Back in March, I had a lovely few days of well earned relaxation, at Champneys Spa Forest Mere. I went for a lovely break with Fay, her mum and a few of her mums friends. It was second visit to the spa as I had visited a few years ago for a day trip. There is nothing nicer than driving into the countryside and just switching off from the daily grind.
I’m going to do a couple of posts about our trip, but today I thought I’d share a review of our experiences and share my thoughts on what to expect when you visit. I’ve broken it down into sections as its a bit of a mixed bag.
The location just can’t be beaten. About an hour away from London, the resort is situated near Liphook, in the Hampshire countryside. The beautiful building is reached up a winding path through woodland and farmland. The grounds are simply stunning. The main building over looks a tranquil lake and beyond the sprawling lawns you are surrounded by trees. The fresh air is simply wonderful and the gorgeous view fills you with a sensation of instant calm. The surroundings really give you that sense of getting away from it all and it really is the perfect place to relax.
The Hotel and Spa
The building is attractive, very clean and the decoration is comfortable and cosy. There are lots of little rooms to escape to with a book and it was lovely to just sit in a chair with my book or laptop and take in the gorgeous view through the windows. (photos above and below by Fay)
The spa and swimming pool area are fantastic, there are plenty of chairs and beds to put your feet up and relax and recharge. We spent a lot of our time just lying on the heated water beds in the quiet room, reading and napping. This was my favourite part of the stay, as a very busy person, I found doing absolutely nothing to be the most luxurious part.
There are also jacuzzis, hot rooms, steam rooms a refreshing ice room and rain showers to enjoy. We made full use of these and it made us feel great.
There are also plenty of gym, facilities and fitness classes if that’s your thing, for me the trip was all about relaxing and being lazy, so I didn’t actually give these a try.
Our room was everything we could want and need. It was a reasonably good size, with a nice big TV, lots of mirrors and storage and an en suite bathroom with a fabulous shower with some serious water pressure! It had French doors which opened up onto a little patio with seating, this is something I’d definitely make use of in the summer. My only complaint about the room, would be how hard the beds were, those mattresses were beyond firm and would benefit from mattress covers for sure!
When we arrived the wardrobes contained our robes and flip-flops for our stray, we were provided with a very small size and after a quick call to reception we were brought a larger size with no hassle.
The rooms were kept immaculate by the cleaning staff throughout the stay. The housekeeping team were absolutely fantastic and so friendly, they do such a good job. We were sure to leave them a tip and a thank you note at the end of our stay to show our appreciation.
This is the area in which our stay fell short and was a big disappointment. Not long after arriving we headed to the treatment reception to book ourselves in for a massage and facial.Unfortunately we were informed that for the whole 3 day duration of our stay, no treatments were available. We were told that to ensure being seen we should have booked in advance. Unfortunately this was the first we’d heard of it and we were so disappointed. It would have been slightly better if the staff had been at all apologetic, but we actually felt that they were a bit rude and unpleasant. We tried really hard to not let it put a dampener on our break, but unfortunately it did a bit.
Being a spa and health resort, everything on the menu is super healthy. All our meals were included with our stay. Our first meal was dinner, which is served from an extensive menu, which includes a starter, main and dessert. Breakfast and lunch were both served at buffets, with absolutely loads of choice, we took full advantage and tried absolutely everything! There are a few options which incur a small extra charge. I took lots of pictures of my food on my phone.
If you want to take the pamper experience home with you, there is a fabulous Champneys shop on site, selling clothing, accessories and beauty products as well as a Decleor and Elemis concessions.
Having not spent any money on treatments, I had a little spare cash to treat myself to a few goodies in the shops. The staff were really helpful, especially in Elemis. We asked the assistant lots of questions about our skincare needs and she was just fantastic and really knew her products. I’m going to do a separate post with my haul in the next few weeks.
Although the trip wasn’t perfect, it was still a great experience. Much of this was the surroundings and the company. Going to a spa with lovely people is what really makes it perfect. Me and Fay had lots of giggles and it was just so nice to have a little getaway. I will absolutely be back and I will be sure to book my treatments beforehand.
I’m going to write a little guide on what to pack for a spa break and some other useful information, so if you have any questions or anything you’d like to know, please post in the comments and I’ll try to cover everything for you.
Lastly I’d like to say such a big thank you to Fay and her mum for taking this tired mummy somewhere beautiful and for being fabulous company!
Find out more about the spa on the Champneys website.
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