At Champneys, wellness is a way of life. We’re driven by the simple belief that lasting beauty is more than just skin deep. Past, present and future, whatever we do, it’s all about the nourishment of the mind, body and soul. Starting out – some 91 years ago – as the extraordinary vision of one eccentric Latvian massage pioneer, we now stand as the go-to spa. As the UK’s original health resort, few can lay claim to the traditions inherent in our very being. We’ve set trends and started health revolutions; our passion for wellbeing drives who we are and what we do. Robed and relaxed, we create moments of calm; it’s what we do best.
Our story began in 1925; born from the ideals of the visionary naturopath Stanley Lief. Opening as a health farm and known as the Nature Cure Resort, it was the first of its kind in the UK.
Having been diagnosed with a seemingly incurable heart condition in 1890, a young Stanley sought a solution in the practice of osteopathy and diet. Self-cured by the age of 16, he went on to study naturopathy and ultimately, founded what we now know as Champneys in Tring after acquiring the estate from the Rothschild family.
Pioneering the concept of holistic health and naturopathy, the reputation of Lief’s resort grew. With patients visiting from far and wide, its success was rapid and ultimately, lasting. Indeed, his embrace of holism and healthy diets and recognition of stress as a negative influence on health can still be seen in today’s medicine and practices.
Lief sold Champneys – which takes its name from former estate owner Ralph de Champneys – in the 1950s, changing hands several times before it was acquired by the Purdew family in 2002. Already owning Henlow Grange, Springs Health Farm and Forest Mere, purchased in 1981, 1990 and 1995 respectively, the four resorts aligned as one under the Champneys banner.
Growing considerably, mother and son Dorothy and Stephen Purdew have guided the brand to even greater heights. Significant refurbishments and renovations have been made; on top of four resorts, Champneys also boasts six city spas and a range of globally recognised products. Committed to the future of wellbeing, our International College of Health and Beauty (established in 1976) also stands as one of the most respected beauty colleges in the UK.
Champneys has always been a place to be seen, with our paths welcoming pop stars, actors and actresses, high-profile sports men and women, politicians and royalty from the Middle East. Among our most famous patrons include Naomi Campbell, Kylie Minogue, Dames Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Naomie Harris and two of Hollywood’s leading men Daniel Craig and Brad Pitt. It was also a favourite of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
Founded on the philosophy that health, beauty and wellbeing are inextricably intertwined; our pioneering concepts have inspired generations. With a long and established history, we’re proud of our beginnings – but even more excited about where we’re headed. Trends have come and gone, but our unwavering commitment to encouraging wellness endures.