Friday, 10 November 2017

Champneys Forest Mere : A Bloke's Perspective on Spa life

The following post has been written by my new husband, Dean. I love saying that :D Anyway, here's some words from him.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one…. A bloke walks into a SPA….

Okay it was a "we", it wasn’t just me, it was Vikki and I (or should I say my wife and I having been married a mere 24 hours before hand), eagerly making our way through the automatic doors of the hotel spa wide-eyed; and in my case looking rather confused about the number of people wandering about in bath robes looking all very relaxed (good sign) with a subtle aroma of something from the aromatherapy (something about nice smells) counter. 
Obligatory wedding photo
This was our ‘mini moon’ or escape from all of the previous weeks preparation for and focus on our big day. The opportunity for endless relaxation and healthy living, complimented with an abundance of healthy activities to while away the hours until reality came back around to bring us back to ‘normality’ when work beckoned on Tuesday for me or Monday night Boxercise class for Vikki. 

The chap on the reception was quick to offer some ‘complimentary’ juice concoction which was nice and we had a whistle-stop tour of the venue before leaving us to our own devices until our room became ready. We quickly made ourselves familiar with the activities on offer and took to opportunity to book a spin session for the following morning and eyed up a yoga class and HIIT class and perused the spa treatments before heading to our room. 

The venue itself is set back in several acres of woodland with a lake, which made for very nice views of the numerous geese. The building(s) are essentially a coming together of old manor house with large open fires, orangery and classical board games room with modern hotel which included pools, spa pools, hot/cold rooms, sauna, gym and several studios for the other classes and two restaurants. A fusion of new and old creating an odd mix of ‘old retreat’ and ‘modern health’.

Our Room

We'd booked a superior through Vitality but had been upgraded to a suite and could not have asked for more, looking out of the window. The view was fantastic overlooking the green and lake. Decent lounge, with a proper coffee machine! Double bed – although would have been nice if wasn’t just two singles bolted together and nice bathroom. Some fizz on arrival (thank you Ivonne) and we were set!!
So now sporting the ‘regulation’ white bathrobe and flip flops we made our way (with the slap, slap sound of our flip flops following us along the corridor) to the pool area. 

The Pool

Okay so not an Olympic sized pool, but at least there was no weed, you could see the bottom, no angry swans or water you could almost chew your way through (why do we do open water swimming?) and warm! The last time I had swum was at Bolton IM and that was in a wetsuit. This was BLISS!! We didn’t have to do drills or sets and both looked a little awkward at each other. what do we do?? Muck about like kids!! Chasing each other up and down the pool, and just splashing about enjoying our new found freedom… yep there may have been some cuddling, but in the absence of any lifeguards to blow their whilst at us we took full advantage.. J  

Spa Pools

The Spa Pools were just magical, again, I’ve only ever been in a spa pool post race or seeking some magical H2O induced recovery, so to just relax ‘at will’ was a great pleasure. The outdoor spa pool was quite surreal watching the clouds, but also as the jets filled my ‘non-swimming’ shorts with air leading to some rather odd looks from the other inhabitants.

Tranquillity, Steam & Cold Rooms, Sauna

Okay a bunch of water beds with some faux fur cover – not that tranquil as currently being used as the main thoroughfare as the gents changing room were being re-fitted.

The steam and cold rooms are what they are and very nice too if not a little cosy. The sauna was a little bigger with enough space to lie out on benches if no one else was in there.


The classes we attended were all good fun and the instructors were all good. I even did yoga – badly, and can still not touch my toes. Surprisingly I was not the only male in the Yoga Class, but I was for every other class “Hello token bloke!”, but that wasn’t an issue as I’m kind of used to it – and I got less stick than I would from the Fit2Run girls.


The spa has two restaurants  the regular one where the breakfast and lunch all-you-can-eat buffets are hosted, and the "posh" one. All the food was fab, we had a glass of free fizz each to celebrate our occasion and the attentive waitresses (Aniko) made sure we were well looked after.

The weekend break away from normality was a complete success and I can say we both left feeling allot more relaxed and chilled out if not a little traumatised by the water aerobics class (another story). What I would say is that it was very much aimed towards women, the ‘free’ magazines consisted of ‘Women’s’ Health’, ‘Women’s Running’ and other titles to ensure if you didn’t have a body image issue before, you certainly would soon. 

All of the facilities were spot on, but I guess I did feel a little left out the list of spa treatments. The range of treatments for ladies was expansive compared to the half dozen offerings for those not of the fairer sex – cue manicure, which was actually a nice experience, but not going to become a regular thing.

I think there are really two ‘modes’ that I would adopt on our next visit:
- Simply relax – do a few classes but (like this experience) really just go to chill out (and take some more appropriate reading material)
- Go for the burn – lots of classes and use the time as an intensive training camp

We’re planning to have a few days at a ‘sister’ spa after Lakesman 140.6 which I guess is testament to the experience.
Thought for the evening left on our pillows

No comments:

Post a Comment