Are you worn out? Feeling run down? Maybe you’ve got kids who are giving you the runaround or a tricky boss who’s always on your back? You know what you need? To win the lottery, quit your job and go to Barbados. But that’s not very likely. But what you can do is book into a spa, get some pampering and go back into the house of the office refreshed and ready to face the world.
Here are some of our favourites in London, so book some time off, grab your swimmers and great ready for some intense relaxation…
Dark and alluring
Emily, in The Handbook office, rates this as the best spa she’s ever been to and I can absolutely see why. The dark, subterranean, ESPA Life spa offers a gym and thermal floor, an incredible pool, a vitality pool, amphitheatre sauna and steam room, an ice fountain as well as relaxation areas and experience showers. With a series of treatments available to both hotel guests and day packages available. And when you’re done, head upstairs and enjoy the bars or the recently announced new Tom Kerridge restaurant.
Bathed in light
Sofitel London St James may be one of London’s best looking hotels, but the beauty doesn’t end in the foyer. The SoSPA is flooded with light, a rarity given hotel spas are so often located below ground level, and the treatments available include the new spring radiance treatment which starts with a fifteen minute neck and shoulder massage followed by a 30 minute Fleur de Bali Radiance facial that stimulates cellular renewal to leave your skin smoother and clearer. You’ll also receive a Cinq Mondes Perfect Skin Duo gift so that you can continue the spa feeling at home.
Where: Sofitel London St James, Waterloo Place, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus (0.3 miles)
Ancient and modern
Hotel Café Royal’s spa is named after Akasha, the Sanskrit word for ‘space’. Which is ideal as their wellness centre is the perfect place to go to enjoy your own space, re-centre and chill out. Take to one of their nine treatment rooms for their signature treatments, a fusion of innovative Western practices combined with ancient Eastern traditions, or enjoy a purifying scrub and massage in the private Hammam. As well as a Vichy shower (perfect for cleansing hydrotherapy rituals), there’s London’s first Watsu pool, specially made for tailored hydro-treatments and guided meditation.
Escape the Soho crazy
I love the Ham Yard Hotel, partly because I once got to briefly interview Jennifer Lawrence there and she was, well, lovely. Partly because there’s a really cool two storey spiral orange dispenser (check it out) but also in part because the treatment rooms at Ham Yard Hotel are a tranquil retreat from the crazy of nearby Soho and Piccadilly Circus. Relax, get pampered then head upstairs to the guests-only rooftop bar.
Laid Back 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 fear not, the magnificent 16m pool is fully heated and sensual.
Where: 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, London, W1B 1JA, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Oxford Circus (0.3 miles)
Love the dangly thing
Sea Containers London is special, with it’s fabulous views and quirky styling, its one of the most interesting hotels in London and a refreshing change from the grand old hotels of Mayfair. But this continues in the agua Bathhouse & Spa. The clean and design-led space is instantly relaxing, with the relaxing space dominated by a copper sculpture of, well we don’t know what, the office here at The Handbook agree it looks most like that dangly thing at the back of your throat. Either way, fabulous.
Cowshed at The Ned
The Ned was probably London’s most exciting opening of 2017, with its cool range of eating and drinking options. But don’t overlook the Cowshed Spa downstairs. 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.
One for all seasons
It feels like the Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square has been around for ever, with its Michelin Starred restaurant and historic setting. In fact it’s only a year old and may still be on your to-do list. If so, then get down to The City and check out dinner at La Dame de Pic and afternoon tea at Rotunda but make sure you spend some time at the luxury spa while you’re there. Make the most of the swimming pool, vitality pool, steam room and sauna.
Where: Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, Trinity Square, London EC3N 4AJ, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Tower Hill (0.1 miles)
For those who think you can never feel fully relaxed, think again. Offering up a holistic, wellness paradise, Jiva Spa, which is nestled inside of Taj 51 Buckingham Gate, is an oasis so magical you wouldn’t know you’re amongst the trappings of London’s bustle. Inspired by traditional Indian healing wisdom, the spa draws on the heritage of India, from its Indian Royalty to the various healing therapies, all of which seep through into the delightful treatments on offer.
Speaking from experience, a Handbook team member indulged in some of “ahh-time” and benefited from the Indian Aromatherapy treatment at the spa. Wandering through a tranquil garden, you’re taken off the beaten track to a space filled with calming music, dark lighting and a delicious welcoming herbal tea! The treatment itself, 60 minutes in total, was akin to what we can only imagine paradise feels like. Essential signature oils are generously applied and absorbed through the skin, of which you have the choice of a few at the start of the massage. Opting for the energiser, the back, arms, legs and face are all tended to, leaving you feeling incredibly relaxed and detoxified.
Other therapy highlights include the dreamless sleep massage, body rituals such as the Vishuddi and Aksha, and various other Indian therapies.
Bvlgari aren’t just top-end jewellers, they’re also hoteliers. And one of the many jewels in their crown has to to be the spa, which lurks deep underground, glistening and green. 2,000 metres squared, it’s one of the largest spas in the capital, and has been crafted from onyx, oak and Vicenza stone thanks to the skills of Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners. Spread across two floors, the spa includes 11 treatment rooms, plus a double-spa suite, a large fitness area for personal training, jacuzzi and steam rooms. But the most impressive feature has to be the 25 metre pool, lined with mosaics and covered in gold leaf tiles.
Where: Bulgari Hotel London, 171 Knightsbridge, London SW7 1DW, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Knightsbridge (0.2 miles)
Victorian elegance meets Middle Eastern allure at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. 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.
The Sanderson’s agua spa offers guests an oasis, away from the bustling city beyond the silent cathedral of serenity. The 10,000 square foot space is visually stunning, emulating the ancient traditions of the Roman Bathhouse but using the cutting-edge modern technologies of today. A refuge offering rest and solitude but also treatments and invigorating regimens.
Where: 50 Berners Street, London, W1T 3NG, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Goodge Street (0.4 miles)