The best spas in London

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  • The best spas in London

    Spa de La Mer, Harrods

    Best spa in London for: pre-night-out prep

    Cult skincare La Mer has been at the top of almost everyone’s beauty wish list for years. Its rich, intense, restorative creams, serums and lotions, both deeply expensive and deeply covetable, are now intrinsically synonymous with the notion of anti-ageing. And while its appeal and reach is global, amazingly there has been no therapist service available in the UK, until now. In February this year the company opened its first spa treatment room, in Harrods. The space is a calm oasis of white corridors, muted taupe and dusty-pink hues on the lower ground floor of the store, well away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist chatter above. Here they offer mainly facials, many of which are exclusive treatments, all of which cleanse, energise and hydrate.

    TREATMENT TO BOOK

    Any of the facials, depending on what your skin needs. The famed Miracle Broth is at the heart of all Crème de la Mer creations: a fermented mix of sustainably harvested giant sea kelp, vitamins and minerals that has a kind of supernatural rejuvenating effect on skin. This powerhouse concoction is only available in its concentrated form in the spa, making the results of the treatment all the more potent. In the signature facial, it isn’t just a case of layering the infusion on. After a light exfoliation, lotion is used to hydrate and prepare the face, various massage techniques follow to warm up the skin (to get the best from the Miracle Broth). Then, once it is applied, a hydrating mask is layered on top to protect while the broth is sealed-in using ice cubes stroked over the area. The treatment finishes with eye cream. Sure, the lighting in the room is advantageous, but afterwards the results do look pretty exceptional. Tired skin definitely appears more glowing, wrinkles are smoother and it feels completely acceptable to leave without any make-up on.

    INSIDER TIP

    Unlike most facials, where you want to slope your shiny rosy face straight home, this is one to book before a night out. Skin really looks so bright and revived that it would be a shame not to show it off. By Paula Maynard

    Address: Spa de La Mer at Harrods Knightsbridge, 87-135 Brompton Road, London SW1X 7XL


    Telephone: +44 20 7893 8892


    Website: cremedelamer.co.uk

  • The best spas in London

    The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane

    Best Spa in London for: Penthouse views

    The first thing you notice when you enter the lift in the Four Seasons Park Lane lobby is that you go up not down. Unlike the majority of London’s hotel spas, which are relegated to the basement, this one takes prime position on the top floor with widescreen views across West London and Hyde Park. The reception is bathed in natural light – take in the panorama over a welcome cup of green tea or coconut water, or while getting a manicure in the nail lounge. There is a vitality pool with jacuzzi features, steam room and sauna to dip into before heading through to one of nine treatment rooms, and connecting the two areas is a peaceful, dimly lit waiting area with wall sculptures and – perhaps most importantly – great snacks.

    TREATMENT TO BOOK

    The spa has partnered with two leading names in beauty and wellness as part of its new menu, one of which is cult favourite The Organic Pharmacy – which is as selective with its partnerships as its ingredients so this is one of the few places to try its treatments. The other is premium skincare brand Linda Meredith (if you’ve ever wanted skin like Gwyneth Paltrow, this is the go-to). Her signature Oxygen Facial includes unique serums with vitamin A, hyaluronic acid and botanical algae, all with smoothing and healing properties. The treatment begins with a cleanse and hydrating gel, followed by the glycolic peel – a very quick application that stings a little at first to remove the top layer of dead cells, which then allows the complexion to absorb the vitamin-enriched V-Tox serum. This is worked into the skin using pressurised oxygen to energise and plump the skin. To finish, the therapist applies SPF and eye cream. I was told not to expect any immediate visible improvements after the first treatment, but my skin looked noticeably firmer and smoother.

    INSIDER TIP

    Don’t feel like you have to rush out afterwards – you can rest and sip a cup of chai or listen to music in your own little relaxation pod complete with duvet to delay facing the bustle of London outside. By Charlotte Davey

    Address: Four Seasons Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1J 7DR


    Telephone: +44 20 7499 0888


    Website: fourseasons.com/london

  • The best spas in London

    AGUA LONDON AT SEA CONTAINERS LONDON, SOUTH BANK

    Best spa in London for: Riverside unwinding

    The Thames-side hotel has transformed this part of the South Bank. Partly it’s the Tom Dixon design – his first complete hotel – with portholes and a curved copper hull inside, a little bit of disco-ball shimmy in the air. But mainly it’s the way Sea Containers (until recently a Mondrian) has succeeded in pulling Londoners from all over town: to its rooftop bar for weekend DJ sessions, to its dinky Curzon cinema, and to the groundfloor bar for curiously inventive Mr Lyan cocktails. And to the subterranean spa, too, where Dixon’s design flows down, a huge copper droplet in the relaxation lounge appearing to drip through the ceiling from above. There are backlit ceramic walls and an all-enveloping sci-fi whiteness that’s a little bit 2001 A Space Odyssey, a little bit Auroville, India’s utopian meditation commune. If it wasn’t so devoted to wellbeing, the space would make a pretty good nightclub. As for the treatments, there are jetlag-squishing massages for those who’ve just flown in; but much of the menu is lapped up by urban regulars, with the facials often drawing birthday groups. And with the Thames right outside, a river walk afterwards completes any experience.

    TREATMENT TO BOOK


    The 50-minute Hot Oil Envelopment (£98): a gentle treatment that gathers in momentum, the body wrapped with layers of towels and sheets that are gradually stripped away – like a reverse mummification but rather more pleasant. Stressed ligaments slowly unknot with a rippling sensation of relaxation, scented by a lemongrass and calendula scrub.

    INSIDER TIP

    Agua has built a reputation as a destination spa for pregnancy massages, and for carefully focused cancer and post-surgery treatments – the Bust Blossom, for instance, which releases upper-body tensions and improves shoulder mobility. By Rick Jordan

    Address: Agua London at Sea Containers London, 20 Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PD


    Telephone: +44 20 3747 1000


    Website: seacontainerslondon.com

  • Akasha at Hotel Café Royal, Piccadilly

    Best spa in London for: back problems

    Hidden below the bustle of Piccadilly Circus lies a surprisingly large and completely calm urban retreat. There’s a gym, nine treatment rooms and a vast hammam as well as a Jacuzzi and sauna. But the biggest draw has to be the slender 18m pool that’s flanked by squashy day beds jutting out of semi-private alcoves in pairs. You are immediately a world away from the hustle and grime of the streets above.

    There are all sorts of treatments on offer, including facials and massages you’ll struggle not to fall asleep in – the Aromatherapy Associates facial resulted in a string of compliments that lasted days. The luxury ‘Gold Signature Hammam Treatment’ mixes olive soap with 23-carat-gold minerals for an invigorating exfoliation, and the gold shea butter massage mixes 100 per cent shea butter with the same gold minerals for a lavish anti-ageing treatment. But the more unusual offerings include water treatments in the Watsu pool and an energy healing treatment called ‘bone setting’ which is run by tai chi master Andy Mack and his son Duran. The aim: to resolve tension by creating waves to clear the blockage in the body through energetic (and physical) manipulation.

    TREATMENT TO BOOK

    Bone Setting. There’s no pretending that the treatment is relaxing – soon after entering there’s one grown man on top of you with an elbow in your tightest knot and another at your feet. Legs are yanked in order to create said energy waves, and what is quickly clear is that the father-son duo can read your body – straight away finding the pressure points you didn’t necessarily know you had. And it’s quick, at just 20 minutes – so, whether you work close enough to fit it into a lunchbreak or can take the remainder of the day to rest in the spa after, if you’ve got back problems this is probably the London spa for you.


    INSIDER TIP

    Book a 90-minute treatment and gain access to the rest of the spa for the whole day. By Tabitha Joyce


    Address: Akasha Holistic Wellbeing, Hotel Café Royal, 50 Regent Street, Piccadilly, London W1B 5AS


    Telephone: +44 20 7406 3360


    Website: hotelcaferoyal.com


    Price: bone setting: £150 per 20-minute session

  • The best spas in London

    Lanserhof at the Arts Club

    Best spa in London for: all-round wellness with a focus on fitness

    This is the first medi-gym in the world, with six floors dedicated to health and fitness in the glamorous, light-flooded building on Mayfair’s Dover Street where guests can book in to see an osteopath, physiotherapist or nutritionist.

    As with the Lanserhof Group’s other medi-spas, it’s rooted in naturopathy, using hi-tech diagnostic equipment to analyse the body’s strengths and weaknesses. A full-body MRI scan is just the start of the process, and produces a gratifyingly detailed report forming the basis of the programme.

    Along with the cutting-edge Technogym, Lanserhof offers pain-relieving shockwave therapy, over 250 exercise classes per month, massage, cryotherapy, acupuncture and vitamin infusions. You’ll emerge feeling fresh and fit – if slightly dazed. Plus you’ll be protected from any future back problems caused by hefty sports bags, as there’s even a butler service to wash and store your gym kit.

    Be warned: Lanserhof is members-only and wincingly expensive with a price tag of £6,500 a year, a £1,500 joining fee and £1,000 for the butler service.

    TREATMENT TO BOOK

    Test out the virtual-reality Icaros machine: strap on the headset, lean forwards onto the machine and set off on a simulated flight through mountains and valleys while trying to shoot things – finally, an entertaining core workout (three words we never thought we’d combine).

    INSIDER TIP

    Don’t be daunted. It’s a much friendlier place than you’d expect, thanks to the kindness and enthusiasm of chilled veteran general manager Sheila McCann. By Adriaane Pielou

    Address: Lanserhof at the Arts Club, 17-18 Dover Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4LT


    Telephone: +44 20 3967 6969


    Website: lanserhof.com

  • The best spas in London

    Ilapothecary

    BEST SPA IN LONDON FOR: A TOTALLY TAILORED, DEEPLY COSSETING RESET

    A healing, herbal-smelling holistic hideaway tucked between the antiques shops and art galleries of Kensington Church Street, this is the London outpost of Ila founder Denise Leicester’s second line, Ilapothecary. The tenets of the brand don’t stray too far from her organic Ila Spa, but things here are more earthy and rooted, less floral and perfumed. The set-up is, as you would hope, like the most delicious old-world apothecary, with tall wooden cabinets and drawers of curiosities.

    Just up the stairs is a calming space for talks, workshops and sound-bowl therapy, and at the back is a treatment room in which to utterly switch off from the outside world. The music playing, at 432 hertz, with Denise’s haunting vocals, is hypnotic, and the therapists are trained to deliver exquisite treatments that are utterly bespoke (unlike many other places). After you’ve answered an in-depth 50-point questionnaire on not just your physical wellbeing but your emotional status and even your spiritual leanings, a diagnosis is drawn up based on imbalances, pinpointing hormone levels, fatigue and energy blockages.

    You can then divine the route of your treatment – liver or kidney compresses, perhaps, a grounding reflexology session, deep hydrating facial or tension-busting back massage. Or indeed a mix of all of the above. This is no one-size-fits-all stop-off, but a totally tailored, individual approach to regaining balance for the long term. Very special.

    TREATMENT TO BOOK

    Start with the 432 Re-Balancing Reflexology or the Beat The Blues Back Massage (both £65 for 45 minutes), but also be open to the therapist’s suggestion for what would be most beneficial – a warmed castor-oil pack with liquorice and juniper extract and an abdominal massage may give better results than the facial you thought you needed.

    INSIDER TIP

    Don’t make plans for afterwards. Facials start at your collarbone and go right up into the hairline, so you leave deliciously oily but completely unpresentable – best to head straight home. By Issy von Simson

    Address: Ilapothecary, 99 Kensington Church Street, London W8 7LN


    Telephone: +44 7342 168395


    Website: ilapothecary.com

  • The best spas in London

    A PLACE TO HEAL

    BEST SPA IN LONDON FOR: EMOTIONAL HEALING AND FINDING INNER CALM

    This is not a spa in the traditional dressing-gowns-and-facials sense. What it is, is a cocoon for wellbeing, both physical and mental – a safe space in the heart of thrusting West London for those in search of soothing, calming stillness. Until now, anyone who wanted to tap into the shifting transformational powers of the highly personalised Arrigo Programme had to carve out a good four or five days, minimum, for a retreat at psychologist Fiona Arrigo’s Somerset cottage hideout. There, in the blustery countryside, where log fires crackle and therapists (for acupuncture, massage, qigong and Tibetan pulsing, as well as grief counselling and trauma) arrive at your door, deep renewal and grounding takes place.

    And while this extraction from real life can have long-lasting, meaningful results, sometimes finding the time can seem like an insurmountable challenge. So here we are at her brand-new outpost in the capital, a light-filled drawing room on the second floor, with the plane trees of Holland Park Avenue brushing up against the sash windows. The healing hand-holding takes the form of lectures and workshops from a visiting roster of holistic practitioners and wellness wizards. There’s lots of stuff you might not have heard of – transmission meditation classes, Feldenkrais group sessions, Vedic mysticism – but also lots you have, and it’s all delivered with a heady, heartfelt embrace. This is a chance to dip into the probing emotional rollercoaster of Arrigo’s astonishing life-shifting programme in just an evening.


    TREATMENT TO BOOK

    Lectures on everything from holistic solutions for stress and depression to anti-ageing Facercise techniques start from £15. Even better, evening meditations are free.


    INSIDER TIP

    Go the whole hog and book a private consultation with Fiona Arrigo herself (from £175). She has an extraordinary gift for making you feel secure and supported while dealing with all sorts of life issues and concerns. ‘Don’t worry, I’ve got you’ is her opening phrase.

    Address: A Place to Heal, 118B Holland Park Avenue, W11 4UA


    Telephone: +44 7719 368 701


    Website: aplacetoheal.co.uk

  • The best spas in London

    The Lanesborough Club & Spa

    BEST SPA IN LONDON FOR: STEALING AWAY FOR SOME SUBTERRANEAN PAMPERING

    The grey-suited doorman at the Lanesborough is a pro at spotting the weary and city-worn when they walk into the hotel’s columned lobby. He winks a wink and instantly offers to take you to the spa himself. And it’s just as well, because it’s hidden away down corridors and around corners – but that just makes it feel all the more special.

    Well, that and the plush interiors: silk wallpapers; marble floors and reception desk; dark wood panelling; brass-trimmed mirrors. The sense of indulgent downtime starts in the powder-puff changing rooms, before you head, fully fluffy-robed, into the low-lit lounge for a cup of signature Lanesborough green tea. A standout treatment is the deep-tissue massage using an Ayurvedic method of gently pounding potali pouches (soaked in argan oil, lemongrass and frankincense for anti-aging) along your spine, followed by an intense massage of back, arms and legs with a smooth volcanic stone and the masseur’s forearms. All the products are Ila organics, and the haunting voice playing in the background is that of the English brand’s founder, Denise Leicester.

    The treatment ends with the therapist pinging a Tibetan sound bowl, the resonating sound of which envelopes you for a few minutes and leaves you totally tripped out. You leave feeling that bit lighter, and it’s only on the Tube ride home that you realise your shoulders naturally fall lower, you’re less hunched up, your mind is calm, your breath slower and your jaw less clenched.

    TREATMENT TO BOOK

    The 90-minute Deep Tissue Potali (£175), which also includes a full-body scrub with Himalayan salts to cleanse and re-mineralise muscles.

    INSIDER TIP

    Ask for massage therapist Agata Wojcik who judges just the right amount of pressure to apply to stubborn knots and determinedly works them out. She’s also very good-humoured and fun, and reassures you that she’s seen muscles in a worse state.

    By Grainne McBride

  • The best spas in London

    The Away Spa at the W Hotel

    BEST SPA IN LONDON FOR: NEXT-LEVEL THERAPISTS IN A MOST UNLIKELY HIDDEN-AWAY LOCATION

    Leicester Square is the last place you’d expect to find a spa sanctuary. As is the thumping entrance to the dark cocktail-drinking entrance to the W hotel. But up on the 6th floor in the small but very well formed Away spa are two brilliantly kept secrets – the best pre- and post-holiday treatments in town. First up the delightful James Harknett. James is London’s tip-top spray tanner, and you only have to visit someone else, to deviate from one appointment with him, to rush back with your tail between your legs. He treats the whole process as if creating a work of art, sculpting, blending, shading the tan in order to make the most natural look. He is as brilliant at giving pale freckled skin a natural glow as he is turning olive arms and legs a ‘two weeks in St Barth’s’ brown. No streaks, no patches, just a flawless colour. No wonder he is jam-packed booked up day and night and weekend. And on your return from a trip, to get rid of the sun-cream clogged pores and the sun-damaged skin there is the marvel of a Su-Man facial. The hour-long appointment is no lie-back-and-drift-off-to-sleep experience.

    Nor is it a full-on hot-cloth face-wiping. Instead, the signature facial by turbo-charged tiny Su Man, who has biceps better than Madonna’s, is a kind of all-encompassing, toe-tickling, lymphatic-draining, blackhead-ridding rollercoaster of a therapy. After a quick computer scan to flag up any problem zones (ooh, a dry left cheek, because that’s the side you must sleep on) and a good thorough steam, the fun begins. This is all about muscle power, and hard work, using brilliant natural ingredient (she has her own line of products) and really massaging them deep into the skin. There is no gentle patting in sight. Ears are waggled, jawlines are pinched, necks, shoulders, chests are worked and rubbed, bringing blood to the surface, warming up and preparing the areas, and identifying muscle tightness, water retention, neck niggles. Eye cream is rigorously zigzagged in. Cleanser applied with a firm hand and the heel of the palm. A mask, deftly and convincingly pressed into place. And then the bodywork begins, reflexology, calf massage, upper shoulder and neck pummelling. You’re left feeling dazed, confused and deliciously shiny, fresh as a newborn baby.

    TREATMENT TO BOOK

    The spa also has hot stone massages, body scrubs, nails and blow dries if you want to make a day of it, but hook all of that around a session with Harknett or Su Man.

    INSIDER TIP

    Book well in advance. Both of them have a deeply loyal and regular fan base so if you want an appointment you need to get in early.

    By Issy von Simson

    Address: W London Leicester Square, 10 Wardour Street, W1D 6QF


    Telephone: +44 207 758 1071


    Website: awayspalondon.com

  • The best spas in London

    The Spa at The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

    BEST SPA IN LONDON FOR: SERIOUSLY IMPRESSIVE RESULTS-DRIVEN TREATMENTS IN A DEEPLY COCOONING SANCTUARY

    A matter of days after the MO Hyde Park reopened for business in the summer of 2018, after a full-scaffolding top-to-toe face lift, a fire broke out. Thankfully no one was hurt but the doors were closed again, much to everyone’s dismay, to repair the damage. Lording it up at the top of Sloane Street, the hotel is a bastion of Knightsbridge glamour, home to two extremely good restaurants, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Daniel Boulud’s Bar Boulud, and boasting some of the best bedroom views in London, looking out over the park where the Household Cavalry take the horses out for a hack in the early mornings.

    There also happens to be a terrific spa which has undergone its own expansion, elevation and revival. Alongside a great swimming pool, there are traditional Chinese-medicine consultations, a Rasul chamber, a Bastien Gonzalez Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio and a heavy-weight gym.

    Most interesting of all, though, is that it is also the only spa in the UK to offer the Nescens brand’s brilliantly pitched treatments. What a coup. Nescens is the Swiss medi range from hotelier and vintner Michel Reybier’s stable, a kind of Crème de La Mer from the mountains. But what makes it even more interesting is the application and process during treatments – a curious, winning combination of science-led, deeply hard-working anti-ageing products and therapeutic massage and drainage. This is no pat-pat-pat facial. It is a proper treatment, a therapy that feels like a workout not just for your cheeks and face (with pulling and pinching, squeezing and smoothing) but for your neck and shoulders, too, working hard to relax the muscles, to widen the deltoid artery, to encourage a fresh flow of blood up to the face and to drain the old blood away. Arms and hands get a look-in as well, with rigorous pummelling of the fleshy parts of the palm, reflexology for the fingers, rhythmic deep level strokes up the forearm. It is energising, invigorating, a million miles from a cleanse-tone-moisturise routine. You used to have to go to Geneva or the South of France for these special sessions, so how exciting that they’ve landed here at last.

    TREATMENT TO BOOK

    Nescens Better Ageing Face Massage (£225 for 80 minutes)

    INSIDER TIP

    Ask for Michelle, ex-Corinthia, who leads the charge, and does a sobering Visia machine skin screening prior to your facial to assess pigmentation and wrinkles.

    By Issy von Simson

  • The best spas in London

    The Spa at the Bulgari Hotel London

    BEST SPA IN LONDON FOR: GLAMOUROUS DOWNTIME PAIRED WITH CLEVER, CUTTING-EDGE TREATMENTS

    There’s no disguising this spa’s grand jewellery house heritage; not only is it one of the biggest and best in the city, it’s also one of the blingiest. Five floors below the silvery lobby of the Bulgari Hotel – just steps from Knightsbridge – it’s a maze of dark-wood treatment rooms, saunas, swirly onyx-marble steam rooms, ice fountains and a vitality pool that glints with gold-leaf mosaic. And at its heart lies the greeny-gold colonnaded pool, flanked by muslin-draped cabanas with buttons to press when you fancy a gut-friendly antioxidant shake. You could while away an entire day loafing and grazing and swimming gentle laps, but if all that sounds a bit soporific then there’s an ultra-contemporary, ultra-discreet Workshop gym on site, where founder Lee Mullins sculpts the silhouettes of Oscar winners and supermodels.

    Do book in for a treatment too; the list includes straight-up pampering, Ayurvedic healing and up-to-the-minute innovation with LED lights and radio-frequency machines. If you just want to be sent comatose, try the JAX Coco Body Experience, which starts with a head-to-toe scrub and polish before a hot-stone and deeply hydrating coconut-oil massage. You’ll practically have to be carried to the relaxation room, where you’re greeted with flickering fires and steamy pots of ginger tea. For something more results-focused, try a facial. The iS Clinical Fire and Ice uses a mild peel and skin-plumping glycolic acid to revive and renew skin (A-listers swear by it before heading onto the red carpet). And then there’s the holistic; sleep rituals with breathing exercises and delicious herbal compresses, osteopathy with therapist Susannah Makram, and even fillers – without chemicals – delicately administered by cosmetic acupuncturist in residence David Peters. He’ll soften wrinkles, firm and sculpt cheeks, and throw in a bit of inflammation-reducing 24-carat gold too. This is the Bulgari, after all.

    TREATMENT TO BOOK

    The iS Clinical Fire and Ice Facial; £250 for 40 minutes.

    INSIDER TIP

    Make sure you book a treatment that lasts at least two hours in order to get access to all the facilities, including the pool – not cheap, but a worthwhile investment.

    By Teddy Wolstenholme

    Address: Bulgari Hotel London, 171 Knightsbridge, London SW7 1DW


    Website: bulgarihotels.com


    Telephone: +44 20 7151 1055

  • The best spas in London

    Spa at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square

    BEST SPA IN LONDON FOR: A VERY SPECIAL HAMMAM

    Included on our list of the hottest new hotels in the world in 2017, the Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square is housed in a building dating from 1922 and has the oldest, wisest, Beaux-Arts head on its shiny, refurbished shoulders. Walking into the circular lobby, over the marble floors and velvety red carpets, all centred around the grandest grand piano, you get the sense you may have stumbled onto a Bond film mid-take, or at least the latest season of McMafia. But take the lift down a floor to the even more recently redone spa and you’ll realise you’ve actually fallen straight into Aladdin’s lamp, so glittering and swirly are the walls, so curvy and sleek the lines of the pillars. Even the pool walls have reeds made up of teeny, tiny golden tiles, shooting and swaying up from the water jets.

    And yet you haven’t even reached the beating heart: the Turkish hammam. Little pink beams, like upside-down tea-lights, gently shine down on you from a ceiling of mother-of-pearl as you lie back on a warm slab of marble in nothing but your disposable pants and, more unusually but more comfortably, bandeau top. Rather than sitting, as might be more traditional, between the legs of your Turkish masseuse, at the Four Seasons you are treated (in the best sense possible) like a pizza base being kneaded on a table-top, with your therapist – male or female, according to your preference – manoeuvring themselves around you, making for a wholly less invasive and more relaxed experience. As well as special salts, sniffed and approved by you at each step, water is whooshed over you throughout, culminating in a surprisingly lovely blast of cold – though only if you agree to it.

    TREATMENT TO BOOK

    The Steam and Style package: £155 for 90 mins.

    INSIDER TIP

    The above package includes a blow-dry and style in Gielly Green, the hotel salon, along with hot and cold drinks and, if your hair is in need of a little attention, sample products to go.

    By Becky Lucas

    Address: 10 Trinity Square, London EC3N 4AJ


    Website: fourseasons.com


    Telephone: +44 20 3297 9200

  • The best spas in London

    Chuan Body + Soul at The Langham, London

    BEST SPA IN LONDON FOR: A COMPLETE MIND AND BODY REBALANCE

    Round corners, along corridors and down lifts, the Chuan Body + Soul spa is squirreled away in a quiet corner of the gorgeously grand Langham. The hotel might be better known for its clever craft cocktails – its Artesian Bar is regularly crowned the world’s best – but it is its unique mix of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western results-driven facials that draws serenity-seekers here. Visits begin with a multi-choice questionnaire to determine your elemental balance: what time of day and what season do you prefer? What foods do you crave? What body aches and grumbles do you have? Totted and tallied, you’re first prescribed a mind-stilling breathing exercise: for Earth, visualising the colour yellow and resting your right hand over your spleen while practising a deep exhaling chant. Then work begins on your chi. A full-body Chuan Harmony massage releases tension through firmly working acupressure points, awaking and lightening limbs, all designed to balance energy flow through the body. Or there’s stone therapy with hot (yin) and cold (yang) rocks, bamboo massages and jade facials, all channelling ancient Eastern traditions. This is married with some decidedly 21-century skincare: deep-cleansing, plumping and radiance-returning prescriptions using products from Swedish-American brand Kerstin Florian and Spanish brand Germaine de Capuccini.

    TREATMENT TO BOOK

    The Chuan Ritual, consisting of two and a half hours of deeply resetting, mix-and-match, top-to-toe treatments tailored to your elemental balance: £240 for 2hours 30mins.

    INSIDER TIP

    Make time for a dip in the usually-deserted 16m pool before your treatment – it’s housed in this former bank’s vault, so sealed in silence. It’s more relaxing than the spa’s lounge, which is sound-tracked by the whoosh of the treadmill from the (well-stocked) gym through the big picture window next door.

    By Fiona Kerr

    Address: The Langham, London, 2 Cavendish Place, London W1B 3DE


    Website: chuanbodyandsoul.co.uk


    Telephone: +44 (0)20 7973 7550[/callout]

  • The best spas in London

    Ushvani

    BEST SPA IN LONDON FOR: A FULL DAY DECOMPRESSION

    Just off Sloane Street, the handsome Grade II-listed Edwardian mansion-house that Ushvani sits inside calls to mind the sort of place Lucy Honeychurch, heroine of A Room With A View, might stay on a visit to London, tripping out for iced coffee and meringues with cousin Charlotte. The spa’s walls and staircases are clad in the original Arts and Crafts carved panels, and the rich colour and history of the wood immediately casts a spell on the visitor – there is the immense quiet and dignity here almost of a grand library. And yet the permeating scent is of hibiscus, the treatments are Asian-inspired, and there’s a subtle sound of water from the subterranean plunge pool – which guests are encouraged to take proper time in before a treatment – as well as the dry and wet steam rooms. The signature Malay Massage centres on stretching, the therapist firmly guiding movements, stopping to concentrate on areas that are gnarled. There is a sense of someone properly listening to your body and making any changes in the treatment to suit – it feels intuitively bespoke and therapists are confident and strong: this is proper, sensitive bodywork. There are many thoughtful things about Ushvani: the careful way they stagger treatments so that the place is never crowded; their own super-light king coconut and hibiscus facial oil; the little morsels of glacé mango they serve with fresh herbal tea in the drawing room that looks onto the stuccoed elegance of the street, before you gather your thoughts and leave, somewhat dazed, zinging-clean and acutely relaxed.

    TREATMENT TO BOOK

    Ushvani Malay Massage: £180 for 90 mins.

    INSIDER TIP

    The yoga studio upstairs is flooded with light and is one of the few places in London to practise Shri Vivek Yoga, an amalgamation of Hatha, Kundalini, Vastu and Tantric.

    By Antonia Quirke

    Address: Ushvani, 1 Cadogan Gardens, Knightsbridge, London SW3 2RJ


    Website: ushvani.com


    Telephone: +44 20 7730 2888

  • The best spas in London

    COMO Shambhala Urban Escape at COMO Metropolitan London

    BEST SPA IN LONDON FOR: PERTINENT, INTUITIVE TREATMENTS WITH A TOP-OF-THEIR-GAME ROSTER OF THERAPISTS

    Small but perfectly formed, the spa here often gets overlooked for bigger players, but this is one of London’s best-kept secrets. Not only is the space completely sleek and serene – no plinky-plonky music or trickling fountains – but the treatments pack an enormous punch. Revitalising facials from American dermatologist Dr Perricone are satisfyingly clinical and results-driven. Come for the Performance Facial, which combines a deep thorough cleanse with firming, collagen-stimulating topical therapies, and leave with properly glowing bare skin. And those going straight out to a meeting or for dinner can ask the therapist to put on some of Dr Perricone’s amazing foundation. There are great salt-and-sugar body scrubs to polish and slough off old skin, and a considered range of Asian-leaning massage treatments, from Japanese Shiatsu and Chinese reflexology to Indian head massage, as well as a powerful and authentic Thai massage. Most noteworthy of all though are the visiting masters. A roll call of some of the most impressive therapists globally, many of which are from other COMO hotels around the world – COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali, COMO Parrot Cay in Turks & Caicos, COMO Maalifushi in the Maldives – stop in at the COMO Metropolitan London for a week or two’s stint. Up next is the extraordinary energy master Per van Spall, who’s running a ‘Vacation for the Soul’ weekend workshop from 6-7 October 2018. Sessions with part-shaman, part-guru Per are gentle, shifting and releasing, as he manipulates your chi, adjusting the energy flow, and opening and moving blockages in a kind of souped-up version of craniosacral therapy. It’s tricky to explain, but a game-changing experience. Unmissable.

    TREATMENT TO BOOK

    One of the in-house experts or the visiting masters, of course. The Per van Spall two-day workshop on 6-7 October costs £475 per person. Per will also be available for private sessions from 1-14 October: each session is priced at £250.

    INSIDER TIP

    The exercise options are excellent, too – try a session with corrective exercise specialist Lyndon Littlefair to set your fitness back on the right path.

    By Issy von Simson

    Address: COMO Metropolitan London, 19 Old Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1LB


    Website: comohotels.com


    Telephone: +44 20 7447 5750

  • The best spas in London

    ESPA Life at Corinthia

    BEST SPA IN LONDON FOR: COMPLETE ISOLATION

    This is one of the largest spas in London. Behind heavy swing doors, four floors of powerfully restorative treatments help to induce a deeper level of relaxation. From the golden crocodile-skin-print walls, to the curving corridors, and the calming fragrance of sweet orange, lavender and palmarosa in the Restorative candle range, everything here encourages tranquility. But beneath the serene design lies a state-of-the-art spa that can deliver as much or as little as you need. Yes, there are facials; cooling ones for irritated skin and anti-ageing ones which lift and firm, plus massages to pummel or to soothe (some are so sleep-inducing it’s essential to crawl to the sleep pods afterwards), but ESPA Life also offers a long-term holistic approach to physical and mental health. Diverse disciplines such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and reflexology delve deeper into issues, and the mindful programme uses guided breathing and visualisation techniques to lower stress levels. Plus, of course, there’s a gym and full fitness programme at BodySPace, with 24-hour personal trainers and a mini medical diagnostic option. Or simply come to enjoy the thermal floor, a dark cocoon of smooth Italian black marble. Here, stone loungers are warmed and set beside flickering fires, a place to wind down even further after enjoying the steam room or the hydro pool. The elegant glass-encased sauna stands next to an imposing ice basin used to rapidly cool a heated body and stimulate circulation. Or maybe just swim serenely up and down in the pin-drop peaceful pool.

    TREATMENT TO BOOK

    The deeply relaxing Mindful Massage: £195 for 90 mins.

    INSIDER TIP

    Book into the onsite Daniel Galvin hair salon or Margaret Dabbs London nail studio to get cocktail-bar-ready before you leave.

    By Paula Maynard

    Address: Corinthia Hotel, Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2BD


    Website: espalifeatcorinthia.com


    Telephone: +44 207 321 3050

  • The best spas in London

    Aman Spa at The Connaught

    BEST SPA IN LONDON FOR: LUNCHTIME LAPS

    As you might expect at one of London’s more discreet grand hotels, The Connaught’s spa is similarly unobtrusive, hidden away in the basement’s shiny new wing. As the only Aman spa outside of an Aman resort, it’s a pretty good secret to know about. The space is dark and glamorous, but simple – styled with natural woods, marble and slate. A sleek (chlorine-free) pool is the centrepiece, with its black-tiled water-fountain-wall providing the only soundtrack. You might find a magazine stylist doing lengths, or a hotel guest reading on one of a row of smart poolside loungers but, chances are, you’ll have the place to yourself. The treatments on offer reflect the global reach of the Aman brand, with a serious range: a Thai herbal compress is recommended for those with deep-seated muscular pain; an Indian signature treatment aims to leave you feeling calm and grounded; and a Chinese-inspired massage uses rejuvenating essential oils on acupressure points to release stress. For those with just 20 minutes to spare, the spa also offers complimentary meditation classes to help manage stress and anxiety – just book in ahead of time.

    TREATMENT TO BOOK

    One of the spa’s most popular bookings is Inspired By The Americas – a brilliant detox using ancient Navajo techniques. Starting with a red-clay body wrap and ending with a full body massage, the two-and-a-half-hour treatment promotes restorative sleep patterns: £300 for 2hrs 30mins.

    INSIDER TIP

    Don’t forget to bring your swimming costume, as all 90 minute-plus packages include access to the pool and steam rooms.

    By Tabitha Joyce

    Address: The Connaught, Carlos Place, Mayfair, London W1K 2AL


    Website: the-connaught.co.uk


    Telephone: +44 20 3147 7305

    REVIV

    BEST SPA IN LONDON FOR: A POST-TRIP PICK-ME-UP

    There are a lot of jet-lag cures out there – light therapy, melatonin, fasting. But if you’re looking for a tried-and-tested spa treatment to get you feeling ready for the real world upon landing back in London, Reviv’s recent opening on Great Portland Street is your best bet. It started providing IV therapies to the jet set in 2011 and has since expanded its empire to every corner of the globe, from Johannesburg to Toronto.

    Having opened its first independent outlet in central London at the end of 2018 (you could previously head to Harvey Nichols for the treatments), Reviv offers a handful of distinct therapies that can pep you up after a cold, a heavy night out or, crucially, a big trip. The setting isn’t medical or clinical – you’ll barely even notice being hooked up to the drip once you’re ensconced in one of the big, squishy sofas.

    For people who travel regularly we recommend the Megaboost therapy, which restores hydration and replenishes essential minerals and vitamins, while also giving you an energy boost thanks to its extra-high levels of vitamin C mixed with detoxing antioxidants and electrolytes. The results will ease away any travel-induced fatigue or fogginess, meaning you’ll be feeling every bit as relaxed as you did when you were snoozing in a hammock beside the pool.

    INSIDER TIP

    The influx of minerals and vitamins can actually make you feel worse at first, as your body processes the drip. It’s normal to feel a bit tired and foggy immediately afterwards, but this soon disappears.

    Address: Reviv, 45 Great Portland Street, Marylebone, London W1W 7LD


    Telephone: +44 207 7636 4922


    Website: revivme.com

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