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; 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.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Morrissey pictured in 2013
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Robyn Lawley
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsSchool leaver's pic YouTube video features staging of a playground gun massacre
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
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

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Day In a Page

    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
    Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

    Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

    Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
    Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

    Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

    Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
    Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

    Spanx launches range of jeans

    The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
    10 best over-ear headphones

    Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

    Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
    Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

    Commonwealth Games

    David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

    Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star