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“Very disappointing - run down and not relaxing”

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Champneys Forest Mere
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Liphook
Certificate of Excellence
Reading, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Very disappointing - run down and not relaxing”
Reviewed 3 May 2012

I recently went for a one night break at Champneys with my husband. When we arrived, just before 2pm we were told that we had missed the all inclusive buffet lunch. This is apparently only served from 12.30 to 1.30 but no-one had bothered advising us of this when we booked! However there were sandwiches available and we were not charged for those (which were nice but lacked filling).

When we checked in we were disappointed with the room (Standard) which was tatty with a terrible lumpy mattress and missing light bulbs. It was pretty dingy and worst of all (Which seems to be a common complaint from reviewers) there was no water in the room, not even to purchase. There were tea and coffee making facilities but no milk so that was a let down as well.

The robes were missing from our room so it was a trip for reception to collect those.

The ladies 'spa' was non existence - it is (usually) contained in the changing rooms but was being refurbished (again not something I was made aware of upon booking). Not only were workmen in and out of the area all day but the stream room, sauna and Jacuzzi were all out of order. Given that the resorts sells itself not just on fitness but relaxation and spa facilities this is quite a big let down (although I personally couldn't have used the spa facilities anyway I was still very surprised none were available)

The swimming pool was average (not nearly as nice as the pictures purport it to be) and there was an aqua aerobics class being held at one end whilst we were in the pool! This made it impossible to relax due to loud music and the instructor shouting directions. In any event there was only 5/6 sun loungers in the pool area so a distinct lack of space to sit and relax with a book or magazine.

Generally there wasn't really any nice quiet areas to sit and read a book and my husband ended up going back to the room to read whilst I had a treatment. The pool lounge is full of horrible yellow leather sofas and the atmosphere is just not one of calm and relaxation. The only other area I noted for 'relaxing' was located in the reception area.

The 'relaxation rooms' also contained in the changing rooms were rubbish and consisted of couple of lounger beds covered in bedding (with towels next to them) in a dark and not particularly nice room. After one look into the room I just didn't bother going in any further.

The food at dinner was average (and cold) and very small portions lacking in carbs/calories. When the idea is to spend the day relaxing or exercising I expected to have filling (as well as healthy) food. I was actually pregnant during my stay and certainly there was not enough food to feel as though I had the required amount of calories (and no options for any extra). Maybe if I had not missed the buffet lunch there would have been more food available!

I had a treatment which was very nice but that was really the only positive thing about the entire visit. My husband was so disappointed (thinking he was treating us to some luxury as a final break before we become parents) that he didn't even want to stay the night. We only live one hour away so ended up going home after dinner for a good nights sleep in our own bed. On the way home he was so hungry that he stopped at KFC for much needed food! The bedroom at Champneys was literally on a par with a Travel Lodge (albeit at a Travel Lodge you would get water, milk and light bulbs!)

I must mention that when we checked out early and gave our reasons for doing so the we were not charged for my treatment (£55) to try and make up for the disappointment - this was a nice and unprompted gesture.

Overall I cannot recommend this resort for spa/relaxation. If the goal was to get lots of exercise at the gym and classes available it may be more enjoyable/worthwhile but the accommodation and food would still be disappointing.

My husband describes this experience as "a very expensive swim" and somewhere that is no more impressive than a leisure centre. I have to agree and I have certainly been to many hotels which have better spa facilities than Champneys.

Finally, I also want to comment on the lack of water available, which is contrary to the health and well being which is promoted by the resort.
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank PeeBee33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (592)
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English first
london
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2012

Fantastic food and great staff offering a very friendly and laid back atmosphere. I have visited 3 of the Champenys resorts and this is by far the best! I will definitely return in the future.

The fitness instructors were all very helpful and not the usual egotistical type of instructor I have encountered elsewhere.

The rooms were clean and comfortable, with lovely bathrooms. The view from the room was lovely, looking out over the lake.

The evening entertainment with Alan and the piano was such a laugh and he kept the whole room entertained.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank PaminLondonLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portsmouth
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 19 April 2012

My husband booked a two night stay, starting on the 31st of March. We stayed in the Saville Suite. The room was lovely, very spacious and spotlessly clean.On arrival we found the staff to be very friendly and helpful, as were all the staff that we encountered during our weekend. We had fresh fruit, bottled water and newspapers delivered to our room daily (as included in the room package). I have to say that further to other review, I was a little worried about our up and coming visit; however once there I can truly say that there was nothing I could see that would encourage me to write a bad review. Special mention with regard to restaurant service and food; this was excellent and a special thank you to Nela for a very relaxing massage and lovely facial.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank JPC62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level 5 Contributor
37 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 April 2012

Hello,

Back on the 1st January 2012 I booked a 4 day spa break at Champneys Forest Mere.

Unfortunately the stay fell short of our expectations but at the end of the stay I had a discussion with the customer liaison manager, Mavis Baird and she kindly offered us a complimentary one night stay in the future.

We decided to use the complimentary stay over the easter weekend. From check-in the service was excellent and Mavis was there to greet us when we checked in. She had made time changes for our spa treatments last minute as we were running late and she made restaurant reservations and put us in a nice spacious premier room within the resort. We felt this was over and above the service we had received back in January.

The food was varied and healthy and the service in the restaurant was quick and efficient. I would recommend the Terrace restaurant, its nice to look out on the lake however a little cold in the winter.

The spa treatments were excellent, we booked the Elemis deep tissue massage, bright eyes, and head in the clouds. All were excellent however if you want an intensive massage the Elemis deep tissue is the best.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ap1rocks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hants
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 March 2012

I was offered a chance to visit Champneys for a long weekend, previous guests are offered a voucher for a return trip - and an aunt of mine visits often as a carer of an elderly lady, and it was offered to my Sister and I as a Christmas gift. So the three of us decided to go for a "girlie weekend".

Two weeks prior to our arrival I emailed our required treatment requirements - given that we had booked over a weekend this was recommended - since weekends are generally busy. This was planned as a short vacation for me, and I decided not only to plan treatments for me, but also to buy some treatments for my sister. I'd also asked that, as it was my sisters birthday the following week, for "anything with a candle" to be brought out as a little surprise on the Saturday night dinner. I received and email confirming receipt of my emailed requirements, but was advised that these had been forwarded to another department to be dealt with. Two days in I emailed again and asked to receive confirmation that my treatments had been booked.I received an email back saying that some of my requirements could not be booked - these were nutritional assessments, cholesterol tests etc. I emailed yet again to ask that everything *else* was as per my email, and was told "Yes".

We're all set! Approx £1000 of treatments booked, my sisters birthday candle arranged. It was going to be lovely.

On the day we decided to arrive in the morning to explore and we arrived at about 11am. As there was limited parking we parked in the staff car park where we saw other guests parking, and the receptionist looked quite put out that we had entered the receiption via a different door, saying something about where we "must have parked". On check in we were handed our robes and slippers and treatment schedules and were advised that as we had arrived early there would be a charge of £24.95 per person.

Upon inspection of the schedules I discovered that several of mine and my sisters treatments were missing, and so instead of a relaxing "poodle about" we spent the time in another department trying to put this right. In the end we had to sacrifice some of the treatments. This was a disaster to me as I had been given the task of booking everyones treatments and I was mortified. At no time at all were we offered any kind fo apology or kind word, and that just made it all the worse for me. I was, justifiably or not, now slightly dreading the weekend.

We had our little explore. In every shelf and alcove were displays of Champneys own brand toiletry products - which were pleasant enough but a bit dated (plus these products being dispensed en-masse in the changing rooms made them come across as a bit cheap - even though these facilities were quite thoughtful). There was a gift shop on both the ground and the first floor. The ground floor gift shop was, as you'd expect, ridiculously overpriced (undoubtedly priced correctly for the 'typical' clientele). There were some "Champneys" tshirts in there which looked and felt like they were made for 0.20p in China (and were NOT on sale for 0.20p....). Swimsuits for £55.00 UPwards and some other nick-naks and trivia, few pleasant bits of jewellery, souvenirs etc. Champneys own-brand gift sets, not much thought gone into the gift shop. Expected more (luxury toasty sleep masks, for instance, heatable shoulder bean-bag type things, heatable pillows etc things to promote rest and relaxation) just felt a bit like a captive audience coming out of there. And WATER, much much more WATER should have been on offer!

For treatments, guests had a "waiting room" from which they were collected - one room for surnames A to H, another for H to M etc. These were comfortable, clean lounges - though a bit dated, and the signed pictures of dated tv "celebrities" on the wall I personally found a bit "naff" and not really the image I'd expected Champneys to be portraying. There were refreshments offered in these small rooms by way of a jug of water however the cone cups meant (intentionally or not) that you could not put them down anywhere and so had to drink all at once. I am personally very VERY passionate about water, and I had expected much much more water to be on offer than it was.

For my 2pm "Head in the Clouds" treatment, the technician who collected me was very pleasant, asking whether this was my first time here, how long I was staying for, what treatments I had booked, had I travelled far. I had hoped that this treatment would be similar to the head massage you get in the hairdressers while your conditioner is on - bliss - as it turned out it was very nice but no wow-factor here really and I tried desperately to get "into" the whole experience. 25 mins: £35.00

For my 3pm eyebrow shape the technician who collected me was very pleasant, asking whether this was my first time here, how long I was staying for, what treatments I had booked, had I travelled far. As I'd expected I was asked what shape I prefer and I asked for "tidy, nothing too angular, and not too thin". My lady said she would go so far and then give me a mirror to check. I absolutely loathe to have to have a whinge about such a small procedure, BUT her plucking was SO s-l-o-w-w-w-w and what is expectedly a painful procedure anyway just made it worse - it wasn't even plucking - it was pull-hair-out-slowly torture method. True to her word, she handed me a mirror to check and it looked like she hadn't done anything, I actually had to ask her to tidy up the top-line! I've never (in 20 years I've had my eyebrows plucked) had to ask for further tidy-up. Gosh. Anyway good job slowly and painfully done. 15min £15.00

For the 4pm pedicure I had asked in my email (which was confirmed) that all three of us would have a pedicure on the first day together. I thought it might be a "bit of girly fun", but of course, since the bookings were quite disastrously not-booked, our last minute fix meant that only my sister and I could go in together. And we were sat apart. I asked whether we could be seated together and was categorically told "no" and that "we are very busy" and this made me sad.

We were seated in those big american type pedicure chairs which were pleasant enough, however didn't "close" properly and so felt quite "perched" the whole time. The treatment was called "foot heaven" and so I expected a cosmic pedicure: Full and complete exfoliation, hot soak, cuticles to perfection, and serious foot massage.

The technician was pleasant enough (was asked again whether this was my first time here, how long I was staying for, what treatments I had booked, had I travelled far), but kept looking at her watch and the whole experience felt rushed. At one stage one of the towels accidentally slipped into the water and she was noticably put out, saying twice "I'll have to get another towel now".

My cuticle on my left foot was cut so close it was sore for the rest of the weekend and she used a metal file on areas of my feet that didn't need it and it actually hurt at one point. Not quite the heaven I was looking for. I was mostly looking forward to the wax wrap - when feet are wrapped in strips of paraffin wax and put into little heated bootees - the pair she almost put on my feet were faulty and the technician burnt her hand when checking the heat - so spent five minutes of my time showing the other technicians how dangerously hot the bootee was and looking for another pair.

These were cold of course, as she had to plug the new pair in - so I didn't get to enjoy warm toasty wax wrap at all. I was generally left with a "just get it over with" feeling. The massage was rushed and a bit dull. I was pleasant and didn't complain, despite walking out with a sore toe. What was supposed to be a happy-fun girly treat was just turning into something mediocre, rushed, painful and impersonal. 1hr £45.00

Other treatments I had:

Lash Extensions £75.00 (Though they looked okay when done, despite following instructions to the letter, a whole block of them have fallen out, two days on - my last set lasted 4 weeks or more before they were noticable "gaps")

Reflexology: £65.00 (nice, definitely felt a little 'different', though promises of leaving "floating on air" not really realistic)

Elemis Visible Brilliance Facial (lovely hand-neck-head-massage during this treatment, skin felt pleasant afterwards, and given a list of about £300 worth of products to buy for home!)

And so to our rooms, these were very beautiful, very clean, furnished very well and we had beautiful views of the lake. Very lovely. No complaints there at all. Our rooms, and indeed everywhere on the complex was very warm and comfortable. Lovely heavy black-out curtains really made for a good nights sleep, just lovely.

The dinner in the restaurant that night was beautiful. Three course, 'just-right' portions and very interesting, VERY tasty, healthy food. Throughout the trip in fact. I suppose if I had any complaint it would be that the staff seemed a bit "stingey" with the water. Kept having to ask for top-ups. A medium carafe between three of us when I could possibly polish that off during the starter. At a health spa we should be drowning in it. (I suppose by the end of this review one might wish I did).

And, sadly, no candle appeared, though I can't expect them to remember something I asked for in an email two weeks prior can I?

The grounds were beautifully kept, the fitness rooms, changing rooms and the swimming pool was immaculate (though the indoor pool could have been a degree or two warmer - b-r-r-r!) Lovely clean saunas and steam rooms, toilets throughout were very clean. I really liked the femaled changing area having mirrors, hairdryers, cleanser, toner, moisturiser on tap, cotton pads, fresh towels galore and stools to sit at mirror - perfect and very well thought out.

Could maybe have been a couple more changing cubicles - not everyone likes wobbling around getting into knickers with people looking on - not that they would of course but you get my drift!

The fitness instructors sounded immensely knowledgeable and, while I didn't partake that particular weekend - the classes looked interesting and the instructors thoughtful, attentive and professional.

As far as activities go there was an absolute WEALTH, just about everything you could imagine doing there was available in some form or another and in fact it's worth some careful scheduling before you go just to make sure you can fit it all in!

Its really a shame thats the booking disaster meant our trip kicked off with a very disappointed feeling and some of the treatments were rushed and very under-par.

A tiny bit of attention to detail would go a long way to making Champneys a place I would visit again. However, if its cosmetic treatments you're after, absolutely don't bother - short of being a good place to take granny for a foot rub - the grass is definitely not greener at Champneys;

Overall the lack of thoughtfulness and attention to detail made the trip quite disappointing.

If it's peace, rest, scenery and nice food, it's definitely worth a look. But take a crate of water.

Room Tip: Ask for a ground floor room - you get a little terrace outside, some with a view of the beautiful la...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Sam D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Surrey, UK
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 March 2012

During the initial tour of the facilities, I tripped over some uneven carpet on the way to the restaurant area and fell heavily on my knee. I spent most of the day in the steam room and sauna and upon leaving, made sure my fall was recorded for Health & Safety reasons - which it was. 5 months later and after numerous visits to a physiotherapist, 2 visits to a consultant and an MRI scan, I am still have major problems with my knee. I am incredibly disappointed that a company of this standing has not seen fit to reply to any of my 3 letters, nor to take any responsibility for my accident. A poor job and serious safety concerns for visitors.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
15 Thank Jenga22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Weymouth, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 March 2012

During my recent weekend break at Champneys, I was looking forward to a relaxing break, but I am afraid my experience was far from relaxing.

On my second day, I was very upset by the inexcusable customer service received by staff within the Fitness and Wellbeing suite. I was totally humiliated in front of several guests - their attitude was dismissive and condescending.

I made the difficult decision to write a letter to the manager, which was passed over to the Fitness and Wellbeing Manager. I was contacted by him by telephone asking what had happened, he apologised for my bad experience BUT that was it !!!!!!

Surely with such a complaint I should have been dealt with more professionally. The whole experience was sole destroying as we only had one full day at Champneys which was completely ruined.

Also the Fitness areas were COLD....

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Cheryl T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Champneys Forest Mere

Property: Champneys Forest Mere
Address: Forest Mere Portsmouth Road, Liphook GU30 7JG, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Hampshire > Liphook
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Liphook
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Champneys Forest Mere 4*
Number of rooms: 87
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Also Known As:
Champneys Forest Mere Health Hotel Liphook
Champneys Forest Mere Health Liphook

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