Spa review: Champneys Spa Hotel, Eastwell Manor, Ashford
- Credit: Archant
Champneys has opened its doors to the newly refurbished spa at Eastwell Manor and Kent Life was one of its first guests
As Eastwell Manor is now part of the Champneys family, it’s no surprise that the first of many transformations that lie ahead concentrated on the spa; after all, the company first started in 1925, making it the UK’s original health spa.
Fast forward 92 years, add in a six-month, multi-million renovation aimed at making the historic Edwardian estate one of the go-to spa hotels in the south and the latest addition, which opened on Good Friday, certainly doesn’t disappoint.
Gone is the rather old-fashioned decor, in come cool, calm greys and creams and while I found the layout of the former Dreams a bit confusing, I could still have done with a few more signs on doors to reassure me I wasn’t heading for the wrong changing room when leaving the pool, for example. And hooks on the backs of doors are always handy.
However, I was very proud of myself that I not only easily mastered the locker system (opened by your wristband that locks to your individual locker) but was also able to demonstrate it to another first-timer – so much better than a key attached fetchingly to your cossie.
So, wrapped in a Champneys white robe and feet in flip-flops, a complimentary towel from a bale in the changing room under my arm, I headed for the pool area.
The first shock was – where has the mural gone! I used to enjoy swimming up and down imaging myself in that colourful Tuscan landscape, but I soon adjusted to gleaming white and Mediterranean turquoise, and the sheer pristine delight of it all made the whole section look twice as big.
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Loungers line the length of the 20-metre heated swimming pool and the spa bit, separated by slanted Perspex panels, is delightful – the Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna are generously sized and allow you to be invigorated (powerful jets of water at the touch of a button) or nearly nod off in the cocooning warmth if that’s your preference.
After a swim in the pool, where the steps are placed centrally outside the changing room, eliminating that first embarrassing long walk to the end to lower yourself in, I quickly got showered and changed and headed upstairs to the treatment area.
This too is an oasis of calm, with a central reception and subtle product displays, with treatment rooms leading off the corridors. The old-fashioned reds and golds are swapped in favour of the cool tones adopted throughout – though I was delighted to learn that most of the Dreams staff have been retained, with 15-20 staff in total.
Most customers are here for a spa day – see panel – and to be pampered, buffed and polished to perfection. I was put in the expert hands of Mia for the next two hours and experienced a 55-minute Spa Heaven Cocoon, a fancy name for a full body exfoliation and warming body wrap that also included a back, foot and scalp massage and left my skin silky smooth. A bonus is that you get to use Champney’s citrus blush shower foam to rinse off – I have it at home and it’s a firm favourite.
This was followed by a 55-minute Luxury Facial that targeted my very dry skin. Mia used a super-rich cleansing balm and collagen-intense day cream that felt to so good I bought a pot on the way out.
The treats didn’t end there, however, and it was off to the light, airy café for a healthy lunch. With comfy cream leather seats a mix of round tables for two and bigger ones for groups, it enjoys a lovely outlook over the grounds.
I had very sprightly seared sesame seed yellow fin tuna followed by an excellent pea and picked ham risotto and finally a coconut and raspberry parfait which was slightly sloppy but very delicious.
Being a busy bee I’d crammed my ‘day’ into a morning but next time I’m factoring in at a visit to the gym and at least a couple of hours in the relaxation lounge.
Find out more
Bronze Spa Day, from £139, includes 25-minute Wrap and 25-minute Pick Me Up Facial; Silver Spa Day, from £175, includes 55-minute Body Radiance and 25-minute Pick Me Up Facial; Gold Spa Day, £205, includes 55-minute Spa Heaven Cocoon and 55-minute Luxury Facial
9am arrival; healthy snacks and juice
Robe hire and flip flops; access to all facilities; treatments as specified in package
Lunch in the Champneys Spa Café Restaurant
01233 213 000 or Reservations@EastwellManor.co.uk