REVIEW: Lifehouse Spa & Hotel
PUBLISHED: 11:07 31 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:04 08 August 2018
Stephanie Mackentyre continues her tour of Essex's best eateries and this time stops at Lifehouse Spa & Hotel in Thorpe le Soken for a swim and a three-course supper
At this time of year many might be furiously calorie counting and taking care to create a bikini body, which doesn’t always go hand in hand with dining out.
At Lifehouse Spa in Thorpe le Soken they have cleverly created two menus. One which offers lighter, less calorific options and another for those who aren’t counting the calories. What’s more, they are offering you the chance to pop along for a swim before your meal – perfect preparation for guilt-free eating.
My dining partner and I booked our swim supper for a Wednesday evening, arriving just after 6pm with our table booked from 7.30pm. We were asked for full payment at the time of booking, which might seem unusual for some.
For our £49 per person we were given full use of the spa facilities (pool, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi) and also given a bathrobe to borrow and Lifehouse flip flops, which proved rather useful when walking through the smart beauty spa reception and shops, back to the changing rooms after our swim.
Although we rushed to arrive after a hectic day, we soon were feeling the benefit of the tranquil surroundings with its large pool and spa area.
No need to worry about Alice Cooper eyes and rats tail locks sitting in the restaurant either. The changing rooms were well equipped with shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, a hairdryer and even straighteners. Once dry and looking fit to dine, we sat in the comfortable bar lounge area with views of the terrace complete with rattan furniture.
The restaurant is a sizable room with wood flooring, and a mix of square tables and banquet seating offering lush green garden views. We started our meal with a sharing mezze platter; salami, buffalo mozzarella, olives, leaves and flat breads with hummus.
The main menu offers a selection of healthy mains including seafood stew, Ugo’s salad and a braised chicken dish with olives, white wine and sultanas. I picked a vegan burger with sweet potato chips. My burger was really ‘meaty’ and moist too, and full of flavour.
My dining partner had no calorie counting qualms so chose sirloin steak [£7 supplement], served with chips and a stilton sauce [£3.50 supplement]. His steak was thickly cut and satisfying, and the sauce excellent, although it was the first time we’ve paid for a sauce as an extra.
No calorie counting for us when it came to dessert, choosing from chocolate fondant with a passion fruit core, vanilla panna cotta with braised rhubarb and a mango, raspberry or lemon sorbet.
We finally selected strawberry mousse with a Prosecco jelly in a chocolate teardrop and fig and almond tart which came with pistachio ice cream. There were also cheeses. If you chose more than two cheeses, more supplements apply – £1.50 for three cheeses and £2.50 for four.
By the end of the meal I might have put back on the pounds shed during my swim, but I was fabulously relaxed and rejuvenated, and satisfyingly full too. In conclusion, this is certainly my kind of spa.
Useful to Know
The total bill came to £120.35 for a swim and three-course supper for two people with drinks. This is an independent review, featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by our food and wine editor. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.
Laura Ellum and her husband Jack
Where do you live and what do you do?
We both live in Maldon and I’m currently on maternity leave after giving birth to our twin daughters last November.
What did you choose from the menu?
Steak with chips and a peppercorn sauce and then strawberry mousse for dessert.
Why were you at Lifehouse?
It’s the first time we’ve had a proper break since becoming parents. We had the Love Life package, so we stayed overnight for dinner, bed and breakfast and had a massage too.
Describe your dining experience in a phrase:
A very relaxing atmosphere with polite, attentive staff and pleasant surroundings.
What could they do better?
It wasn’t that clear on the menu where you had to pay a supplement. Also the signage around the spa could be a little clearer.
How would you rate their value for money?
The drinks were quite expensive but the food was really tasty and well cooked.
Worth visiting again?
What was the best part of your visit?
Just having a break for the first time since becoming a mum.
Book a table
Lifehouse Spa & Hotel | Frinton Road, Thorpe le Soken, CO16 0JD | 01255 860050