Escape the autumn blues and find some true relaxation in the capital this season. From the best massages and facials to the most innovative new spa treatments to try now, book yourself in for some me-time at one of the best day spas in London.
The Best Day Spas in London 2018
Where? Ushvani Spa, 1 Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea, London SW3 2RJ
What? This is where those reluctant to share a sweaty steam or bump into a colleague post-massage come to switch off. Ushvani, tucked behind Sloane Square feels more like a discreet somebody’s subterranean escape than a spa… and that’s how they like to keep it. With only five treatment rooms, it’s rare that two guests will even cross in the Damai relaxation room as this ‘boutique spa’ works to a meticulous scheduling plan. After all, alone time with just the therapeutic trickle of water, an exotic fruit plate and undisturbed consciousness is what the overspun Londoner needs more than any quick fix massage. A spa since 2008, the warming wooden-panelled Cadogan building is a welcome antidote to the contemporary, clinical wash populating London’s spa scene. Silky walls in the relaxation room, spicy aromas and dark wooden furniture and figurines pay homage to the Malaysian ethos governing the spa and offer a comforting retreat from the plunge pool and steam room. Book in for a yoga class for the ultimate release.
The Treatments: The treatments play on that Malaysian spirit, with deliciously long and fruitful massages (though opt for the 90 minute Balinese, a welcome exception to the theme). The devil’s in the detail with Ushvani, from the lotions and potions in the changing rooms to the jewellery bags provided for guests, but the most impressive ‘extra’ has to be the meditative encased floral image greeting guests underneath the massage bed.
To Book: Ushvani.com
The Spa at the Four Seasons, Ten Trinity Square
Where? Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square, London, EC3N 4AJ
What? The Spa at Four Seasons Trinity Square offers a much-needed refuge in the heart of the adrenaline-fuelled city. The changing rooms are made to dwindle away the hours, with single-sex saunas and all the ‘extras’ you always forget to bring, from hairdryers to deodorant. Every wall and corner of this spa is smooth and ‘round’ so you don’t feel ‘boxed in’ but are instead curious see what lies around the corner. Designer Joseph Caspari has used a calming grey colour palette that is light enough to keep you awake. The columns around the pool and glistening mosaics are reminiscent of Roman Bath’s and a nod to the building’s grand history. There’s no awkward Jacuzzi sharing with strangers here – it’s huge.
The Treatments: The team here know what they’re dealing with, especially in the stress-powered city. Rather than a quick rub and ‘off you go’, they know there needs to be a holistic approach to guarantee results – there’s no ‘quick fix’. Signatures have therefore been designed exclusively for the spa, combining ancient therapies from both East and West, with modern day techniques. If you don’t have much time but are equally aware of the ‘quick-fix’ fable, opt for the full body massage with wild organic ingredients. The oils will calm you and the therapist will soothe and relax you, talking through your ‘tight areas’ after in a bid to pin down the cause.
To Book: For a spa treatment, call the Hotel directly at +44 (0) 203 297 9200 or online at fourseasons.com
South Kensington Club
Where? South Kensington Club, 38-42 Harrington Rd, Kensington, London SW7 3ND
What? A philosophy falling somewhere between Russian tradition and Mediterranean joie de vivre sets the tone at South Kensington Club. Or put simply ‘mixed doubles, a sauna and a stiff martini’ (it’s all about balance). This chic West London private member’s club has a spa with a refreshingly unique take on wellness. The layout is social, an ode to the traditional Russian bathhouse, with plush interiors more suggestive of a private residence than a large spa. There is a great emphasis here on the power of tea and simple relaxation, rather than peddling massage and treatment as the only way to unwind. Saying this, the treatment list – from banya to Himalayan salt massages – draws from a wide variety of traditions and cultures with notably friendly staff well-versed in lowering members’ cortisol levels.
The Treatments: The spa’s hero treatment at South Kensington Club is The Bathhouse experience. This includes a traditional banya treatment (a weekly ritual in Russia) where birch leaves are used at speed to manipulate the hot air over the body, stimulating circulation and allowing clients to quite literally sweat out your week. Breathers are recommended between these sessions in the communal banya and hammam, or with their specialised herbal tea and magazine in a quiet corner. There are various ‘steps’ that you can graduate to once you have pushed through the first two (it gets steamy in there), but the therapist will quickly gauge your limits. Opt for the mud treatment after to both exfoliate and nourish your skin with all the minerals the urban jungle deprives us of.
To Book: southkensingtonclub.com
Bulgari Spa, Bulgari
Where? Bulgari Hotel, 171 Knightsbridge, London SW7 1DW
What? A Mecca of subterranean calm, the Bulgari Spa offers the full Italian job: seamless, sleek furniture, marble-just-about-everything and a post-treatment power shower that will never leave you. The decadent, volcanic basement hosts London’s longest swimming pool, laced with white cushioned loungers more comfortable than any bed, and quaint table bells to call in elaborate quinoa salads. Potent eucalyptus oils permeate the steam rooms, clearing your sinuses, and warming your winter cockles.
The Treatments: The treatments here are based on traditional oriental practices one of the best being the renewing enzyme facial designed to boost cell regeneration and give you that ten-hour-sleep glow. And the best thing? The towels, you’re never without a towel or slippers as they’re scattered meticulously throughout the spa.
To Book: bulgarihotels.com
SENSE SPA® at The Rosewood, Holborn
Where? The Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN
What? SENSE SPA® at The Rosewood London defies the claim that switching off requires leaving the city. Cocooned in an urban hideout of bamboo walls and rippling water, you feel a million miles away from the London frenzy. A natural, organic theme pervades the products and therapies, using Australian skincare company Sodashi and body treatment products are plucked straight from the garden estate.
The Treatments: The Rosewood London is the only hotel in Europe to feature four scrumptious body treatments from Maison Caulières. What’s more, they lay claim to the Face Place Signature Treatments, a staple in Beverly Hills, which penetrates the key ‘musts’ including Vitamin C and anti-inflammatory zinc deep into your skin, leaving your cheeks glowing for days. If babysitting is a problem the spa’s Rose Bud menu is catered to children from six to 16, including massages, facials, and manicures. And should you be heading out after your treatments, SENSE SPA®‘s five-star hair treatments with renowned stylist Matthew Curtis, will book you in and send you on your way.
To Book: rosewoodhotels.com
ESPA at Corinthia
Where? ESPA Life at Corinthia, Whitehall Pl, Westminster, London SW1A 2BD
What? ESPA at the Corinthia is an unexpected oasis, buried in Whitehall bureaucracy and Big Ben keyrings. The white marble changing rooms warm you up for the impending relaxation, along with a weighty bathrobe and fluffy slippers. The spa has a volcanic feel to it, subterranean dark quarters with stone beds pressed up against a roaring fire, hot water bubbling against glass walls resembling ice. While not catering to lengths, the pool demands that you float and forget, the waves reflecting hypnotically on the ceiling.
The Treatments: ESPA has pioneered a Brain Power package, aligned with the hotel’s Neuroscientist in Residence programme, during which time neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart will be studying mental resilience and recovery as a major factor in achieving peak brain performance. The mindfulness massage aims to reduce stress holistically, through breathing, visualising and a scalp massage using warm rose quartz crystals. Then there’s Yoga Nidra, aiming to train busy minds to concentrate fully and fall into pure, unfettered relaxation.
To Book: espalifeatcorinthia.com
Bamford Haybarn Spa at the Berkeley, Knightsbridge
Where? The Berkeley, Wilton Place, London SW1X 7RL
What? The Berkeley’s rooftop haven of whitewashed wood aims to bring a heavy dose of countryside serenity to central London. Unlike the 5* get up downstairs, the spa is covered in clean white and greys with that refined ‘rustic’ somewhat reminiscent of Soho Farmhouse. The main lure of The Berkeley’s spa is the rooftop pool, one of the best places to be on a sunny day in London, with white linen sun loungers dotted around the herby garden patio and champagne on tap. If the sun’s a no show, the pool transforms into a luxurious indoor setting.
The Treatments: They offer all the expected spa treatments, with a few curve balls and a pregnancy package that Mum’s-to-be swear by. Indulgent guests, seeking a move away from the organic, natural overtones can opt for the Gold Fine Body Wrap using grapes and champagne on the skin.
To Book: the-berkeley.co.uk
The Dorchester Spa
Where? The Dorchester, 53 Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA
What? The Dorchester’s spa doesn’t stray far from the hotel’s iconic British style. It does add a slap of Art Deco glamour though– indulgent interiors to reflect the extravagance treatments. Aromatherapy Associates work to alleviate life’s stresses, as do the aromatic steam rooms and slick relaxation quarters where time stands still.
The Treatments: The rejuvenating signature facials by Carol Joy London are worth stretching the extra mile for, relaxing tense facial muscles and completing your stress MOT. More importantly, the aptly named ‘Spatisserie’ serves 4 Bento Boxes of your lean green choice or simply a ‘guilt free’ Afternoon Tea. Too much ‘guilt free’ indulgence later, you can work it off in the Fitness Studio equipped with Swill Balls, cardio vascular equipment, and Medicine Balls galore.
To Book: dorchestercollection.com
The Spa at Four Seasons, Park Lane
Where? Four Seasons Hotel London, Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London England W1J 7DR
What? Spread over the entire 10th floor, the Spa at Four Seasons sets itself apart from the London subterranean spa trend, capturing the light and 360 views of the city’s magnificent skyline. Each of the nine luxury spa treatment rooms featuring floor-to-ceiling windows allow the sun to spill through, darkened only during treatments for privacy and calm.
The Treatments: The treatments to angle for are the ‘Omorovicza Blue Diamond Facial’ and ‘Four Hands at Four Seasons’ where two therapist work together in synchronised massage. If you’re looking to up-the-ante, the ‘Sky Suite’ allows couples, friends or family privacy, a private double steam shower and relaxation area.
To Book: fourseasons.com
Aman Spa, The Connaught
Where? The Connaught, Carlos Place, London W1K 2AL
What? Beneath the Connaught’s decadent Edwardian lobby lies the Eastern promise of blissful unwind. The pièces de résistance of the spa is undoubtedly the serene pool, its water ionised using a UV system and complemented by the crystal steam room plied with essential oils. It’s no shock that spa memberships at the Connaught are tricky to get hold of.
The Treatments: The signature experiences at Aman Spa derive from traditional rituals of renewal, notably from India, Thailand and China including herbal compresses, balancing and restorative treatments. More bespoke wellness therapies consist of postural and movement analysis for those bent over a computer all day, reflexology, and traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture.
To Book: the-connaught.co.uk
The Spa at The Mandarin Oriental, Knightsbridge
What? Everything about the Mandarin Oriental’s spa is bespoke, from aromatherapy oils to pre-treatment tea requests, lymphatic drainage to kneading out specific knots. Spread across two basement floors in the hotel, the dim lighting and gentle Chinese music are enough to lull you into a deep sleep before any treatment. The changing rooms are as impressive as the spa, with a large jacuzzi serving as the centre piece, a steam room and sauna. Not only will you unwind here but you may learn something about your body and why you have built up tension or stress with some Chinese holistic education. Avoid planning for a quick post spa get away, the ‘experience’ showers in the female changing rooms will demand at least another hour of your time.
The Treatments: Each signature treatment at Mandarin Oriental is developed in consultation with specialists in Traditional Chinese Medecin (TCM). They are simple yet effective, the traditional hands-on body massage ritual with custom-blended oils. Their masseuses are truly masters in their craft, guaranteeing a pummelling that will leave you immobile, face down, for several minutes after.
To Book: mandarinoriental.com
Akasha Spa, Café Royal, Piccadilly
Where? Hotel Café Royal, 50 Regent St, Soho, London W1B 5AS
What? Next time you hurry across Piccadilly Circus, think about the healthful relaxation you could be having in a secret space right under your feet. The Café Royal, now a sleekly modern hotel with a calm, Eastern influence to its décor, has been a centre of London dining and entertaining for over 150 years and has conserved its ornate, gilded, Belle Epoque public rooms. But the underground Akasha Spa has a 21st-century sense of luxury serenity.
The Treatments: Based on the four elements, with holistic treatments that link Western innovation with Eastern tradition, its natural materials, warm colours and fresh aromas exude wellbeing. Nine treatment rooms, including one for couples, a gym, fitness and yoga classes, a sauna and hammam and a beautifully lit pool with London’s first Watsu pool for private hydrotherapy sessions make this a place to linger.
To Book: hotelcaferoyal.com
The Lanesborough Club & Spa
Where? The Lanesborough Club & Spa, Hyde Park Corner, Belgravia, London SW1X 7TA
What? London’s most sybaritic new spa ups the ante with Spa butlers who polish your shoes and press your clothes while you robe up for some serious treats.
The Treatments: There are massages designed to uncurl people who spend hours in front of the computer and customized facials curated by skin guru Anastasia Achilleos which feature cranial sacral massage (a light touch therapy that strokes points around the scalp and shoulders to releases pressure throughout the body) along with oodles of deeply relaxing facial massage that has even the most stressed souls levitating off the heated water mattress. For those who want to blow the budget book in the La Prairie Swiss Bliss Dream £300 a three-hour facial and massage medley.
To Book: lanesboroughclubandspa.com
Beauty & Melody Spa, M by Montcalm Shoreditch
Where? M by Montcalm Hotel, 151-157 City Road, Shoreditch, London EC1V 1JH
What? An urban escape in the heart of buzzy Shoreditch with a wide range of beauty, aesthetic and spa treatments that won’t break the bank.
The Treatments: Thalgo face and body rituals have long been world leaders in marine spa and beauty treatments. The Polynesia Spa ritual consists of a full body scrub, foot bath and relaxing massage, finished off with Sacred Oil that will leave you looking sun-kissed for the rest of the day. The scents evoke the tropics, and you’ll soon forget that you’re actually below the bustling streets of Shoreditch. There’s a huge variety of treatments on offer, including the ultimate anti-ageing facial, Algae body wrap and a massage that’s created especially for pregnancy. Let the experience last as long as possible as you relax afterwards in the spa lounge equipped with sauna, steam room, large pool, jacuzzi and fitness centre.
To Book: beautyandmelody.co.uk
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