Considering how lazy we essentially are we had never done a proper spa weekend until just last week when we took a long-awaited trip with our friends (and fellow sister combo) Terri and Sarah ahead of Terri’s 30th next weekend.
After much trawling online (on poor birthday girl Terri’s part) we decided to go for Champneys Springs in Leicestershire after hearing some great reviews – and we weren’t disappointed.
We arrived at 3pm on Friday to a fruity watermelon and ginger welcome drink while a pre-meltdown Bieber reception clerk took our bags to our rooms. After a guided tour of the facilities we were told it was a mobile-free zone to encourage ultimate relaxation without distractions – so it took real dedication to capture the clandestine images you see before you (if you’re reading this Maggie from the front-of-house team – nice try).
We’d booked a package deal which included two 25-minute treatments of our choice, a three-course evening meal, breakfast and a buffet lunch the next day as well as full use of all the spa facilities and a gift set each to take home.
Wasting no time, we threw on our robes and flip flops and padded off for our treatments – which they’d handily arranged to take place at the same time. We all went for a facial and massage combo and loved them (Terri even managed to wangle me an extra treatment the following day after my therapist didn’t get the pregnancy memo and had to race around in a panic to find the appropriate props).
What we all liked about Champneys was that you could do as much or as little as you fancied. There was an action packed class schedule, most of which you could do for no extra charge, and activities a-plenty if you’re the energetic sort.
Pre-pregnancy I’d probably have done more but me and Terri took it fairly easy enjoying some swimming and (let’s be honest here Tez) a total of 12 minutes in the gym.
On the other hand, Chaz and Sarah threw themselves into things whole-heartedly. They hired bikes for a 7.30am jaunt to the nearby town of Packington (Terri and I enjoyed the snapchat proof they’d made it as we lazily sipped green tea in bed) and only narrowly missed out on a hotly anticipated pickleball tutorial.
Their disappointment that the latter was fully booked was matched only by their sheer joy when they discovered the door to the pool’s equipment storeroom had been left ajar.
Onto the most important factor – the food. We were so impressed with the selection on offer for health freaks – you’d struggle to eat unhealthily, though we did give it our best shot by taking several trips up to the lunchtime buffet.
For our three course evening meal we sampled a veggie soup, goat’s cheese salad and an orange, walnut and pomegranate salad for starters; hake and salmon mains with tasty sides like sweet potato mash and pea puree, and the best mango cheesecake I’ve ever had (and I have had a few) with an oaty flapjacky base. The veggie options were great which made a nice change.
Breakfast – always our favourite part of a hotel stay – was a treat. We were spoilt for choice but went for overnight bircher oats, granola, fruit, yogurt and granary toast with their homemade hazelnut butter (yum). I’d love to say the breakfast shot revved us up on a natural high but after Chaz’s gagtastic reaction to it the rest of us sidled back to our table without indulging.
Lunch was the stuff of Kings and Greens dreams – huge bowls of all kinds of greens, the best noodle salad any of us had ever tasted, halloumi skewers that even converted cheese-hater Terri, quinoa galore and some incredible homemade carrot and beetroot butters with rye bread (Chaz had managed to accumulate about five of the little dishes they came in by the end of the meal so she’ll attest to their tastiness).
There were plenty of additional options at breakfast if you paid a supplement – being freeloaders we didn’t go for them, but the banana nut protein pancakes and avo eggs on toast combos tempted us. Smoothies were also available to order any time during the day (again, we were too busy glugging the free iced lemon water plus we’d had an amazing smoothie experience at our lunch venue – which deserves a separate post of its own).
Not totally zen behaviour but Friday evening saw us storm to victory at a charity quiz – slightly weird for a spa but it was great fun and we didn’t even end up having time to watch the DVDs Terri had brought along because there was so much to do (such a shame – I was SO looking forward to seeing Frozen for the first time).
We zinged out of the building feeling genuinely chilled out and chirpy – the former being a huge challenge for stresshead Terri so anyone who knows her will appreciate this is no mean feat (the Kings have no trouble relaxing). We were lucky to have amazing weather so it really felt like a mini holiday.
All in all it was well worth the £200 ish we paid each for so much amazing food and relaxation – perfect little jaunt for a catch up with mates, a low-key hen do, treating your mum or a chilled little getaway with a loved one.
We’ve got the spa bug now – any other recommendations?