Champneys Tring review

Recently i went to stay at Champneys Health Spa in Tring with a good friend and this is my review of the experience.

We arrive in the pouring rain (you'd have thought it was November! not mid August!) check in and are shown to our room by a pleasant enough young man. the room is clean and satisfactory, but they have given us the wrong size flip flops (you provide your size before you arrive). i call reception and nobody answers so i try housekeeping and they say they will be along shortly with the size required. 20 minutes later and still no sign so my friend rings reception again and this time gets an answer and 5 minutes later the flip flops arrive... at last we can commence with the pampering!

I take a swim in the large pool, very nice... then we take tea, i was happy to see a good collection of loose leaf teas, but less than pleased to find no freshly baked gluten-free or vegan cakes on offer. on booking dietary requirements were taken and i am vegan and will have gluten free where possible and my friend opts for dairy free.

The food disappointment continues at the dinner table where i am expecting a vegan menu to be presented to me, but no - my dietary requirements have not been taken into account and the a la carte menu offers nothing other than a tomato salad. the waiter suggests penne pasta with tomato sauce, which doesn't exactly float my boat when i have paid good money to enjoy a night away somewhere that calls itself a luxury health spa.... hmmmm!  eventually we agree on a salad followed by a stir fry with rice and sorbet for pudding, as even the tempting chocolate avocado mousse contains dairy when everyone knows it is usually made as a vegan pudding, the whole point is to use the avocado as a dairy substitute!

The following morning the food at breakfast is a good spread (buffet style) but when helping ourselves to hazelnut butter (i love a bit of nut butter) it smells and distinctly tastes like peanut butter... when i approach a staff member about this i am assured that peanuts are not allowed on the premises and that i am mistaken. i suggest that she try it to be sure... her face changes and she whips it off to the kitchen. she returns mortified and very apologetic, as yes indeed it was peanut butter incorrectly labelled and she assures me that the staff will be held accountable for this mistake.... i'm just glad i don't have an allergy and hopefully have prevented others from taking the butter by mistake....lunch is alright, again buffet style and not too much vegan stuff on offer and all the interesting puddings contain dairy. overall no sign of organic food either at all.... my friend even spots yet another peanut containing dish... very contradictory from what we had been told at breakfast!

In terms of the treatments received and facilities on offer, these turn out to be very good, although when i arrive for my pedicure i am surprised to find a nurse giving a patient a private consultation in the room! apparently the medical suite is being revamped so they have to double up on facilities... all very well and good, but not conducive for a relaxing treat, nor private for either party concerned! i vocalise my concerns and the nurse apologises and departs shortly after i am pleased to say.

So overall i'd give it 7/10... clearly the re-vamp is a great improvement (according to my friend who has visited before) and the staff are pleasant and accommodating. however, on the food score as a so called luxury health spa there is vast room for improvement... why ask for dietary requirements and then not fulfill them? Champneys is trying but isn't quite there yet... i am glad we were there on a discounted offer as full price would have been a rip off.