As soon as you arrive at Clarice House you begin to unwind. Our family-run Spas at Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich in Suffolk and Colchester in Essex offer a unique ambience, worlds apart from everyday concerns. They each have exclusive Day Spa facilities, including swimming pool, sauna, steam room, spa bath, treatment rooms and indulgent restaurants.
At Clarice House we believe in relaxation and enjoyment and our aim is to make your visit as comfortable as possible, therefore our leisure areas include a fully licensed bar and our food is delicious and plentiful. All three of our Classic Country Houses have delightful grounds which will delight you.
Our restaurant offers a wide range of delicious dishes, all with an abundance of taste. We have an excellent selection of vegetarian dishes.
Walk in and you will discover the swimming pool is subtly different from others you may have previously encountered. It is sky-blue in colour, the air above is fresh and clean, due to an advanced purification system, which virtually eliminates the need for nasty chemicals. Also for your use there is a spa bath, steam room and sauna to ensure complete relaxation.
Our Health & Beauty salon offers treatments for both women and men ranging from Ayurvedic Stone Therapy, Reiki and Reflexology to the most relaxing beauty treatments using only the very best products from Germaine de Capuccini, O.P.I., Gelish and St Tropez. Our well qualified and product trained staff will ensure you receive professional advice and treatments and are ready to relax and rejuvenate even the most stressed.
Have you been here?
Visited Oct 2011
I booked a superior bliss day for 2 during a special offer with my sister as both our daughters were turning 18 and we thought this would be a special treat for them. I hadn't read any reviews but seemed to be very good value, and have only been to The Sanctuary before on a Red Letter day (won).
The welcome could have been better, we kept having to flag staff down to ask questions as the menu wasn't clear what was included in the 2 course lunch. The food was very fancy - too much for my daughters tastes!
Unfortunately my sister suffered a puncture en route and so was very late (12:45) but the staff did re- arrange the massage they had missed and also got their food ordered, although again they weren't told they could have a mains/pud rather than starter/mains so ordered puds and paid for them! :-(
The 3 treatments were lovely, although we all got different levels of service, I think my therapist for the manicure/facial (Donna) was excellent and my nails look great!
On the negative side we were very uncomfortable sitting at lunch in rather wet robes, the lunch service was appalling and although I'd like to go back for treatments I'd rather not bother with lunch! My sister and neices starters were brought out before anyone had taken a drinks order, my wine appeared with a fruit fly in it - (this was changed no fuss), my daughters burger was like a bbq gone wrong - charred on the outside, pink in the middle, and then it was ages before our plates were cleared, this itself being requested and then the staff member took 2 plates away and forgot to come back for the other two.
Eventually the puds arrived but we ended up sending the girls away to use the spa while we complained/paid the bill. This involved us going to find someone, we were initially offered the bottle of still water off the bill then the house manager came out, this was the same person that only cleared half the table! She offered us all the soft drinks free, at this point we just wanted to get back to our day and warm up so we accepted.
I think the spa itself is great but obviously there was a lack of service in the restaurant, no-one wants to waste precious spa time sitting around waiting for food, especially when half their party have only just got there!
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Visited Sep 2011
My best friend and I purchased and Evening Spa package as a treat prior to my wedding. My friend paid for the package over the phone using her card and I later paid her my half. When the original paperwork arrived we were sent a voucher and confirmation letter and voucher for a DAY spa which I believe was around £40 more expensive than the evening spa. Being honest people my friend phoned to point out the error and she was thanked and told replacement paperwork would be sent out. We also found that we couldn’t make the original date and rebooked for 27th August. She was made to pay a ridiculous charge of £10 for “admin” (we all know that is a pointless charge which serves no purpose other than to line a businesses pockets further). She paid for it without complaint despite having already saved Clarice House £40 by owning up to the error on the original paperwork. We were then sent a replacement confirmation letter reading “evening spa” but still with the original date of 26th July. She then had to phone again to check this mistake but was told to just bring the letter and it would be fine as the appointment was booked on the right date. Assuming all the other paperwork was now invalid we did not bother bringing the original voucher reading day spa.
When we arrived on Saturday the receptionist was quite rude about the fact we didn’t have a voucher with us. No matter how many times we tried to explain what had happened to her she just kept saying “but you have to have a voucher” and saying the sign on the wall said we had to have a voucher (How could we have read this sign before we arrived?). She said she would have to look into it and we went for our massages. We enjoyed very nice massages (although twenty minutes is in my experience rather short for a massage). When we left the treatment room the receptionist called us over again and in a very condescending manner told us we would have to pay for our spa again and then it would be refunded once we had bought the original voucher in. Despite us pointing out the original voucher was invalid and we may well have thrown it out, that no replacement had been sent out with the replacement confirmation letter and we were never told to bring the original invalid voucher at any point, that we had already saved Clarice House £40 by being honest about their mistake, we had a confirmation letter with code and confirmation of our payment and that she had a copy of the original voucher in her hand and paperwork with the word “paid” written on it, she very rudely told us we would have to pay again or leave. After much arguing and being spoken to like criminals she finally said we could carry on with the evening but the manager would phone us the next day and would probably want to “take matters further” in a threatening tone. After I pointed out I thought we would probably be the ones taking things further she asked us to take a seat and she would try and find a manager to deal with it. After a few minutes the very lovely and reasonable head chef came and spoke to us and said he was happy for us to carry on, we had clearly paid and Clarice House had clearly made a mistake in the first place. He went and spoke to the receptionist who then came and showed us to the spa, apologising profusely (I expect only at the prompting of the chef). However by this time my friend and I were both far too angry to feels any benefits from the relaxation of our massages. We had also lost a good 15 minutes off our use of the spa facilities. Having said that the spa facilities were excellent as was our dinner, but where we should have left relaxed we left very angry and let down.
If we had not been honest and had just gone ahead with the day spa we hadn't paid for, but were sent, we would have bought the original voucher and there would never have been an issue. Basically we were being punished for our honesty. Your receptionist attitude was appalling, unnecessary and unreasonable. I appreciate there are rules but there are better ways of dealing with people than talking to them like idiots. Clarice House may also like to consider what purpose the voucher actually serves and whether it is necessary for customers to bring both pieces of paper at all or perhaps this is just their way of milking customers for more money?
Following the terrible evening I wrote an email of complaint to which two weeks later I still have had no response. My friend missed a call from Clarice house the next day whilst at work. She phoned back but the manager was unavailable. My friend explained our complaint and was told the manager would phone her back by that evening. By the following day having received no response she phoned back and was told the manager had gone on a weeks holiday and no-one could deal with her. Neither of us have heard anything since. Such a shame because it has good facilities but the reception monster and terrible management let the place down entirely. We certainly won't be visiting again!
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Visited Apr 2011
DO NOT GO HERE!
I booked a day spa package for my mothers bithday. When we arrived we were told that we did not get a robe and slippers included however it clearly stated on the paperwork that we did, we were tutted and huffed at before finally getting them. There was an awful lot of sitting around while everyone was running Late. The staff (especially the resteraunt staff) were unbelievabley rude to us. The manager was possibly even ruder. The manicure/Pedicure was appualing and I had to go home and take it straight off. For something that was meant to be a relaxing day we left more angry and fed up than before we went in. Considering the amount of money this place charges you would expect to be treated well!!!
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Visited Oct 2010
I booked a mother & daughter package for my daughters 21st birthday for four of us. We were all enjoying it until after 3 of us had gone for a pedicure my daughter was left waiting for 15 minutes. She went to reception who advised her that her pedicure had not been booked in..their mistake. They rebooked for 4pm which was the earliest they could do.
I was very annoyed as it was my daughters 21st and it was supposed to be a mother & daughter day which i assume should be treatments done together. I complained to Val the manager who replied that their their main priority is to get us booked into treatments which had been done. We asked if we could have any compensation for the inconvenience and she said that they had apologised, which they hadnt. We asked if my daughter could have a free glass of wine or something to compensate for their error. At this suggestion Val said if it would make her happy I will arrange for a free glass of wine. At this point we were all speechless at her rudeness.
It is a shame that a manager has spoilt the image of a lovely place where all the other staff are very polite & made us all decide we will never go back or reccomend to anyone
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Visited Aug 2010
Terrible place I will NOT re-visit. I will keep this brief. Arrived well before time and told they were running late. Finally seen 30 minutes late. Surly miserable beautician for facial, looks like she hates her job. No water offered to drink. Window left open and it was raining! Left far too long to get changed, which ate into my time. Used an incorrect product (I only found out bcos she told another member of staff who barged in for what seemed like a chat!) facial massage was pitiful and not symetrical, she had a strong right hand and a weak left one, it leaves you feeling a bit out of sorts. Massage about the same, cut short, given by another girl who was texting (beeping on the phone) before and after. Cold oils. Did not offer to lower the bed for me to get on or off (Nearly sprained my ankle getting off). Oh and they had the cheek to glare at me when I didnt leave a tip, even though they heard me complain to the lady on reception. Highly expensive & useless treatment. A waste of my time and thiers too I think. No reduction in the cost given.
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Visited Apr 2010
We arrived at Clarice House am to be greeted by a very pleasant young lady who guided us through to the communal gathering (resturant) area , where other people were happy sitting at tables chatting + drinking coffee . The young lady introduced herself and took our order for drinks, she also left us to chose our 3 coarse lunch from the menu, which I must say had a very varied chioce.
We as a group of 4 were then given a tour of the premises also our gowns and slippers for use for the day, we were also given our keys to our lockers ( unfortunatly we had to share a locker between 2 )
I do think we should have had a locker each ( but did not comment at the time, but would in future)
Our treatments . which ranged from full body massage , facials,reflexoligy, manicures, pedicures
were given in a friendly and discrete manner......... all staff were informative with all the treatments............
Our 3 coarse meal was excellent , presentation was excellent , compliments to the chef and to the waitress who served us.
Our afternoon was taken up with more treatments and and chatting to the staff , who were very friendly.
We left the spa feeling relaxed and happy with our day. We felt it was well worth the 1 hour drive and the price of the whole days treatments.
What we feel could be improved would be : Locker for each person attending spa also to supply enough towels to go round............ as they were waiting for a delivery on this day so hence no towels, but I would like to add this did not spoil our day in any way.
We have visited many spa retreats over the years and I would like to say we found Clarice House one of the better retreats and look forward to our next visit.
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Visited Mar 2010
I booked the offer "New Year, New You" in January and came on Saturday 13th March with my mum. The whole day was very dis-satisfying, as such I would like to write a review about the experience. Spa days are supposed to be about a relaxing environment, but this is where we felt badly let down.
When we arrived, we headed to the changing rooms and were surprised to find that we had to share a locker, a small locker, between us. Given that people at a spa get fully changed out of their clothes, the locker space was inadequate. I'm not sure sure if this was a special feature of the 2 for 1 deal, but frankly it's ridiculous.
Both of the towels which were provided were very old , one was fraying very badly and I was able to get this changed quite easily, but I was then informed that if we wanted any more towels we would have to pay for them, we would have been better off bringing our own. We headed to the swimming pool and managed to get a bed but as the loungers do not have cushions we were lucky that we had a treatment early otherwise the painful slat marks would have been much deeper.
Our first appointment was for the body massage; my treatment was not great, particularly because I could clearly hear the conversation taking place in the room next door, not good. My mum had not even been so lucky, her room was cold, the oils were cold, the girl doing the treatment had left her for 10 minutes to get ready before returning which cut her treatment time to 15 minutes instead of the 25 minutes it was supposed to be; she was very unhappy.
Next treatment was a facial, another bad experience. On meeting the therapists my mum and I were told we would be in a room together, I was not entirely happy with this as my experience of regular facials are of being totally relaxed in a calm, quiet environment and not hearing 2 therapists moving around or doing consultations. Sadly there was no consultation given to either of us. The room in which the 'facial' took place was near the stairs lots of coming and going with talking and laughter, it very noisy indeed which was not conducive to a relaxing facial, very disappointing indeed.
I had booked us in for a ESPA mature facial, not to sure on some the products that were used but we both left with a head of hair full of thick greasy oil and red faces .
After lunch (when we were very deliberately told to pick two courses and then had to pay for the 'additional course') and a quick dip in the pool we both decided to get dressed so we could have our manicure and pedicures done without smudging when getting dressed as there seemed no point in staying once these were done. The facilities in the changing rooms left much to be desired for a 'SPA' : no shampoo, no conditioner, no cleanser, no moisturiser, infact nothing that you would expect to find when going to a 'SPA'.
On waiting for our mini pedicure we looked for a colour, the selection was very limited as most of them appeared to be missing from the stand . In the end we had to settle for a colour which was not what we wanted - again, just as with the towel, shampoo, conditioner, cleanser, etc, we should of brought our own. The mini pedicure actually turned out to be a quick file and paint in half the allotted time (15 mins instead of 30 mins ). There was no foot spa, no cuticle work, no scrub, no moisturiser (basics for any such treatment and basics on the NVQ beauty course for this treatment) - just a file and paint. The manicure wasn't any better, exactly the same but with the added bonus of the polish bubbling when dry: it seems that the colours that are there are quite old. Finally, it has also chipped within in 2 days for both of us !!
I hope you can sense my deep dissatisfaction with both the facilities and the treatments on offer. I appreciate that things can and do go wrong, but this was amateurish at best. The facilities were disappointing from the threadbare towels to the mini-locker and noisy rooms. The treatments were poorly executed, missing basic elements, and none of them were for the full allotted time. Not sure whether this is just part of the experience at Clarice House or if this was and exceptional day but I will not be returning and I would advise you not to go.
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Visited Feb 2010
I have been to C. H a number times hence why I went back. We arrived to find our times changed and one treatment cancelled. ! 1 1/2 it took to sort out and by the we were quite stressed after dealing with the rude unapologetic "manager". We head for the swimming pool - (a tour was not offered!) and find that we have to share a locker as that is what you do when you come on a 2 for 1. The pool area is packed, with water aerobics going on. We succumb to the sauna for a bit of piece of quite before we rush off for our first moved appointment.........pedicure..........which turned out to be a quick file and paint in half the time (15 mins). No bubbling foot spa as they won't plug it in, any cuticle removal, no scrub, no moisturiser, just a file and paint - the manicure was a better - exactly the same. It is not the staffs fault, they have been told to do the minimum.
The facial - cleanse tone and moisturise - no mask, no scrub, no discussion and a quick massage. My hairdresser told me of her experience of a back massage there, where she was left to get ready and the beautician never returned!
The lunch was ok, but the place is going to rack and ruin. It needs a good Hoover, clean and some TLC. Packed out with members and spa goers, it really is a case of packing the numbers in, doing everything on the cheap whilst adding supplements left right and centre. A further £50 it cost on top of the day for drink and supplements for dishes on the menu. It is a shame that the manager was so rude and unhelpful, the treatments basic and on the cheap, it was blatantly obvious.
I don't write reviews normally but when days spas are supposed be a special relaxing day, I really suggest you don't book Clarice House, because it is a huge disappointment and waste of money.
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Visited Feb 2009
I took my Mum to Clarice House, Colchester on a Friday for a superior bliss day. Having not seen any previous reviews of the spa I took a chance as the package seemed too good to be true including 3 treatments lasting 30 minutes, complimentary robe & slippers, a 3 course lunch and full use of the spa facilities from 9am - 5pm.
The offer was not too good to be true as we both had a truly wonderful day at the spa. Upon arrival we were led into a lovely wicker seating area and offered tea and coffee while we chose our lunch options from a delicious a la carte menu. We were then given a tour of the spa facilities before being given our towles, robe and slippers and let loose to relax for the day.
The pool area at this spa is huge and there were plenty of wooden beds to lounge on when we arrived and throughout the whole day. Alongside the main pool there is a large hydropool and a jacuzzi as well as three different steam rooms all of which were beautifully maintained and above average size.
I cannot fault the facilities, staff, treatments and especially the lunch that was included in the package. I had scallops to start, followed by a local beef main and then a chocolate and pear tart all of which were top quality and far exceeded my expectations. The day was organized around our 3 treatment times and there was never a feeling that we were being rushed or that many other people were following our same timetable so it felt extremely tailored to our needs.
Overall if you are local to the area and want a hassle free day away from it all at a reasonable price this is definitely a spa to think of. We cannot fault the day in any way and will definitely be returning.
Thank you Clarice House
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