A few weekends ago, Ben and I had the ultimate date weekend. We booked in for a spa break at the beautiful Champneys Hotel in Tring, driving up early Saturday morning and checking in was a dream.
We crunched up the gravel driveway, welcomed by beautiful sunshine and autumnal leaves. Sports cars were parked on the lawn and a large marquee blasted the familiar sounds of 90’s pop bands and children’s songs while delicious smells of sizzling meats drifted over to us in the breeze.
We’d arrived on the same weekend of the Hike, Bike and Trike – a 10 mile challenge to raise cash for BBC Children in Need and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, so it was all go to make as much money as possible for some incredibly worthy causes.
Stepping into the entrance hall of the hotel however, was as though we had stepped into a haven of calm. The receptionist sat us down and swapped our coats and bags for a welcome drink while our things were whisked away to the room which was incredibly lovely, bright and spacious with a view of the main house and beautiful gardens. The bathroom was simple and not terribly special, but had a bath and his and hers sinks which was all we needed for a one night stay.
As the smell of burgers and hot dogs wafted into the room, we couldn’t resist dumping everything on the bed and heading out in search of lunch. As the heavens opened, we nestled into the big tent with our comforting burgers watching Matt Baker present the winners from the race that day while the rain roared down as loud as a waterfall.
Wine was served by donation so we sipped cold glasses of rose wrapped in blankets until the sun started to dip down and people started to drift out. Then it was time to sample the spa.
Wandering around a hotel in dressing gowns and slippers is not something I’m used to, but definitely something I endorse. It is so liberating and so lovely to see people wandering around makeup free, in a blissful daze. We soon joined them all in the waiting area, after a spell in the relaxation room rocking in the egg chairs and then our names were called. After a brief introduction from our therapist, we were led to our separate rooms and left to lie down.
Throughout the stay, I sadly only had one massage but it was an incredible experience. The massage bed was unlike any I’ve ever had. A soft, heated mattress that I practically melted into with a duvet style blanket over me. The room was warm and the mood lighting settled me into a calm zen-like state while my therapist got to work easing away the knots in my back.
I think massages are one of the only times I’m ever truly relaxed and let myself stop thinking about things. I manage to settle my mind into a hypnotic-like state where I drift in and out of consciousness and let the tension ease gently away. No wonder it’s been a method used for centuries. Massages are so good for both your mind and body, If I’m ever feeling unwell, I think it’s the best way to get back to feeling like myself again.
After the massage, I had booked myself in for a manicure and pedicure. If I’m really honest, this was not to the same standard as the massage and was a bit of a disappointment, especially as they’ve just had the most beautiful new nail bar and pedicure chairs fitted.
I didn’t have long after my mani/pedi before dinner so raced back to the room to change and arrived in the restaurant ready for a glass of prosecco.
Satin Shirt – Zara
The food at Champneys is planned and prepared by qualified Chefs and Nutritionists so that it’s fresh and healthy. They pride themselves on clean eating and aim to inspire guests to discover new approaches to healthy eating, creating new habits and routines.
I’m not sure why, but I wasn’t quite expecting there to not be a bar, although as Champneys is a Health spa, I can understand. Our dinner reservation was quite early so it just meant that when we’d finished our food at 9.30pm, there wasn’t much to do but head back to the room.
Luckily, the beds are extremely comfortable and we didn’t stir until the next morning, although sadly we didn’t get the memo that dressing gowns were acceptable at breakfast. Everyone looked seriously comfy and I looked incredibly overdressed with my makeup on and heeled boots.
With full tummies and our bags packed up, we checked out, but loved that we didn’t have to leave the hotel until 4pm that afternoon. We’d also scooped lunch included in our package so spent the beautiful morning wandering the grounds and making the most of the stunning scenery.
Wanting to ensure we got maximum spa time, we changed back into our dressing gowns and swimsuits and stretched out in the greenhouse on a sun lounger each reading books and magazines away from our phones and laptops. I actually drifted off at one point in the warmth of the suns rays to the sound of running water and the dim hum of conversations in the room.
I woke up to Ben gently nudging me to wake up for lunch. I truly don’t think I’ve slept so much in one weekend this year, it was bliss.
Lunch continued the relaxed theme as Ben and I had a table by the window to eat our healthy, but deliciously filling three course lunch people watching. Something we hadn’t noticed at breakfast or supper the night before was the big table in the middle of the room with a small notice that explained it was there for guests who were enjoying a spa break alone. Such a lovely idea considering a lot of individuals are highly likely to do just that and may want to meet others during meal times.
After recharging, it was time to make the short drive back to London, feeling more relaxed than we had done on honeymoon and ready for a brand new week.