After a month of stress, I thought a quite, solo, spa retreat was exactly what a girl needed to clear her head and after work colleagues and family friends raved about Champneys, I decided to give it a try in my hour of need!
Location:I will not lie to you reader and say that as I was driving through the Liphook forest, I was 100% convinced that my Google Maps knew where it was going. However, as I hesitantly followed its direction I saw a reassuring sign saying “relaxation this way”. From that moment on wards it was as if I had been teleported into another world- (Put down those harribo’s shalishah your not in Kansas anymore, kind of moment).
Champneys Forest Mere is situated on a hill overlooking the lake and surrounded by an abundance of cheerful greenery.
Overall: The Champneys is well situated with beautiful scenery and is well sign posted.
Arrival: Champneys staff was very accommodating allowing me to check in early as my massage was booked for 9:00am ( note to readers do not book last minute otherwise you be left with the ungodly hour time slots, like me). However, with the cost on £24 extra (which also included lunch) I was able to leave my bags behind the desk and use the facilities, my room however would still not be ready until 14:30. I was given a complimentary robe and flip flops(to keep) and a tour around Champneys.
Overall: Staff were very accommodating, they made me feel welcome and answered any questions I had. I do wish I could have checked in earlier then 14:30 which I understand was available on a VIP package (I haven’t made it there yet) but, with all the facilities on offer time goes very quickly.
The Massage: Being a person willing to try new unfamiliar things, I decided to be adventurous and try something other then your usual deep tissue massage and opt for a Reiki Massage. This promised me a soothed mind, calmed emotions and recharged batteries which, in my head said tick,tick,tick. My masseuse was called Fiona- she was lovely!Fiona was able to explain to me areas of my body which had the most tension such as my lower back and recommended other activities I could do in the spa
to carry on feeling relaxed.
Overall: My massage lasted for 50 wonderful minutes and was very relaxing, I left feeling very calm and less stressed. I do recommend this alternative massage as I am still feeling the benefits a few days after. Staff are very friendly and the massage room was clean however, I would have preferred a room with more colour or with mood lights, even though I do understand that the lights are off for the best part of it, so the brown bed sheets can perhaps be overlooked.
Facilities: Now for the good part- The facilities! All I can say is that I was not disappointed. After my massage which left me in a state of zen, I glided down the stars and through the doors of the Female Spa Changing rooms. Lockers were spacious and easy to work, and from a brief scan hairdryers, toilets and changing space was all up to scratch. With Grazia and ELLE ( magazines) in hand I headed out into the main Spa area.
The spa itself was not busy bearing in mind I attended on a Sunday, however you could easily tell that there would be enough room to still enjoy the experience. I started off in the Whirlpool to which I foolishly thought was a Hot tub until I saw the sign ‘This is not a Hot Tub’. Then ventured into the sauna, cold room (which allows you to cool down with snow), poolside thermal suite, the actual hot tub, steam room then cooled down with a refreshing rain forest shower. I am personally not much of a swimmer so did not go in to either the outside or inside pool but from observation was a good size and very clean. Instead I chose to retire on a waterbed for the remainder of my time building up to lunch.
Overall: Probably to date one of the best spas I have been to! The forest decor elements really created a retreat vibe and made you feel at home . There was enough space to sit down and as a solo spa goer I did not feel intimidated to go around and try, however, my highlight would have to be the water beds situated behind a glass sound proof door, laying on a fur blanket and putting the world to right whilst looking at this seasons must haves and listening to the grateful album of DJ Khaled- perfect!
Food: I was intrigued to see what Champneys would serve me as when booking I was promised a nutritious and tasty meal- Boy were they right! For lunch, there was so much variety and had the choice of salads, vegetables, and a beef roast (after all it was Sunday) all served as a buffet. Champneys generously map out your plate with a section for all the nutritious goodies they were serving, however, I had already piled my plate up with juicy, mouthwatering beef and potato and a small but reasonable spoon of cranberry and beetroot couscous, I only saw this healthy guide after I finished my meal (oops). For desert, I had a mango pudding and a helping of mixed fruits.
Dinner was amazing, the ambience had changed from everyone eating in their Champneys robes and flip-flops to a much more formal but friendly atmosphere to suit the a la carte menu. Service was fast and the meals where once again very delicious.
Overall: My dining experience was fabulous! The food was delicious and catered for everyone with their extensive menu. My Lemon meringue dessert with coconut was definitely a highlight. Restaurant staff was very friendly, service was at a reasonable pace and I was not made to feel uncomfortable as a solo diner. You do need to book dinner in advance which can be done at the reception.
The Room: Now for the main event, my overnight headquarters. After long awaiting the words “Your room is ready,” I was finally let into my room. I was in a standard room with a Garden view. On a beautiful day as it was, this was very well suited. The room itself was clean and laid out beautiful. It came equip with hairdyer, mirror, USB plugs, seating area and TV (great as love Island was airing at 9pm #priorities) Bathroom was brilliant, complimentary champneys showergel etc, lovely overhead shower (spacious) and the usual towels etc.
Overall: This room was perfect for what I needed, there were extra robes, flip flops. towels and was an extremely comfortable stay.
If you haven’t already guessed, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Champneys Forest Mere. Although I did not get a chance to take advantage off all this resort had to offer such as the fitness classes, gym, cycling and boat hire, Champneys gave me exactly what I came for which was to leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Not only was the food a massive hit and definitely worth it, the spa experience was by far one of my favourites and can’t wait to plan my next trip.