The Handbook
The Handbook

Spaaaaaaaah! Uncertain and scary times getting you down? Whether you’re finishing up a stressful half term corralling children or you’re looking forward to an impending next lockdown tier, you could probably do with a few hours to just relax, indulge in some non-worry time and let go.

And the good news is that London is well placed to help with exactly that. The capital bristles with socially distanced spas that are the envy of the world. Here are a dozen choices that you can book right now…

ESPA Life At Corinthia

Beneath the graceful exterior of this crisp Whitehall iceberg lies a subterranean darkness that’s alluring and luxurious in equal parts.

ESPA Life spa offers visitors a gym and thermal floor, an incredible pool, a vitality pool, amphitheatre sauna and steam room. As if that wasn’t enough there’s also an ice fountain as well as relaxation areas and ‘experience showers’.

And the best thing is that when you’re done with wellness, you can saunter upstairs and enjoy a slap up meal at Tom Kerridge’s wonderful Kerridge’s Bar & Grill.

Where: Whitehall Place, Westminster, SW1A 2BD
Website: www.corinthia.com

Agua London At Sea Containers London

If puerile jokes about dangly bits aren’t your bag, then good luck finding small talk at Agua London at Sea Containers London. That’s because the relaxing space is dominated by a huge copper sculpture of… we don’t know what. It looks like that thing at the back of your throat, but it’s probably something nautical like most of the sculpture at Sea Containers London.

Either way, the luxurious spa includes an urban spa lounge, treatment cabins and a Glamour Bar.

Where: 20 Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PD
Website: www.seacontainerslondon.com

Where: 10 Trinity Square, Trinity Square, The City, EC3N 4AJ
Website: www.fourseasons.com

Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square

The spa and wellness facilities at the Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square allow you to connect to London’s Roman past and indulge in ritual bathing on a heated marble plinth at the hotel’s Hammam.

An array of private treatment rooms offer visitors relaxing anti-stress treatments, from body treatments to calming facials, or just chill out (figuratively) in the sauna. The centrepiece is one of London’s sleekest pools.

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

Say zig-a-zig-ahhhhh as you relax in the pool that didn’t make it into the Spice Girls Wannabe video. Not that St Pancras Renaissance Hotel will let you forget that the rest of the hotel featured heavily in the iconic ’90s music vid.

Away from Girl Power, Victorian elegance meets Middle Eastern allure downstairs. Deep beneath the gothic edifice above, the luxury spa, in what was once the hotel’s steam kitchens, offers various treatments, a fitness centre, steam rooms as well as a beautiful pool.

Where: Euston Road, King’s Cross, NW1 2QR
Website: www.stpancrasrenaissance.com

Where: Waterloo Place, St James’s, SW1Y 4AN
Website: www.sofitelstjames.com

SoSPA Sofitel London St James’s

The SoSPA at Sofitel London St James’s is flooded with light, a rarity given hotel spas are so often located below ground level. The tall arched windows, high ceilings and abundance of natural light still offer plenty of opportunity for shutting your eyes and enjoying some real pampering.

The spa champions high-end French products including Codage Paris and Cinq Mondes. Ooh-la-ahhhhhh!

Akasha Spa, Hotel Café Royal

Hotel Café Royal’s spa is named after Akasha, the Sanskrit word for ‘space’. Which is ideal as the spa at Hotel Café Royal is the final frontier between the stress of Regent Street shopping and chill-out wellness.

Take to one of their nine treatment rooms for a fusion of innovative Western and ancient Eastern practices or enjoy a purifying scrub and massage in the hammam.

There’s also a Vichy shower and London’s first Watsu pool. What’s Watsu? Glad you asked… It’s a pool specially made for tailored hydro-treatments and guided meditation.

Where: 68 Regent Street, Piccadilly, W1B 4DY
Website: www.hotelcaferoyal.com

Where: One Ham Yard, Soho, W1D 7DT
Website: www.firmdalehotels.com

Ham Yard Hotel

I love the Ham Yard Hotel, partly because I once got to briefly interview Jennifer Lawrence there and she was, well, lovely, and partly because there’s a really cool two storey spiral orange dispenser (check it out).

But also because with all the craziness of Soho ringing out around the hotel, it’s a minute’s walk from Picadilly Circus, the treatment rooms at Ham Yard Hotel are the most perfect and tranquil retreat from all of it.

Relax, get pampered then head upstairs to the guests-only rooftop bar.

Cowshed At The Ned

Soho House’s most ambitious project to-date, The Ned, is often cruelly likened to an upmarket motorway services, with it’s array of eateries all competing for the same floorspace. But even the likes of Watford Gap and Leigh Delamere can’t boast a subterranean Cowshed spa.

Set around a 20-metre indoor pool there’s a sauna, steamroom, traditional Moroccan hammam and eight treatment rooms. Get a treatment and a haircut while you’re at it. Perfect for a lunchbreak relax or an afternoon of pleasure.

Where: 27 Poultry, The City, EC2R 8AJ
Website: www.thened.com

Where: 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, W1B 1JA
Website: www.the-berkeley.co.uk

The Bamford Wellness Spa at The Berkeley

The Berkeley, a hotel that’s no stranger to a superlative, sets a high bar with its rooftop open air pool and secret garden. Located beside Hyde Park, there’s more to the Berkeley than one of London’s most desirable pools.

The Bamford Wellness Spa offers treatments  including massages, plus hot and cold stone therapy from its seventh floor treatment rooms. If you can possibly bear to leave the pool, that is.

Shangri-La London The Shard

Unless you’re being visited by a masseuse on your private jet you’re probably not going to get a better view from a spa anywhere in town. The Shangri-La London The Shard is perched close to the top of London’s iconic Shard and the 52nd floor Sky Pool is the tallest infinity pool in Europe.

Treatments including massages, beauty treatments, nails and make-up are available in the hotel’s treatment rooms, or just sit back and enjoy the view poolside.

 

Where: 31 St Thomas Street, Borough, SE1 9QU
Website: www.shangri-la.com

Where: 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, W1B 1JA
Website: www.langhamhotels.com

Chuan Body + Soul, At The Langham

There’s something wonderfully industrial about The Langham’s gym, laid out among the Victorian riveted girders of the building’s structure, making working out feel like stoking the engines in the belly of the Titanic.

But it’s the spa facilities, courtesy of Chuan Body + Soul, where the hotel’s wellness offering really pays dividends. Along with the sensual, fully heated 16m pool, the spa includes male and female sauna and steam rooms and a myriad of treatments.

InterContinental London – The O2

Sensory massages courtesy of Comfort Zone, ecological aspirations and a great pool, not to mention steam room and sauna, all combine into a medley of relaxation and tension relief over at Greenwich Peninsula.

The InterContinental London – The O2 hotel also offers guests express facials while all treatments are silicones, parabens and animal derivatives free, giving you peace of mind as well as, well, just peace.

Where: Waterview Drive, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 0TW
Website: www.iclondon-theo2.com


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