From the high end luxury wraps and gold facials provided by elegant hotel spas to the affordable yet surprisingly indulgent services found at the Porchester and Spa London, the capital is a spa-lovers dream. Here are nine to get you started on the road to bliss:
4 Seasons London
The 4 Seasons hotel in Park Lane is a 5 star hotel with a spa that never ceases to impress. It is situated up on the tenth floor, with floor-to-ceiling windows providing a magnificent view over Hyde Park. The facilities and atmosphere are special, with sizeable, plush rooms and art on the ceilings.
There are a lot of services to choose from, if you have a budget for them, including £160-£175 facials using pineapple, rosemary and even real gold; men’s treatments; pedicures; manicures; hot stone massage and their signature ‘Four Hands Massage’, which will set you back £245 for an 80 minute session.
May Fair Hotel
Not for those on a tight budget, the exclusive spa at central London’s May Fair Hotel is a haven of cashmere and silk body wraps and indulgent gold caviar facials. There are also a number of spa packages which are ideal as gifts, for example the hour long Winter Rasul Cleaning Ritual (£135) and the 45 minute Moroccan ‘Together’ treatment for couples (£299), all provided by experienced therapists. Customers bask in a tranquil space under artificial starlit skies and surrounded by statues from the East. Facilities also include a herbal sauna, aromatic steam chamber, ice fountain, experience showers, capacious wet room and relaxation area complete with heated bed and candles. Day passes are available for purchase at a cost of £30 (£15 for hotel residents), and the spa is open from 9am to 9pm daily (closing at 8pm on Fridays, weekends and Bank Holidays).
Mandarin Oriental, Knightsbridge
Still on the upmarket hotel theme, few spas can match the Mandarin Oriental for opulence. Taking up three levels, and adorned with dark wood, flowers and sculptures, the Spa & Wellness facility at the Mandarin Oriental has a treatment menu that matches the decadent surroundings. Customers can enjoy experiences such as crystal massage, body treatment with hot and cold shells or aromatherapy facials. They also offer a tempting selection of signature treatments, including a bespoke £240 two hour ‘Time Ritual’ where customers can benefit from a selection of treatments designed purely for them. Spa facilities include amethyst steam room, spa boutique and male and female sanariums. Facilities are open from 8am daily until 10pm (9pm weekends).
Ushvani Day Spa, in Chelsea, brands itself as London’s most luxurious day spa, and from the moment you step through the door it is clear you have entered somewhere special, with its mixture of natural light and warm candles; dark, exotic wood; commissioned artwork; blooms; statues and natural herbs, creams and powders.
Usha Arumugam’s Malaysian-inspired day spa draws upon the power of nature and the concept of total wellbeing, and customers can select from a tantalising list of massages, facials and enhancements or indulge their senses in the steam room (ladies-only) and hydrotherapy pool. Couples can book themselves into the Asmari Suite for 3 hour long sessions for £620.
The spa opens at 12pm daily, except for Fridays and Saturdays (10am). It is closed on Sundays.
The original Spa London, situated at York Hall Leisure Centre, Bethnal Green, is one of the more affordable spas in the city but still offers treats such as Turkish hammams, plunge pools and steam rooms. From the treatment menu, customers can pick from over 50 delights, including the Elemis Exotic Coconut or Frangipani Nourish Wrap; Elemis anti-ageing facials or a Swedish or Indian Head Massage.
There are now six Spa London centres, including those at the Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre and Ironmonger Row Baths. Opening hours are 11am to 8pm on weekdays and 9am to 7m on the weekend.
The Porchester Spa
One of the capital’s oldest spas, the Porchester in Queensway was restored and modernised in 2006. Visitors will find three Turkish hot rooms; re-tiled steam room and sauna; swimming pools, plunge pools and a range of no-fuss, affordable treaments including the usual wraps, facials and massages. The Porchester Spa is also unusual in that it operates on either mens-only or ladies-only basis depending on the day (with the exception of Sundays). Opening hours are 10am to 10pm daily (10am to 4pm on Sunday).
Berkeley Health Club & Spa
The Berkeley Hotel has handed the running of their spa to Bamford Haybarn who create tailor-made treatments using only botanic ingredients certified by the Soil Association. Customers can enjoy treats such as deep tissue massage, stone treatments, exfoliation and Oskia facials at prices that hover attractively around the £100 mark. One of the most luxurious settings in the city, customers will often find themselves rubbing shoulders with the odd celebrity, maybe while using the little rooftop pool overlooking Hyde Park.
The Aveda Institute in High Holborn is the spa of choice for the environmentally concerned, as the treatments are made using purely herbal ingredients with no known side effects. The therapist takes their time to go through each individual ingredient and explains its purpose before starting the session. The surroundings are airy and attractive and the service menu includes manicures, pedicures and hair treatments. The Aveda Institute opens from 8am to 7pm or 8pm on weekdays; from 8am to 6.30pm on Saturdays and from 11am to 5pm on Sundays.
58 South Molton Street
Based in the exclusive area of Mayfair, this wellbeing centre, with its award-winning spa, has enjoyed a rapid rise from obscurity to one of the most talked about centres in the city. Customers can enjoy a soothing, peaceful time in a conducive atmosphere, allowing them to fully unwind from their city stresses. There are an impressive range of therapies, treatments and, of course, spa facilities on offer.
The centre is open from 9am to 9.30pm weekdays (10 to 5 weekends).