Set within enchanting grounds, Champneys Forest Mere is a large destination spa with good quality facilities, including a swimming pool and whirlpool, and an alternative health clinic where you can experience healing therapies such as Reiki. The spa menu has over 90 treatments featuring Elemis, Decleor and Champneys products. Don't miss bathing in the thalassotherapy pool, rejuvenating mud treatments in the rasul, or stepping outside for a bubble in the Cedarwood hot tub.
- XXL robes available
- 25 metre pool
- Unisex sauna
- Male and female sauna and steam room
- Male and female plunge pool
- Male and female relaxation room
- Thalassotherapy pool
- Rasul mud chamber
- Floatation beds
- 15 metre outdoor pool
- Tennis court
- 2 fitness studios
Our Spa Spy review
The long, winding driveway sets the scene for Champneys Forest Mere, a lakeside manor house straddling the Hampshire/Sussex border. Surrounded by National Trust-managed forest (part of which is a members' golf course not run by Champneys), you can get back to nature by walking or cycling in extensive grounds, or swimming in the outdoor pool.
What's on offer?
Automatic double doors open to reveal a large lobby flooded with light via a glass roof. Staff offered us a refreshing aloe vera, peach and watermelon juice, and gave us a black bag containing a Champneys-branded robe and flip-flops, both immaculate in white.
There are two changing rooms, the larger of the two containing half-height lockers which are a little small, particularly if you haven't yet managed to check in. Use one of two padded benches to change or make use of a private cubicle. Two toilets and five showers containing Champneys shampoo, conditioner and shower gel are around the corner.
In the thermal poolside suite, make a beeline for the stylish, glass-roofed 25-metre pool and start your visit with a refreshing swim. Then allow powerful jets to pummel away any tension in your shoulders in the hydro-pool.
Warm up afterwards in the Jacuzzi or dry off in the gently-heated laconium or hotter steam room, with forest scenes printed on its walls.
Too hot? Cool down in the wooden snow cabin, the first of its kind in the UK. Grab handfuls of snow and rub them over your hot skin for an instant temperature change. You can cool down in one of two experience showers, too, complete with coloured lights and rainforest or tropical-storm soundtrack.
Available at an extra cost is a Rasul mud chamber and a Thalasso salt water pool where five jets target different parts of the body.
When it's time to relax, head poolside and bag a lounger or a hanging chair, or seek out one of the relaxation areas. Choose your chair of choice: hanging egg, beanbag, lounger or heated water bed. A rectangular feature fireplace adds a cosy feel.
Up to 20 fitness classes take place each day in the exercise studio, gym, the 15-metre outdoor pool or in the surrounding grounds. Or why not hire a bicycle, play tennis, or simply borrow a pair of wellies and go for a wander?
Tell us about the treatments
We enjoyed an Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Prescription Peel Facial (50 minutes, £89) which uses an enzyme-based peel to help generate new skin cells.
My therapist, Emily, led me to a spacious treatment room decked out in fresh, pale shades. She invited me to sit down so that she could determine what I wanted to achieve from the treatment (a brighter complexion, please).
While I lay face-up on the treatment bed, Emily thoroughly cleansed my face using an Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Wash. Using cotton wool pads to protect my eyes, Emily then applied a Papaya Enzyme Peel which exfoliates the skin by nibbling away at dead skin cells. I could feel the peel tingling almost immediately.
Emily then used a divine-smelling Japanese Camellia Body Oil to massage my arms and shoulders while we waited for the peel to work.
She used an Apricot Toner to soothe my face, followed by a Pro-Collagen Eye Renewal cream and a Pro-Collagen Marine Cream containing SPF30.
My skin really did look smoother afterwards and had the kind of glow that usually only comes from a really good night's sleep.
As well a comprehensive range of facials and massages, body wraps and scrubs, Champneys Forest Mere offers a full menu of beauty treatments (think waxes, threading and lash tints), make-up applications and treatments for mums-to-be. A hair salon will do everything from highlights to blow dries, while alternative therapies include reflexology, Reiki and Shiatsu.
You have lunch in your robe, either in the main spa restaurant or the more intimate Mere Restaurant where three courses are served on Champneys portion-control plates.
Our Teriyaki salmon with black rice and quinoa salad was light and refreshing, while our chicken Caesar salad was healthy and delicious. Champneys pride themselves on offering gluten-free, vegetarian and other options for guests on restricted diets.
There is no bar at any of the Champneys properties, but you can order wine or Prosecco by the glass or bottle, although you are encouraged to drink only one glass with lunch and two with dinner.
We loved / we didn't love
The food: Whether you want to lose weight or kick-start a more nutritious way of eating, the diversity of healthy food on offer will inspire you on your healthier food journey.
The range of treatments: There really is something for everyone at Champneys Forest Mere, whether you want a gentle stroll in the open air or a high-intensity spinning class followed by an afternoon of pampering.
We didn't love
The lunchtime scrum: Fellow diners were keen to be the first in the queue for the buffet, with several bowls already empty on our arrival (although they are replenished swiftly).
Booking treatments and classes: Champneys Forest Mere encourages you to book on site rather than beforehand, meaning a bit of a wait on busy days.
Who do you think would like it?
Solo spa goers: Champneys pioneered the concept of a sharing table; if you'd like to join one, let staff know when booking lunch or dinner.
We saw lots of mother/daughter duos during our visit -- all happily catching up in the pool or over lunch.
Fitness kick-starters: If you are serious about losing weight or starting an exercise regime, Champneys Forest Mere is great place to get motivated.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded Champneys Forest Mere a Good Spa Guide Bubble Rating of 5 bubbles. This particular Champneys property is professionally run by experienced and highly trained staff, many of whom have worked here for years (or, in some cases, decades). The grounds are a delight, as is the range of nutritious food and treatments on offer.
Breakfast, dinner and cafe menus available with nutritious gourmet cuisine.