You’ll find Bodhi Tree Spa bijou and discreet at the end of a cul de sac in leafy Chalfont St Peter, attached to, but independent from, Audley Chalfont Dene retirement village. Running since 2016 by a mother and daughter team of Sarah (based in Thailand) and Carla (very much based locally), the spa has won a clutch of awards over the years, including two Muddy Awards, in recognition of its personal service and authentic, south east asian approach to health, beauty and wellness.
Very cool. The atrium to Audley Village is vast, with black and white chequered floors, enormous chandelier and an open plan feel, with Bodhi Tree Spa to the left, looking just as stylish and to the right, there’s a large, bright café/bistro with large bar area that Bodhi Tree Spa guests can use.
In terms of Bodhi Tree Spa itself, the vibe is elegant and refined but with personality – loving the full-length framed portrait and beehive mirror below (yes that’s me, post treatment).
In terms of facilities, the main draws are the pool and sauna – I had both to myself the day I reviewed, though I was so busy relaxing on the lounger below with my mint tea that I literally just dipped in and out. There are also two treatment rooms (one with wheelchair access), a nail bar and a small fitness suite.
This is where the Bodhi Tree Spa excels. There are the usual Elemis and massages, nails and mens treatments on the go. But underpinning the menu is a truly holistic, complementary outlook that includes more specialised treatments such as Thai hot herbal compress massage (new this year), lava shell massage and five energy point massage, options such as reiki, reflexology and crystal chakra balancing as well as eastern-inspired wellbeing spa days created around the 5 Chinese elements of Fire, Metal, Water, Wood or Earth. These days include lunch in the bistro, use of the swimming pool, sauna and fitness suite and two treatments.
I chose the Thai hot herbal compress massage, partly because it’s brand new to the Spa, partly because I knew that with Sarah’s experience living in Thailand it would be authentic, and also because it had the magic word ‘healing’ in its description, and I’m at a stage of life where mental benefits are suddenly as important as physical ones. The list of benefits is as long as my New Year’s resolution list (I’ve failed them all, thanks for asking though) – from anti-inflammatory to easing pain, helping with posture and alignment to releasing stress and helping with lymphatic drainage.
The massage is uses a herbal ‘ball’ using 11 ingredients wrapped into cotton fabric, which is steamed until it’s warm against the skin (think hot stone massage but herby) and uses a kind of ‘handle’ to use the ball to create the massage pressure.
My therapist Becky, was just phenomenal – ask for her, she’s amazing! After 30 years as a computer keyboard-bashing journalist, massaging my shoulders is like hitting metal, but Becky performs beautiful long sliding movements that somehow unlock the tension, and it really felt like this massage’s claim to balance Qi (the internal energy through your meridian lines) was sound.
After that it was time for a 30 minute Elemis Pro Collagen Facial which, according to Elemis, is clinically proven to reduce wrinkles by up to 94% and improve skin firmness by up to 57% after one treatment with its specialised lifting massage and use of Padina Pavonica – not, in fact, a Czech tennis player but rather an active marine extract that does amazing things to your skin. I’m not sure I walked out looking 94% younger (if that was possible I’d stage a coup and live there), but my skin had definitely unfolded noticeably, and I did feel 100% better.
THE HOME RANGE
Newly launched just a few weeks ago, and isn’t it pretty? I love an entrepreneurial spirit and the owners of Bodhi Tree Spa have it in droves. In keeping with the ethos of the spa, all products are sustainable, toxin free, vegan, organic, recyclable and made in the UK using pure essential oils. Like, where do I tap my credit card? The range includes a hydrating bath and body oil, aromatherapy candle, bath salt soaks and pillow mists, and you can buy from the spa itself or locally from Galleria on The Green in Chalfont St Giles.
OUT & ABOUT
Chalfont St Peter makes up one third of The Chalfonts, neighbouring villages that also include Chalfont St Giles and Little Chalfont, all nestled between Amersham, Chorleywood and Gerrard’s Cross where most of the shopping and eating out happens. If you have kids in tow, nearby Odds Farm Park, is famed for its petting zoo and crazy golf and ability to amuse otherwise recalcitrant offspring. For something more refined, the Elizabethan Chenies Manor House and Gardens (once graced by Henry VIII) is now booking for April admissions. Chalfont St Giles is home to Milton’s Cottage Museum, where the poet is said to have completed Paradise Lost.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
GOOD FOR: Those seeking eastern inspired balance and holistic treatments. With only two treatment rooms it means you are well taken care of and based on my experience, the therapists are excellent. If free time is an issue you can relax – Bodhi Tree Spa is open seven days a week and there’s parking directly outside.
NOT FOR: Those looking for a super luxe experience in a posh hotel with all the outdoor hot tubs and champagne on tap and stay overs that suggests. Bodhi Tree is an elegant, discreet option catering to locals.
££: A spa day package costs from £80 – £235, depending on day and length of treatments.