Sometimes the best thing about taking a day off work in the middle of the week is knowing that others are still hard at work while you are escaping the daily grind. Such were my uncharitable thoughts on a bright, hot summers day last week as I set off on a train to Tring to escape the heat and noise of the city for the cool, hushed environment of Champneys spa. The reason for my visit was to see the unveiling of a new luxury pavilion that had been set up in the grounds for a small number of lucky guests to use for private lunches or afternoon teas. I had seen these popping up a various design shows and was curious to see what they were like. We were met by Luke, the owner of Crown Pavilions and Stephen, the owner of Champneys, for a cool glass of champagne under the shade of the pavilion in the leafy grounds of the spa. As I sunk into the cushioned sofa with a cool breeze whispering through the open sides of the pavilion I could feel the stresses and worries of my London life drifting away. We were then treated to a delicious lunch in the pavilion with only the quiet sounds of the countryside as a backdrop.
Good spas have an otherworldly feel, and Champneys has that knack of making you feel as if you have been lifted out of reality for a day and placed into a parallel universe where there are no stresses, no concerns, and the biggest decisions you have to make are whether to have another glass of champagne, or a dip in the pool. Being tucked away in a private pavilion in the grounds only heightened this sense of luxury and seclusion. After lunch I roused myself from the comfort of our tropical retreat and made my way to the spa to test out the Thalassotherapy pool and the treatments. Then it was back to the real world, which by this point, seemed a long, long way away.
Images: 1,2,3 Victoria Harrison, 4 Crown Pavilions, 5 Champneys