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Breaking Travel News Review: Spa breaks at Champneys Tring

Breaking Travel News Review: Spa breaks at Champneys Tring

While journalists were working themselves into a lather over the resignation of Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson earlier this year it is hard to imagine the news creating much of a stir at Champneys Tring.

Stephenson felt it necessary to step down from his position after accepting £12,000 worth of free hospitality at the health spa from managing director Stephen Purdew.

But the world of media exposés, political machinations and official denials could not seem more distant on arrival.

Instead a quiet sense of privileged relaxation pervades as guests gently sip herbal tea while considering whether to take a dip in the thalassotherapy pool.

Indeed, facilities here are generally second to none.

Thalassotherapy takes its place alongside everything from manicures and facials to a range of indulgent treatments including massage, exfoliation and relaxing body wraps.

Specialist Carita facials, kriotherapy, and physiotherapy are also available to everybody from fallen sports stars to the humble public.

A personal favourite is the large outdoor Jacuzzi which allows guests to take in the elaborately groomed gardens while they soak. A nearby outdoor cheese board also offers a workout for the mind.

I also enjoyed a full-body massage – keeping it simple – as a sure fire way to relieve the stresses of life in the capital.

Sections of the original Rothschild Mansion are still in use here at Champneys with an antique lined games room giving an air of grandeur while guests are also invited to take tea in the graceful drawing room.

Many guests seem content to while away the hours here by the fireplace or strolling through the grounds, but tennis, cycling and personal training are available for the more athletic.

A fully equipped gym, swimming pool and activity schedule - ranging from dynamic aerobics and yoga to meditation, Pilates and Tai Chi – are also on offer as would be expected at any self-respecting resort.

Set in 170 acres of rolling parkland, Champneys is a quintessentially English resort but attracts a very international crowd.

The website translates into both Arabic and Russian, offering a hint to the clientele, while the occasional celebrity can be seen in the more secluded corners nursing themselves back to health.

All 92 bedrooms are beautifully appointed – but request a garden view from a room in the mansion if possible.

Lunch is a health focused buffet, with helpful pointers on the plate reminding guests of the key components of a balance diet. Nutrition is again the focal point of the evening meal, but not to the detriment of flavour, with wine on offer, although there is no bar.

If it all gets a bit too much, the local Greyhound pub in nearby Wiggington will serve you a pint, no questions asked!

There are a few ripples on this placid lake though.

With rooms running past £500 a night, you might expect the odd DVD (£4.50 for a 24-hour hire) to be included in the price, or to be offered more than cereal at breakfast (poached eggs from £2.50).

Why not just bump the price up a fraction and remove these annoyances? 

Warnings that a £25 charge will be added to your account if you fail to hand over your mandatory robe on departure can also be safely dispensed with; conjuring up images as they do of guests hightailing it along the manicured driveway with gowns billowing in the wind.

Therapists are also not above pushing products on you during treatments as well, which many would argue can be counterproductive to relaxation.

That said, these minor annoyances are just that, minor.

A sense of serene calm is my lasting impression of Champneys Tring, just be careful to check who pays for your stay!

More Information

Prices at Champneys Tring start at £169 per person per night - this includes unlimited use of the facilities, up to 20 difference classes per day, dinner, breakfast and lunch.

Treatments prices start at £30.

Head over to the Champneys website for more information.

Chris O’Toole