As the UK’s first health spa in the 1930’s, Champneys has become a household name in recent decades for its popular day spas and luxurious overnight resorts, set in gorgeous restored manor houses with sprawling land and every available treatment under the sun. In addition to a successful product line which is stocked on the high street, the brand has amassed a speciality for providing relaxing package breaks – ideal gifts for birthdays, mothers day and Christmas!
I was lucky enough to receive a spa day for two at the flagship Tring resort as part of a review piece and so decided to take my grandmother along for a day of pure pampering!
Upon arrival, it was clear from the grand facade of the main building that we were in for a luxurious treat. Maintained to absolute perfection, you could barely tell that the manor house was hundreds of years old from the outset, however as we were ushered for a spot of breakfast in the drawing room – a vast space with high ceilings, ornate detailing and gorgeous wallpaper, it became evident that whoever was in charge of merging old and new to create a relaxing haven had done a brilliant job!
Breakfast was a healthy start to the day, which I loved. Everything served at the health spa, in keeping with making your mind and body feel good, is healthy and nutritious – however nothing is lacking in flavour or enjoyment. In fact, the inclusive lunch was probably the best buffet spread I’ve ever experienced. As a GF, DF and general all-round fussy eater, I tend to find dining out can be a problem in some places – however here, I’ve never had such a large and flavoursome selection.
Muffins, fruit, teas and coffees were all on offer to enjoy before a tour of the facilities, which helps you find your bearings and plan your day.
We were very kindly given the key-card to the very swish ‘premier changing rooms’ which is essentially a private area we were able to use for the day to store our belongings, chill out and take a shower. Filled with magazines, products and dressing gowns, we were delighted to have our own little space – although there was so much to see and do, we weren’t in there long!
First up was our treatments, for which we waited in our designated ‘flower co-ordinated’ area. I was assigned the ‘lily’ waiting area while my grandmother waited in ‘rose’. This all seemed a bit strange to me until the clock struck 11am and herds of women in white towelling robes poured in, they too waiting for treatments. This way, the assigned areas make it easier for the therapists to collect you – ensuring no precious treatment time is wasted!
My therapist Becky guided me upstairs to a small treatment room, decorated in soothing muted tones with just a dimmed light to see with – the obligatory relaxing whale and piano sounds playing in the background. She gave me a quick consultation, including any raising any allergies or sensitivities before giving me time to prepare myself on the bed. I know it might seem like a strange thing to even take note of, however I do think that when it comes to things like full body massages or spa treatments, privacy is key. I have had several rather horrible experience in the past, even with male masseuses, where enough privacy hasn’t been given at the start of the treatment and it can leave a bit of a sour taste in your mouth. A spa day is supposed to be relaxing – rather than worrying about protecting your modesty, so it was nice to see that Champneys really look after their guests and ensure they feel as comfortable and at ease as much as possible.
I was to be having the Champneys Inner Strength treatment, which was actually put together to celebrate their 90th anniversary. Designed to rejuvenate the mind during stressful periods (perfect if you’ve had a crazy month at work – or even if you’re planning a wedding) it focuses on a mix soothing and healing, a full body massage and a steam incense inhalation. 55 minutes long, I can honestly say I was completely relaxed from start to finish and felt like a new woman afterwards. To begin with, Becky put warm paraffin wax in the palms of my hands and the soles of my feet (as well as on my forehead when laying on my back), it seemed a little odd but it was really soothing and helped you to focus on your body rather than whatever was playing on my mind.
I would have paid for another 55 minutes if they hadn’t have been fully booked – as it was pure bliss! Everything you could possibly want in a treatment and more!
Then, we had our lunch – which as mentioned previously, was a mountain of healthy salads, flavoursome fish dishes and soups. I wish I had a bigger appetite, as I could have eaten far more than I could actually fit! The spicy salmon, new potatoes and turmeric rice were my favourite dishes – while the pudding ‘stop’ looked particularly appetising – apple and raisin crumble with a gluten free oat top!
After filling up on a whole host of healthy dishes, we retired to the terrace to make the most of the gorgeous weather. As well as the restaurant, which is open to day guests for lunch and for overnight guests for breakfast, lunch and dinner – there is a cafe, which stocks cakes, drinks and biscuits (although again – healthy alternatives, a welcome change to our usual cafes)! Here, guests seem to come to read their books with a coffee in hand, amazing on a lovely sunny day!
Overall, we had a wonderful day and were treated like real royalty at Champneys Tring. There is currently a bit of a re-furbishment going on, involving the shop – however you wouldn’t really be able to tell nor would your day be disturbed as the areas in use are equipped to ooze relaxation and everything is specially designed to put you at complete ease. If you’re looking for a perfect gift – or know someone that needs pampering, I would definitely recommend a visit here. I have previously had a rather bad experience at a Champneys resort several years ago, so was slightly apprehensive about visiting again however this completely blew me away and changed my mind about the brand as a whole. They really look after their guests and the treatments are incredible (especially the one I opted for – give that a go if you get a chance)!
Thank you to Champneys for hosting us! Our day stay was provided complimentary, although I treated my grandmother to an extra treatment. As always, this would never affect my opinions, which are completely my own!
Have you ever visited a Champneys resort – or would you like to?