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Champneys Tring

Visited Mar 2009

It’s easy to forget there’s life outside London. And a soothing, tranquil, stress-free one at that. One minute I was stomping down Platform 14 at Euston station, still very much in ‘London mode’… and the next (fifty minutes later to be exact-ish), I was at Champneys, Tring.

‘Oh!’ was the first thing I think I said upon arriving, and it had nothing to do with the fact that the Blackburn Rovers first team were leaving as I arrived (nice boys). It’s because it’s so beautiful. It looks just like one of those old fashioned, country estates you see on period dramas, except this is much better because it has Jacuzzis.

Champneys have added to their ‘alternative’ menu, with treatments such as Kriotherapy, where you freeze yourself healthy basically, Reiki, La Stone, Shiroabhyangam, plus a range of massages to cater for every whim, ache or pain.

I had several massages, all of which were enjoyable, and much needed. When I had my full body masasge, it felt like my therapist was kneading dough over granola, but then my muscles relaxed, and I drifted off.

I also enjoyed a traditional, and very authentic, Shiatsu massage, LA stone, and Hopi Ear Candles, ‘a relaxing and gentle natural therapy to cleanse and harmonise’.

I spent the weekend in a happy, serene daze, so the exact details of each treatment are hard to remember, but to me, this is a good thing. I believe a good 55 minute massage should feel like it was no more than 15 minutes.

The therapists were polite, but quiet (which I liked) and thorough, and gave me time to get undressed and dressed after each treatment, ensuring I had room temperature water too. All these small details are important, as someone rushing you after a massage ruin the entire experience.

The food is also good, but there’s just too much of it. In that, it’s hard to just visit the buffet just once. Room service is... quirky, but the staff are so charming, it's hard to get mad if your wine doesn't arrive exactly the same time as your meal.

My room was also fine – not amazing – but comfortable, and a nice space to relax in. And that’s it, really. I’ll probably go again, as it’s just so close to London, it seems silly not to. It’s a relatively small price to pay for a full battery recharge.

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