This new spa offers frazzled parents a little slice of Haven

My toes are still tingling from the loving attention lavished on them. "Deluxe", "Zenspa" ... I'll have the lot. After months of bad weather and thick boots, I want sexy sandal feet. Next up, a facial. As the therapy lights move through their rainbow repertoire, she barely touches my forehead and I drift off on a cloud of calm.

I'm at a Haven holiday park, grabbing a little me time before my children return from a gruelling timetable of trampolining, archery, quad-biking and aqua fun. My six-year-old son has long been harassing me for a Haven holiday, seduced by the brash TV ads. When the company announced it was unveiling a new Decléor spa at its Rockley Park site in Dorset, the idea suddenly seemed so much more attractive.

Clever Haven. It knows that families like mine exist in these credit-crunch, mustn't-go-abroad days and is taking the holiday-park experience upmarket to reel us in.

Building on the success of its first spa, which opened in 2004 at Devon Cliffs, near Exmouth, Rockley is the second site for this incongruously luxurious project.

Then again, Rockley is used to rubbing shoulders with the elite. It shares the same sought-after vistas of Poole Harbour as its neighbour, the millionaires' playground, Sandbanks. And those holidaymakers who have bought into the dream by purchasing their own homes here have come to expect special privileges, such as the dedicated swimming pool in a quiet corner of the park.

Now they can also enjoy the sight of the new spa from their lilos – it's set in £350,000 worth of landscaping by Neil Tulley Associates, who designed the gardens at Elton John's home in the south of France. And for the eco-conscious, David Bellamy has even given the park his stamp of approval with a suitably glittery Gold Conservation Award.

Back in the spa, the menu of Decléor, Jessica and St Tropez treatments is served up in a suite of four therapy rooms, with a spa garden offering hot and cold "wet experiences". To be honest, the treatment rooms are a little spartan and would benefit from warmer, more luxurious decor, as in its public areas. But the level of service is good and the value can't be faulted – choose a pedicure or a manicure, from £26, and you get to take home your choice of nail varnish, too.

Haven has such faith in its spa idea that it's due to open another at Haggerston Castle in Northumberland in a couple of years, to replace a tiny existing salon. It's all part of a commitment to "exceeding the expectations" of its regulars – and a way to hook in us cynics.

And that commitment is dead serious. Last winter, Haven spent £40m across its 35 parks, improving facilities, accommodation and landscaping.

Caravans have been reorganised into "low-density communities" with more space and better planting to improve views and lessen the environmental impact. Platinum and Prestige caravans have been introduced this year, offering more space and higher grades of accommodation, with extras such as flat-screen televisions. You can book your linen and even get the beds made up, though you must bring towels, toilet rolls and washing-up kit. This is a caravan, after all.

So forget Hi-de-Hi! – after a slip of the tongue I was reminded Haven is a holiday "park" not a "camp" – I was impressed. OK, the en-suite was cramped and I bashed my back on the three-way door on the bathroom cabinet, but I just hot-footed it back to the spa for a hot-stone massage.

In lean times, a little luxury goes a long way.

How to get there

A three-night weekend in a two-bedroom Superior caravan at Haven Rockley Park (0871 230 1900; haven.com) is available from £339. Children enjoy free swimming, kids' clubs, ranger walks and entertainment. Other activities (to be booked on arrival) include fencing and archery.

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

    £12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Knaresborough ...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaning Manager - York and Bradford

    £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...

    Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Drivers

    £18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower