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I had high hopes for the Champneys' spa retreat in Henlow based on their stellar reputation for 30 years and their brilliant range of beauty products. Upon arrival you are struck by the idyllic and picturesque setting with a beautiful lake and waterfall to admire. Even in the winter the scene was beautiful with the last hints of autumn.
I booked a night's stay with a friend - our room was very small but neat and the beds were comfortable. Our stay included dinner and breakfast though we skipped dinner as the menu was very dull and not substantial to fill the hunger pangs. I would categorise Champneys as a health farm more than a spa - there are gym facilities, bikes, classes and healthy eating.
The pool was pleasant, the jacuzzi was adequate (but very small) and the steam room was so-so but all in all, Champneys in Henlow is in desperate need of modernising and renovation, and is very small. It is not in line with the standard of other spas in the country - even gyms have better spa facilities. I also noticed wallpaper in corridors were peeling off and in need of repair.
It was also a hassle to leave deposits for things like borrowing a DVD to watch required £40 deposit to be left plus £4 rental charge. The selection wasn't great either (about 15 DVDs and all chick flicks!) Wifi was only available in the reception area, which was pointless and not in the rooms. Other spas offer wifi in rooms.
Considering how much Champneys charges to stay at their spa, I would feel short-changed. Breakfast, although healthy, was not filling at all (a few slices of toast, juice and coffee with the option of yoghurt and cereals). I am only relieved it cost me £60 for two people on their 30th anniversary Wahanda deal special. Any more and I would have been upset.
I left feeling like I had had a session at my gym rather than spent a night at a luxurious spa.