“ Health spa resort and hotel. „
I have always wanted to go to a spa but being a busy mum have never been able to find the time or money to be able to go, so imagine my excitement when I won a competition for a one night spa break for two at Champneys Henlow. My friend and I visited at the beginning of June here is what I thought of it...........
Making our way down the little lane towards the hotel, I was surprised that the first sight of the house actually took my breath away, I know that sounds a bit over the top but it really did. I just wasn't expecting such grandness.
There were ample parking spaces very close to the entrance, there is also an area for luggage drop off if you have a lot of bags.
On entering the house we were greeted by a very friendly receptionist called Daniel, he welcomed us and took us through to a boardroom where we were offered juice or water. He then explained our individual schedules, we had some treatments included in the prize and these were planned on a timetable which was very easy to read. On the back of our personal schedule was a time table of all the activities for the week, (more on these later).
We were also given a charge card, so anything we bought on site could be charged to the room to save us from carrying cash around.
The room - we were staying in a standard twin room, it was bright and clean with a gorgeous view of the grounds and weir. There was a T.V with freeview, a desk, big comfy chair and a bedside table. There was also a hairdryer which was great, not the usual sort you get in hotels.
The bathroom was clean and full of Champneys goodies like shower gel and shampoo etc.
On the bed was our gowns and flip flops, these soon became our 'normal clothes', and although it seemed a little weird at first, it really didn't take long to feel comfortable sashaying around in a dressing gown.
The food - OMG the food !!! Words can not do the food justice. We were lucky enough to have lunch and dinner on the first day and breakfast and lunch on the second and every single morsel tasted out of this world.
Breakfast and lunch are a help yourself buffet, everything is healthy, some examples of dishes were
Breakfast : porridge, fruit salad, figs, yoghurt, cold meats, cereals, muesli and wholemeal toast.
Lunch : rice, chicken, salad, cold meats, pasta, cous cous, baked potatoes, fish, vegetables.
Breakfast and lunch were quite informal and guests were in their robes and very casual.
Dinner however is a more formal affair and most people were dressed up smartly, this is a waiter served three course meal which is chosen from a set menu. The choices were varied and my friend and I found it easy to chose something we liked. I really liked how the menu gave you the benefits of each dish, such as helps lower blood pressure, great for detox etc.
You are served water with your meals and this is included in the price, at dinner you are given the option to purchase wine. An average bottle is about £25, going up to about £90 for champagne. You can bring your own and they charge a corkage fee of £10. per bottle.
The waiters were so friendly and attentive, they really made us feel special and looked after.
Treatments - We had a massage and a facial included in the prize, my mum also booked me a manicure. All of these were booked in advance which is recommended but you can book treatments when you arrive but might not get the times or treatments you want. There is a large spa reception where you go and wait at your time, this is really comfy with sofas and chairs to relax on, there was also water and detox tea available. The therapists will then come and collect you for your treatment.
I must say I was a little nervous about having a massage, I have never had one before and wasn't too sure about lying naked on a table. But my therapist whose name was Sharon really put me to ease, it was all very discreet and I didn't feel exposed at all. The massage was one of the best things I have ever experienced, I came out feeling like I was walking on air. The facial and manicure was also divine, the therapists were professional, friendly and all excellent at their jobs. There are so many different treatments available from scrubs to mud baths, they all vary in time and cost but most average about £50 for an hours treatment.
The activities : there were so many different activities going on daily, whatever your reason for going to the spa there would be something for you. If your aim was to get fit and exercise there was workouts, body blasts, country walks, gym sessions, spin, aqua fit etc. If it was more relaxation you were after there were many choices such as yoga, meditation, colour healing, cooking demo and pilates. Most of these are included although some cost £5 a session such as the meditation.
All the activities are there for you to try if you wish, there is no pressure to go to any I only did colour healing and aqua fit as I wanted a relaxing pampered break my fitness freak of a friend however did almost every class going. It is up to you.
The spa facilities : There is a large pool, a sauna, steam room, gym and whirl pool. I used all of these during my stay except the gym. Although my friend used the gym and said it was very modern and fully equipped. The pool was heated and very clean, there are sun loungers around the pool so after a few laps you can have a break and read a mag for a while before another dip. The whirlpool is of ample size, probably fit about eight people in although there was no one in it whenever I used it. The steam room and sauna are fabulous.
The swimming changing area has lockers, changing rooms and showers. They also provide all towels. Just outside the changing area is a section with moisturiser, nail varnish remover and hair dryers this is probably aimed at day guests but anyone can use it.
The resort - The whole place is absolutely beautiful, at first it is a bit confusing like your first day at school but it doesn't take long to get your bearings and navigate your way around.
There is a hairdressers, shop which sells clothing, books, some basic toiletries and medicine and magazines, several coffee shops where you can buy tea, coffee, juice or snacks.
There is the Champneys shop which sell all the products used during treatments, I really loved how you were recommended the products but not pushed to buy them. The products are all luxury but do not cost the earth.
There are many relaxing areas, my favorite being the conservatory which was total relaxation I even fell asleep in there one day, there is a games room and day guest area with chairs and sofas. Many of these rooms have complimentary ice cold water and orange juice.
The grounds are vast and look amazing, due to the great British weather we wasn't able to explore like we would have liked to, there was many seating areas with loungers and chairs and I can imagine it would be total bliss on a sunny day.
In the evening there are talks in the Boardroom, during our stay it was Beat stress, but the weekly list had a variety of talks such as meaning of dreams and bridge for beginners.
Overall - I can't think of one thing wrong with this place, it was a beautiful place, we were looked after so well and pampered to the highest standards. Every member of staff we came across was friendly and helpful. I would 100% recommend this resort to couples, singles or groups of friends. Whatever your agenda I guarantee you will find what you are looking for here.
I hope I will be able to go back one day, two of my friends have booked to go in a few weeks. Probably be a few years before I can afford to go back, I better start entering more competitions hahaha !