A first-rate spa resort surrounded by water walkways, set amongst 31 acres of rolling countryside, and starting out some 91 years ago by an eccentric Latvian massage pioneer – the original health resort Champneys hardly needs introducing.
There are four Champneys health spa resorts and six city spas spread across Britain, with Springs located outside Leicester and within a two-hour drive from Manchester. Here you can robe-up, relax and prepare for a pampered experience with friends or, if you prefer, enjoy a stay in complete solitude.
The Champneys approach is largely based on relaxation and wellbeing, and Springs (being the UK’s first purpose-built health spa) certainly does that job. However, that’s not to say that staying here isn’t without opportunities to break a sweat. Quite the opposite. There is an extensive programme of up to 20 classes per day – think Zumba, yoga and Pilates – run by experts, and there’s local hikes too. There are bikes to hire (for free) too, meaning you can break free and explore the pretty countryside nearby. Equally, there is a fully-equipped gym, tennis court and even a full-sized football pitch, which regularly plays host to national teams and clubs seeking a little something extra for their pre-competition preparation.
Spa guests can expect to choose from 80 different treatments, from massage and facials to wraps and scrubs, from well-known specialist brands such as Carita, Decléor, Elemis and Jessica. The ‘2 Hours Champneys Time’ is a favourite indulgent package, which includes a signature massage, facial and a Spa Heaven Cocoon – sending you off to a dreamy space of relaxation. For those looking for something alternative, they have expert-led treatments, such as specialist nutritional services or holistic services, including astrology, palmistry and psychic healing.
Overnight guests can enjoy remaining in their robes for breakfast and lunch, and if you happen to be alone, there’s a shared table where you can dine with other guests for company. For groups, there are plenty of social spaces for tea drinking and, after dinner, there are occasional talks on nutrition or master classes, which completes the entire experience.
A stay here won’t involve fasting or being hungry. The menus are carefully crafted to encourage guests to make healthy sensible choices – choices that suit their specific needs. They consider dietary requirements, health conditions, religious beliefs, intolerances and allergies – providing nutritional information wherever possible.
Champneys have also designed a ‘portion plate’, which is a way of helping their guests achieve a balance of nutrition by highlighting recommendations for each of the main food groups. Individuals differ in how much food they need, but proportions of food from the different groups should remain the same and, therefore, the plates are marked to guide guests towards a healthy, balanced diet. Sections include essential fats (think walnuts and flaxseed oil), fibre-rich carbohydrates (wholemeal pasta, brown rice and sweet potato), healthy protein (oily fish, lean meat and pulses) and non-starchy vegetables (asparagus, beetroot, baby corn, broccoli and mixed peppers).
There are two restaurants at Springs, both serving breakfast and lunch, and a coffee bar, which is open all day and offers healthy snacks, such as beetroot brownies and carrot energy balls.
Included in your stay is a breakfast served in a buffet style; starting with healthy juice shots and selection of hot and cold choices. The variety is enormous and includes Bircher mueslis, boiled eggs and salads – keeping everyone’s taste buds satisfied. Lunch is also buffet style, with plenty of salads, fresh fish and desserts. Light, vegan and vegetarian dishes are available, and kosher diets can be catered for upon request (four days’ notice is required) for an additional cost.
The evening menu is à la carte, with most guests choosing to dress up and some indulging in a glass of wine to two. The menu offers a ‘light’ option as well as upgrade options, such as fillet steak, for an extra cost.
Although the day spa visits are very popular, the overnight package or two-night Boot Camp offers excellent value for money.
On offer are 89 guest accommodations, ranging from economy rooms to roomy suites. Neutral hues and high-tech touches, like flat-screen TVs and DVD players, provide the rooms’ contemporary tone, and predominantly white bathroom interiors stylishly highlight vibrant bronze, gold, and brown mosaic tiles. Each room is en suite and comes with refreshment trays and Champneys products. Suites are distinctive in decor and furnishing, and many of the rooms on the ground or first floors provide a patio or balcony.
If you’re planning a hen weekend, their Boot Camp with Friends is a great opportunity for groups to share a special, memorable time together. Just gather eight friends or more to enjoy a unique mix of group activities, delicious cuisine and, of course, a little pampering over two days and nights – a great way to combine fitness and fun.
You’ll be welcomed by your dedicated Boot Camp team at 2pm on your first day, and can change into comfy flip-flops and spa robes. As well as up to six hours of exercise per day, including indoor and outdoor activities, you’ll also each have a Thalassotherapy pool session. You’ll leave Champneys – relaxed and rejuvenated – at around 4pm (your room checkout will be 11am).
The Group Girly Getaway day is a reasonable £59 per person (minimum of eight friends) and gives groups of girlfriends the opportunity to make amazing, lasting memories together. It can include fun fitness activities, for example, Fit Steps (based on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing), hula hooping, Zumba, Boot Barre and talks. There too will be plenty of amazing food to eat and indulgent treatments to enjoy.
A day visit for individuals starts from just £69 (check in at 9am, depart at 6pm) and overnight spa breaks are priced from £137.50 (check in at 2pm, depart at 11am). Prices include a range of classes, spa facilities and access to the gym, breakfast, lunch and dinner for those staying overnight, and lunch for those visiting for the day. Treatments are added at an additional cost.