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 2019
Mandarin Oriental London
Where? Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London
What? Disciples of Mandarin Oriental’s spa would be forgiven for thinking its decadent, brooding walls did not warrant a revamp. But Adam D. Tihany’s contemporary overhaul rolls in a fresh, elegant canvas for the Chinese elements to spill onto and that de rigeur 360-degree health philosophy to perform against. Spread across two basement floors in the hotel, the sound of trickling water blends into soft Chinese music and naturalistic setting. On top of the 13 treatment rooms, a new spacious Oriental Suite with two massage beds and a Rasul water temple blends heat, steam and mud for the ultimate mind and skin reset. A large, ethereally-lit jacuzzi is flanked by a metallic waterfall wall, feminine sculptures and a sauna and steam room. The new, spacious changing rooms are the paragon of foresight – Aromatherapy cleanser to mouthwash for the taking (essentially everything you’d forget on a spa day is provided). And if hairdryers are the barometer for a decent spa (and if you don’t spend too long in the lavish showers, their Dyson wands will whisk you to that 8.30pm dinner on time. For the gym bunnies, classes and PTs are available in the new fitness centre.
The Treatments: Every treatment at Mandarin Oriental is developed in consultation with specialists in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Their signature treatments from the healing Japanese Reiki massage to the Digital Wellness escape are renowned for their eastern healing qualities and preventative insight. The new Oriental QI treatment is a near two-hour dose of pure euphoria, the ultimate ‘unwind and forget’ massage that works along the meridians with a personal choice of oil (mine is cardamom, lemongrass and coriander to flush out toxins). Their masseuses are truly masters in their craft, aware of the holistic approach required for de-stressing and guarantee a fine-tuned pummelling that will ease any physical and mental tension. The rosehip and goji berry red tea created by Mandarin Oriental to round-off the show is to re-balance my earth element (and tastes delicious to boot).
To Book: mandarinoriental.com
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
Where? Natura Bissē, The Village Westfield Shopping Centre, Ariel Way, White City, W12 7GQ
What? The latest addition to the vast retail world that is Westfield White City will not be pressing you to indulge your consumerist habits, but invites you instead to step into a cool, calm, serene world of wellbeing – after all shopping can be highly stressful, so what better way to end your spree than lying supine in an oxygenated treatment room, while Natura Bissē’s expert therapists bring new life and colour to tired bodies and faces. It’s the much vaunted Spanish brand’s first standalone day spa in London (located in the Village area of Westfield, naturally) and it delivers its highly advanced bespoke treatments in surroundings designed by Spanish architect Juan Trias de Bes. So drop your shopping bags and let your shoulders drop too – in utter relaxation.
The Treatments: If you’re looking for a quick pick me up Natura Bissē’s express facials focus on a specific area of concern, and will have you relaxed, refreshed, and ready to hit the shops again.
To Book: naturabisse.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
Where? 99 Kensington Church Street, W8 7LN
What? Instead of the perspex, glass and white leather in your typical city spa, at Ilapothecary you’ll find tall wooden cabinets and hundreds of drawers bursting with little curiosities, tinctures and herbs. The place’s herbal smell is the first sign that this isn’t your average beauty spa, but rather a holistic hideaway disguised as one of the many charming antique shops lining Kensington Church Street. Through the use of natural medicine, energy healing techniques and traditional massage, Ilapothecary promises to combat the pressures of daily life – a promise they deliver on. Upstairs you’ll find a restorative space where talks and workshops are held, and at the back is a – secluded treatment room where music plays softly and therapists work their magic.
The Treatments: Although their Beat The Blues Back Massage or Digital Detox Facial Therapy sound appealing, this is a place where it’s best to listen to the experts. Upon arrival you’ll fill in an extensive 50-point questionnaire on your physical and mental health, from this the therapists can draw up a diagnosis and offer advice on specific treatments which will serve your body best.
To Book: ilapothecary.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: Rosewood London’s ‘24-hours with MAISON CAULIÈRES’ experience is the one to go for. It spreads oil’s remedial qualities across both massage and cooking, courtesy of these French apothecary wizards. Guests explore the healing power of MAISON CAULIÈRES’ cold pressed oils from the family estate in France through a 60-minute massage in the spa, as well as their medicinal qualities with a cooking class by one of the Rosewood London’s chefs, harnessing the delicate flavours of the MAISON CAULIÈRES oils for a cavalcade of nourishing dishes. Rounding off the light asparagus and basil, the moist hake and creamy yoghurt pudding is a decadent stay at one of London’s most beloved hotels, with breakfast to boot. Nothing like bedding in after a heavenly pummelling and nourishing supper.
To Book: ’24-hours with MAISON CAULIÈRES’ is available to book from £824/night. rosewoodhotels.com
A Place to Heal by Arrigo
Where? 118B Holland Park Avenue, W11 4UA
What? Busy city dwellers rejoiced at the opening of acclaimed psychologist Fiona Arrigo’s A Place to Heal. Before the opening of its London outpost, followers of the highly personalised Arrigo Programme had to carve out time for a five day retreat in Somerset. On the treatment menu, instead of facials, you’ll find transmission meditation classes and Vedic mysticism so it’s important you arrive with an open mind (and heart). The space is expectedly calming but with a touch of West London style.
The Treatments: Focusing primarily on mental wellbeing, the holistic healing manifests mostly in workshops and classes rather than treatments. You can find lectures on anything from transformational breath to addiction counselling and philosophical enquiry. Plus, evening meditation sessions are free.
To Book: You can book in for a private consultation with Fiona Arrigo herself from £175. Alternatively, take a look at what’s on offer and choose whichever you feel applies best – either way, you’ll be leaving A Place to Heal with a new perspective. aplacetoheal.co.uk
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
Cloud Twelve Spa
Where? Cloud Twelve Spa, 2-5 Colville Mews, Notting Hill, W11 2DA
What? In the hustle and bustle of Notting Hill and housed in a family members’ club is this unexpected haven of rejuvenation. Treatments range from the quick to the languid; a blow-dry to a green coffee sculpting treatment. The spa prides itself on results-driven treatments that fuse the best of Western and Asian philosophies, a philosophy which applies whether you’re in the mood for a high-tech beauty treatment or a sleep therapy procedure. Open for members and non-members, Cloud Twelve also boasts the use of all the usual spa facilities from a relaxation room to a sauna and salt room.
The Treatments: The holistic healing philosophy manifests in craniosacral therapy, cryotherapy, naturopathic nutrition and traditional Chinese medicine. For the sleep deprived, the spa’s Tranquility Pro Sleep Ritual combines aromatherapy, music and unique massage techniques to induce a deep state of relaxation. Before you leave, pop into the separate hair and nail salon for a quick manicure also.
Just in time for the summer season, Cloud Twelve have launched their detox programmes which promise to reinvigorate and re-energise through tailored nutrition, herbal medicine and the spa’s signature treatments. Book in for a consultation with herbalist, naturopath, and Cloud Twelve founder Jenya Di Pierro to discuss bespoke dietary plans and individualised herbal remedies. Or the spa’s green coffee sculpting treatment is a restorative combination of dry skin brushing and deep massage that facilitates lymphatic drainage and improves circulation – a session of self-improvement while also letting you imbibe in all the spa’s relaxation techniques including a sound bath, and heated massage bed… For the time-poor amongst us, an intravenous drip or intramuscular shot (administered by fully certified medical practitioners) can deliver nutrients and minerals directly into your bloodstream. Whether it’s detoxification, immunity, or anti-ageing you’re after, there’s be a shot for you.
To Book: cloudtwelve.co.uk
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? Forget the archetypal subterranean lair housing most London spas and head instead for the 10th floor. Four Seasons Park Lane’s spa is a sky-high sanctuary, packing sweeping views over London’s rooftops and pulling in rays of natural light that immediately lift spirits and visitors high above the pressures of the city. This spa is compact, yet perfect. There is no vast pool but an enormous jacuzzi, hammam and sauna serving up killer views across the city while sweating out toxins. The relaxation area is dark, sultry and smug, entered through a separate door with bed and sound system duos which would enthuse even the well-seasoned first-class flyer. Aside from the plush changing rooms, slick facilities and progressive treatment lists, what sets this spa apart from the London abundance is the light permitted to spill in – and the sense of space and calm this brings.
The Treatments: Four Seasons 5* standards are reflected in the treatments available. A freshly curated list of results-driven options was rolled out this July 2019, featuring the Linda Meredith Oxygen Facial, an anti-pollution facial with crystals, and a herbal pouch massage (relieving aching joints and muscles and removing toxins with heat, oils of ginger and arnica). Mesmerised by the views? Stay for a Margaret Dabbs pedicure and you’ll get the best seat in the house.
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
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. This September, they’re introducing a new residency from award-winning retreat specialists Bodhimaya, with a new number of new overnight retreats and one-to-one wellbeing experiences being launched.
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
COMO Shambhala Urban Escape, COMO Metropolitan London
Where? COMO Metropolitan London, 19 Old Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K 1LB
What? An Asian-inspired sanctuary found within renowned Park Lane hotel COMO Metropolitan, based on the award-winning wellness concept Shambhala – which translates as “sacred place of bliss”. The spa itself is small, sleek and minimalist, with less focus on fancy showers and more on top quality treatments, with six sophisticated treatment rooms offering expert therapies for body and face. Couples’ treatment rooms with private steam facilities and baths are available to book.
The Treatments: Treatments at COMO not only pamper, they dig deep for long-lasting results, from facials to acupuncture to reiki. There are lots to choose from, all of which are based on Asian spa techniques. For those keen to brighten their skin, the Guinot Hydradermie is the ultimate hydration facial, designed to deep cleanse, oxygenate and reinvigorate the skin to create a glow that lasts for weeks. Massages range from the nurturing to the invigorating, with options for Shiatsu, a Japanese massage using powerful stimulation on pressure points to release muscular tension. For total body exfoliation, go for the COMO Shambhala Bath, which involves dry brushing, a full body scrub, moisturising and an invigorating bath, followed by a signature massage. Special treatments are also available for expectant mothers, men, and those suffering from jet lag.
To Book: comohotels.com
The Landmark London Spa and Health Club
Where? The Landmark London, 222 Marylebone Rd, Marylebone, London NW1 6JQ
What? An oasis of calm amid buzzing Marylebone, this spa is tucked away on the lower ground floor of iconic hotel The Landmark London.
The Treatments: It’s often the little touches that make a spa special, and there are many to note here, such as the complimentary mint-infused tea, fluffy towels and slippers, and choice of scent or essential oil to burn throughout your treatment. A wide range of facials, body wraps, massages and firming therapies are available, with products by Spanish skincare company Germaine de Capuccini. The Landmark London Tea Dreams is certainly dreamy: you’ll enjoy a full body massage followed by an energising facial, leaving you with supple skin, a radiant glow and a feeling of tranquility. If you’re after something more exfoliating, go for The Landmark London Elixir, a full buffing and polishing body treatment, followed by an facial and face massage designed to reduce stress. The Mediterranean Candle Massage is also a popular choice, which involves a full body massage complete with energising crystals, applied to the body’s Chakra points to create a sense of harmony. After your treatment, spend a leisurely afternoon relaxing at the spa’s facilities, which include a chlorine-free jacuzzi, 15m heated pool, steam room, sauna, sanarium and a gym.
To Book: landmarklondon.co.uk