It’s that time of year again… you’re setting off for work in the dark and you’re coming home in the dark.
It’s wet more often than not.
You’re struggling to understand the latest Boris and Brexit developments.
And that sunny summer holiday seems a distant memory… yet Christmas is still months away.
So how do you recharge the batteries, escape to the countryside and enjoy a bit of pampering, even though you’ve only got a couple of days’ annual leave left?
Champneys has been in Tring since 1925, and the manor house has lost none of its lustre in that time
A one-night spa break at Champneys Tring starts from £205pp sharing a twin room. Spa days start from £124 per person including lunch, classes and use of the facilities.
Champneys Tring has been awarded a Five Bubble rating by Good Spa Guide, the guide to the UK’s best spas and treatments.
Rating key: one star – poor; two stars – ok; three stars – good; four stars – very good; five stars – exceptional.
The answer for growing numbers of us is a spa break… a few days of utter relaxation away from the madding crowd.
And for the millions of us who spend our days herded onto commuter trains and buses, there’s a fantastic spot just outside the M25, in the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside.
Champneys has been at this picturesque Tring location since 1925. And in those 94 years, the long Downton-esque entrance driveway has lost none of its wow-factor.
But don’t let the imposing, historic facilities – the 170-acre estate was once owned by the Rothschild family – fool you. Inside is a modern spa, gym, restaurant and rooms to satisfy even the most demanding tastes.
As well as a variety of innovative yet traditional spa treatments, recent additions include the relaxation hideaway, manicure and pedicure salon and the Marine and Wellness Spa, which is the first of its kind in the UK.
The spa areas are spacious, modern, clean and not spoiled by overcrowding
New additions include an urban gym, staged cycle studio, mindfulness studio and the detox and wellness spa
Champneys Tring has had a £5m refurbishment, giving a modern feel to this historic building
The cycle studio is ideal for a short, sharp class before you unwind elsewhere
Lavish and roomy: The spacious bedrooms look out onto stunning countryside
They offer an extensive range of treatments to suit all. From mani-pedis, holistic therapies, facials and tanning to wraps, scrubs and massages for men and women.
I had the Champneys Sports Massage, a firm deep tissue massage that focused on my own particular muscular problems; my partner enjoyed an amazing Champneys Hot Poultice, a rhythmic massage using heated coconut poultices and gently-warmed oils. It was so good she nearly fell asleep twice – a sure sign of success.
Champneys is popular with locals, day visitors or those wanting a longer break. They enjoy full access to the great selection of fitness classes, fully-equipped gym and all of the accompanying spa facilities – think swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and steam room.
And management certainly aren’t letting the grass grow under their feet… An impressive £5m has been spent on refurbishments throughout Tring including the manor house, spa reception and relaxation areas.
Plus brand new additions – the urban gym, staged cycle studio, mindfulness studio and the detox and wellness spa.
Yet, in spite of all this luxury, you don’t have to stay indoors. For those with a sense of adventure, there are wellies and bicycles to borrow plus three hiking trails to explore.
But after a tough day of, erm, relaxing, what about the food? Rest assured… you’ll not be disappointed. For dinner there’s an extensive menu of healthy-yet-filling meals.
Indeed, eating is meant to be part of the healthy experience, not an afterthought. They want guests to leave Champneys feeling they can manage their own diets and eating habits well beyond their stay.
Many years ago I went on a weekend’s spa break where alcohol was banned. But worry not… here there was a good range of drinks on offer to round off an excellent day.
Take a walk around the grounds, as the rolling countryside is the perfect antidote to city life
Breakfast and lunch are similarly pleasing affairs… these are a help-yourself buffet, with the option of several made-to-order selections on the menu. And they are casual sittings, with most guests in their Champneys robes and slippers.
The grounds are one of Tring’s huge plus points, and after a post-dinner coffee in the conservatory we enjoyed a long walk before sitting outside our room and enjoying the sweeping countryside… the perfect end to a day of pampering and relaxation followed by good food.
And all so near to London’s concrete jungle just a few miles away.