you see as the Suffolk countryside veers from unkempt hedgerows into something altogether more refined, is the golf course, which sets the tone for health and gentle outdoor pursuits.
Even from the outside Ufford Park exudes a friendly atmosphere with contemporary architecture that allows for an abundance of natural light. The golf club is a big part of the venue’s character – from the design to the jovial manner of the staff who prove to be one of its most prominent assets. There are eighty seven rooms some with triple occupancy (which proved to our benefit) and many boasting balconies – our advice? Opt for one with a view of the golf course!
The key attraction of Ufford Park’s spa is its thermal suite, which for anyone unfamiliar with a concept is a journey through different temperatures and hydrotherapy techniques – from the Jacuzzi-style pool with varying degrees of pummelling water-jets to aromatherapy saunas, steam rooms and experience showers to help you relax and unwind. This is where we spent the majority of our time – you book in for three hours and merrily soak and sip herbal tea for the afternoon while your body undergoes all manner of detoxifying experiences. Breaking with tradition I partook of the Khanya of Africa Massage before heading to the thermal suite, which turned out to be rather a good idea – the drive having left me all tense, by the time I re-joined the girls to soak, I was well on my way to achieving a positively Zen state of mind. Being a leisure club for those living in the vicinity there is a gym, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and swimming pool – but it’s worth remembering that as a family friendly venue, there are certain times of the day, specifically at the weekend when there will be children in the pool – so perhaps fit your thermal suite around that if peace and quiet is the name of the game.
Set in one of the venue’s function rooms, the dining area looks out onto the golf course – naturally, and the food is really something quite special. Simple, but with enough variety to satisfy all manner of guests – and that comes from a group where three out of four were sticking to rigid diets and points systems – staff are extremely accommodating when it comes to special requests.
Although it is only a short drive to the nearest village, the venue is surrounded by one hundred and twenty acres of parkland, and being a crisp winter’s day, when it came to exercise we decided to take advantage of the outdoor scenery which included a two mile Trim Trail – that’s to say a running track around the edge of the golf course, which is a gentle route peppered with assault course style obstacles should you wish to partake. As I say, golf plays a big part at Ufford Park, and not to be dissuaded by our total lack of experience, we finished our day hitting golf balls at the driving range, where the director of golf, Stuart, gave us some good humoured basics and set us up with clubs to borrow (they are free of charge). The ensuing laughter and immeasurable joy when we managed to get one of two hundred balls to fly a reasonable distance proved to be an unexpectedly inspired addition to a girly spa weekend – throwing a little variety into the mix. For those who are not pros however, I do recommend you go to the second floor to play – the fact that you are some distance above ground gives the illusion that your ball is actually travelling some distance into the air – which is rather more gratifying that watching it roll ten feet beyond your big toe.
The spa itself has all the desired facilities, and hinging on the thermal suite it is advisable to make this the focus of your visit and build your treatments around your allocated time. Of course, there is naturally a heavy focus on leisure – with the location lending itself to a little bit of outdoor exploration, and making it a good option for those looking for a gentle day out with a little bit of everything.
– Given the beauty of the location, the Trim Trail is a really great alternative to the gym if you are planning to get some exercise in around your pampering – if you are going to sweat then you should really have something nice to look at as well!
– An unusual addition to a spa day, but if you have the time it is worth visiting the driving range even if you have never played before – staff are extremely friendly, and provide all the necessary equipment … you know, clubs and balls and things.
– Because the thermal spa, swimming pool and treatment rooms are quite separate remember to take a pair of flip flops – particularly if you are staying overnight as rooms are across the other side of the building … dressing gowns and towels however are provided on arrival.
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