London's glamorous spa escape
12 Treatment Rooms
Down beneath the hustle and bustle of Knightsbridge, lies Bulgari Hotel Spa, a space oozing in glamour and gold leaf. The spa, part of the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Bulgari Hotel & Residences, London is 21,527 square feet of calm, with the exception of the thumping fitness center where the likes of actress/model Cressida Bonas has been known to work up a sweat.
This is a two-floor, no-expenses-spared ode to Bulgari’s rich Italian heritage, where sand-colored Vicenza stone, warm oak, glass mosaics and generous splashes of green and amber onyx are used in abundance to create an oasis of opulence. It is the work of award-winning architectural and interior design firm Antonio Citterio and Partners, which boasts a portfolio of luxury lifestyle projects, including Bulgari hotels in Shanghai and Turkey, the W Hotel in St. Petersburg and Mandarin Oriental, Milan.
While open to the public for beauty treatments, full use of this luxury spa’s facilities and gym is purely for hotel guests, members or day-spa visitors booking a minimum treatment time of two hours, a policy in place to ensure the space retains its exclusivity and remains at a comfortable capacity.
Pop in on a weekday morning and it almost feels like you have the place to yourself, while afternoons and weekends are busier; it’s recommended to book ahead.
Access to the London spa is via an elevator from the hotel lobby. When the doors open to the spa floor, you’re greeted with the fresh scent of palmarosa, sweet orange and lavender from the ESPA restorative diffusers. The tranquil reception area is dotted with white orchids and softly lit with glowing onyx, lamps and candles.
The Pool Area
At 82 feet in length, The Bulgari Spa’s pool is arguably the most glamorous pool in London with its shimmering green and gold mosaic tile lining, heated to a comfortable 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lined up alongside is a row of cabanas with sinkable loungers and white curtains draped on either side to provide privacy. On a little table next to it, you’ll find a button to press for service, should you wish to order a drink or light bite from the menu.
There’s also a table by the entrance with a help-yourself selection of nuts, fresh fruit, Kangen Water and a stack of leather-clad, glossy magazines. At the far end, the vitality pool, tiled top to bottom with gold-leaf glass mosaic, shines like something out of Aladdin’s cave. A waterfall and pressure jets massage away aches and pains.
There are 11 treatment rooms in this spacious spa with impossibly comfortable beds. Heavy wooden doors keep all noise out, and lights are turned down to a relaxing low.
For couples or friends seeking privacy, there’s the Onyx Spa Suite, which features two treatment beds, a hydro-massage tub, a steam room, a private changing and relaxation area and, as the name suggests, lashings of green onyx.
For men, an intimate and discreet Gentleman’s Grooming room serves up hot-towel shaves, facials and haircuts in more masculine surroundings complete with black leather barbershop chairs.
The male and female changing rooms each have a sauna, a steam room and an ice fountain. You’ll find a robe, slippers and towels in the lockers and a vanity area stocked with Babyliss ionic hair dryers and amenities such as deodorant, dental care products, combs and hair ties.
Pre- or post-treatment, you are invited to settle into one of the thick-toweled beds in the relaxation area, a conical room, with an open fire, where you can read one of the magazines, snack on the bites laid out, enjoy a pot of fiery ginger tea or simply recline and enjoy the quiet.
The Bulgari Spa prides itself on being a pioneer of new beauty and body treatments, with a regularly changing Trend Room menu, which tends to everything from poor sleep and gut health to anti-aging. The emphasis is on gaining impressive results through a natural approach and high-quality products, with services ranging from the indulgent 24k Gold Rejuvenating Facial, by renowned acupuncture practitioner David Peters, to the intense Clinical Fire and Ice Facial.
Bulgari is also the only U.K. spa to serve up Swiss Perfection and Georgia Louise treatments. For those traveling by long-haul flight, the Pure Flow Pulsation Therapy is supposed to be the ultimate jet-lag remedy.
The spa does the basics very well here, too. The signature Personalized Massage uses your choice of ESPA body oil and expert techniques to sweep away aches and pains and leave you refreshed. There’s a long list of ESPA facials, massages and treatments on offer to pick and mix.
There’s also the onsite Neville Hair and Beauty salon to tend to your tresses, nails and makeup so you can walk out of the spa and straight to dinner.
This may look like any other fitness center, with top-of-the-range Technogym cardio machines, free-weights, TRX and boxing punching bags, but the approach is anything but. The Workshop Gymnasium is founded by Lee Mullins, former director of personal training at Bodyism and a man whose celebrity clientele includes actors, models and singers.
Through the signature Framework assessment, clients are prescribed holistic personal training plans based on a series of tests, including genetic analysis, food intolerance and metabolic testing, hormone profiling, functional movement screen and body composition analysis. The plans are collectively designed to achieve impressive results.
Group yoga and Pilates along with one-on-one swimming lessons are some of the other services available.