For purity, silence and uncensored relaxation, you need to get your stressed, aching bones to the hydrotherapy spa – SenSpa – at the very English Careys Manor, New Forest. Boasting oodles of awards and accolades, this Thai temple of watery wonders is like no spa you’ve ever experienced.

To start with, it’s huge. Once you’ve wrapped up in a towelling robe and slipped into slippers, potter past the main pool, sauna and spa and enter an Aladdin’s Cave of treasures.

Beneath a dark, twinkling sky is a large hydrotherapy pool, with ergonomic underwater seating, current-strength jacuzzis and vichy showers. There are several large rooms dotted around over two floors, including a laconicum, Rhassoul mud room, vast herbal sauna and deliciously spicy crystal steam room. I loved the tepidarium: a calm place with heated mosaic loungers that made you feel you were asleep in the sun. The ‘experience’ shower rooms conjure Atlantic and tropical storms, while the DIY ice bucket is for the brave at heart. And it’ll help your heart, no doubt.

All hydrotherapy treatments are expertly designed to combine temperature and pressure to improve muscles, joints, circulation, blood pressure and whole host of other lovely health benefits.

In addition to the spa facilities, there are also several treatment rooms where ancient Thai, Swedish and Indian therapies are practised. I recommend the cosy seaweed mud wrap and rather enjoyably boiling hot stone massage. These extras ain’t cheap, but can you afford not to give your body this kind of pleasure?

Sure, it was a massively indulgent slice of decadent downtime, but can you suggest a better way to spend one’s birthday than sweating, taking beatings or shrivelling up like old fruit? Heavenly.


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