I have always been an advocate for experiences rather than things. So when the other half handed me his credit card for my birthday and said “book yourself into Champneys for the night,” I was in my element.
When you spend your life rushing around at high speed and training consistently, time out becomes precious. Even more so when it is time you can spend alone, with a book, and complete relaxation.
So last this time last week, after a long walk on one of the coldest mornings of 2019, I checked into Champneys at Henlow Grange for a one night spa break.
Having been a spa day guest many times before I knew a overnight break, where the majority of my time will be spent in the famous white robes, was just I needed.
Checking in with ease just before 2pm, I quickly fell into the relaxed mantra that Champneys promote.
Donning my robe I booked myself into a Thalassotherapy session – a warm salt water treatment rich in minerals that is ideal for re-mineralising the body and aiding the detoxing process. The session, lasting around 25 minutes, is designed to stimulate and tone tired aches and pains – perfect for those who are put through their paces with training.
After my session in the Thalassotherapy session, I took to the conservatory with a piece of cake, a hot drink and a book – admiring the sun setting on a cold, frosty day.
A light nap followed in my room, followed by a three-course meal (included in the package) and a bottle of wine. Although I know Champneys are very much into the detoxing and well-being, the dinner was somewhat of a disappointment. Not only were the portions incredibly tiny, but also some dishes were simply tasteless. You have the option to purchase extras – such as side orders – should you feel you need them. But personally, after spending a fair amount of money of a bottle of wine, I felt inclined to add further expense to my bill.
On returning to my room for the evening I found myself disappointed further. I had no heating – on a day that hovered around zero temperature wise. I complained several times and was advised I would receive a portable heater – only to have to go searching for one when, at 10:30pm, I was still waiting. After heading to reception, to be given a broken heater and no resolution to my predicament I gave up on expecting any kind of service from the team that remained over night. I prepared for a cold night sleep – with extra layers.
Awaking early the next day, I removed all my belongings at 7:30am and headed to reception to speak to someone further. With treatments booked for later in the day, I had no choice but to hang around and see out the rest of my stay – soaking robe (not drying out overnight without heating) and all.
Although I received an apology, it did not feel heartfelt – the manager on duty knew there was no heating in my room before they left the night prior, but nothing was done. And the next morning nothing was offered to make up for it.
After a very nutritious breakfast (much more satisfying than dinner), I spent the morning lounging by the pool waiting for my treatments. My original plan was to join a few classes in the morning however, after a disrupted sleep in the cold, I simply had no energy to entertain my original schedule.
The treatments themselves were delightful. After a full body exfoliation, body wrap and head, neck and shoulder massage I felt extremely relaxed – though I wished I had moved the treatments to the day prior when I did not have to drive home.
Post treatment it was time for the final meal – a buffet lunch – both nutritious and satisfying, before heading home.
Leaving the resort in a mix state of relaxation and disappointment. Disappointment coming from the lack of customer care and service when it came to the lack of heating in my room. Even now, a week later, not one person from Champneys has responded to my complaint despite sending numerous emails and messages via social media. You would expect a better level of service from such a prestigious brand.
That said, I am not going to let one bad experience put me off booking in future. I only hope that the team take the time to actually show that they care about their customers, by acknowledging complaints from loyal customers.