Champneys Henlow Grange, Bedfordshire
Date: April 11, 2014
We asked two members of our GentleParenting team to test the spa day experiences on offer at Champneys Henlow Grange, here are their thoughts:
Catherine, mother to an 12 month old baby
My first impression was of the lovely grounds with an impressive fountain on the gravel forecourt. On arrival I was told I had a Day Room and was offered refreshments, given a free gift bag and then shown to the changing rooms to collect my robe and flip flops (I can keep the flip flops!). All the staff were incredibly helpful when it was noticed that an error had been made with my treatment itinerary, but things were hastily re-arranged so I didn’t miss out on any treatments.
I enjoyed the Thalassotherapy Pool treatment where jet streams of warm relaxing mineral salt water was a nice and invigorating start to the day. The pool was quite small however and the paint was peeling around the window frames, so it looked a bit shabby.
I freshened up in a very clean, comfortable and modern day room before heading over to the restaurant for lunch. The hot and cold buffet was laid out well and the food on offer was very colourful and inviting with lots of healthy options available.
After lunch I had a Hot Stone Full Body Massage, which was utterly delightful! The therapist explained everything well and was discreet and respectful. I felt very comfortable and thoroughly enjoyed the session and felt so relaxed – this treatment alone was worth the entire trip!
I then had a tea break with a slice of homemade chocolate and beetroot cake before my final treatment of the day, an Aroma therapy wrap. This was quite a short treatment and after dry skin brushing I had black pepper oil applied and a blanket draped over me. However, the Therapist actually forgot to wrap me in the plastic I was lying on which was disappointing as the whole point is to be wrapped up in plastic to enable the oils to be absorbed into the skin better.
I was quite interested in buying some of the Champneys products used in my treatments but I made my way to the shop at 4.30pm only to find it had closed, so again I was a bit disappointed.
I had an enjoyable, relaxing day at Champneys Spa, however, it did not have a particularly “luxurious” feel about it as unfortunately it quite tired and shabby in some areas. The pool area, fitness studios and gym are bright and fresh but the old house has long, dark corridors and the lounges were very antique orientated and probably would not much appeal to younger clientele. Decleor, Elemis and Champneys were the only choice of products for beauty treatments too so newer brands could be incorporated to appeal to younger market.
I would visit Henlow Grange again and recommend it to friends as it would be a great day out for Grandmothers, Mothers and Daughters or older couples to enjoy together – generally a very nice and relaxing experience.
Lorraine and her 7 month baby bump
With four children aged 8 and under, and being 34 weeks pregnant – I think it is fair to say I was very much looking forward to my visit to Champney’s Henlow Grange!
I was booked in to have a “beautiful bump” treatment, and I called the day before to also pre-book a facial and pedicure. The building and grounds looked very impressive upon arrival and certainly added to the relaxing ambience. The interior is, however, undeniably a little tired. There was evidence of some renovation work taking place and, although this meant I was unable to use the conservatory during my visit, it didn’t detract from the experience.
I was also allocated a room for use throughout the day, and the décor here was certainly more modern and fresher. The bed was comfortable and the room itself was clean and tidy.
Lunch was buffet style, and there was a large selection of hot and cold food, soup and also dessert. I also sampled the ginger cake and pumpkin seed cookies during my stay and they were all delicious and filling.
The treatments themselves were truly relaxing. The beautiful bump treatment in particular was absolutely blissful! It begins with a foot soak and back massage. This is done with you sitting on the couch and leaning forwards over a pillow, so there is no need to worry about how your growing bump is going to be accommodated. I hold a lot of tension in my shoulders and lower back, so it was fabulous to have these areas treated to relieve the muscle tension there. The remainder of the treatment is performed with you lying on the treatment couch. You are not laid down completely flat, and rolled towels etc can be used to support your lower back and behind your knees, so that you are as comfortable as possible. I’d like to tell you the exact sequence of events that followed, but I confess to being very deeply relaxed (I managed not to snore!). My bump was massaged and baby certainly seemed to enjoy the sensation too. My arms, hands, legs and feet received attention next – I was surprised at how much lighter my legs felt afterwards. It was during the shoulder, neck and scalp massage that I almost drifted off to sleep. The whole treatment certainly felt very pampering, relaxing and comforting. The products used smelt heavenly, which is a relief as my sense of smell has become somewhat overactive in pregnancy!
I had a thoroughly enjoyable day – I would only recommend pre booking all your treatments to ensure that you are able to receive all that you would like, as the spa was very busy. On the day I visited, I was unable to book a further treatment as there were no more appointments available. The staff were all very welcoming and helpful, polite and courteous when handling queries. I would definitely recommend as a pre-birth pampering treat.
The Champneys, Henlow, pamper day costs £149 and includes use of resort facilities, access to classes, hot & cold buffet lunch, 25 mins Thalassotherapy pool session and a choice of 25 minute massage, facial, wrap or scalp massage.