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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- Also Known As:
- Champneys Forest Mere Health Hotel Liphook
- Champneys Forest Mere Health Liphook