Answers from Our Experts (4)
If you need to relax, look no further than London's top spas. These temples of wellness will have you back to your best in no time.
The Dorchester Spa
For a traditional spa experience, try the Dorchester. Lose yourself in the glamorous 1930s design, relax in the aromatherapy steam room and treat your skin to a facial – some of the best on offer in London. Time your visit to coincide with afternoon tea at The Spatisserie, where you're welcome to dine in the comfort of your dressing gown: the 'Beau-Tea-Ful' spa offer includes an hour-long treatment of your choice and use of all the spa facilities.
Espa Life at Corinthia
With in-house fitness professionals, nutritionists and complementary therapists alongside the beauty experts you'd expect from a top spa, Espa Life is designed to meet your every need. Personal training is available in the hi-tech gym and private relaxation pods are just perfect for lounging between treatments. The design is strikingly modern – there are 3,000 square metres to explore, but you may be tempted not to even leave the beautiful changing rooms, which could easily be mistaken for the lounge of a five-star hotel.
Hamam Turkish Bath
But London spa culture isn't confined to its luxury hotels; there are more down-to-earth options here too. Take a tip from the capital's large Turkish community and give the Hamam Turkish Bath in Dalston, East London a try. This is a truly authentic haman experience – spend time in the sauna-like 'warm room' before enjoying a vigorous foaming massage in the steamy 'hot room'. Then splash with cold water to cool down and relax with a fresh fruit juice in the lounge. A range of additional treatments are also available.
Spas are big business in London and every hotel worth its essential oils will have a spa of some sort – even if all they offer is a suite of treatment rooms. It can be a mind-boggling choice to select the best one for you, and prices can be steep. Here is my pick of the best, whatever your budget.
Budget: Spa London
This is probably London's best-value spa, with branches around town offering everything from thermal spa sessions to hot stone massages. The best of the bunch is probably Ironmonger Row Baths, set in one of the city's oldest Turkish baths. Here you can use the steam rooms, hammam, sauna, monsoon showers, plunge pool and relaxation lounge for 3 hours for the bargain price of £25.
Mid-range: The Sanctuary
This is the perfect place for a girls day out with affordable treatments and plenty of champers. Book for a weekday and you can have access to the full spa (koi carp lounge, exercise pool, spa pools, sleep retreat, heat and steam rooms) for just £75. Or buy an Ultimate Sanctuary Escape to add two 25-minute treatments, one 55-minute treatment, a two-course lunch, a glass of wine, scones and tea and a Sanctuary Spa gift worth £20.
Luxury: Spa at Mandarin Oriental
For all-out opulence, the Mandarin Oriental's spa can't be beat. Relax in the hydrotherapy suite with its range of massage jets before indulging in a treatment performed by London's best therapists. Try the signature therapy, a relaxing massage that combines oriental meridian massage with custom-blended essential oils or the Time Ritual which lasts a hour and 50 minutes and is tailored specifically to you (both £240).
London is a spa-lover's paradise, home to more than a dozen world-class Forbes Travel Guide Four and Five Star spa facilities. Here are three which are particularly special.
The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel
Located within a five-star hotel in one of London's most decadent districts, this luxurious Park Lane spa transports you a world away from the city's busy streets. Or, at least, ten floors away. This deliciously-designed facility – floor-to-ceiling windows, dark wood walls and warming fireplaces – offers an extensive range of revitalizing treatments: from massages to manicures; facials to foot treatments.
The Aman Spa at The Connaught
The most individual feature of this spa? How individual it is. Each guest gets their very own private spa suite, which includes a dressing area, a large wardrobe, a shower with a steam function and a range of grooming products. After they have enjoyed this, guests can either opt for one of the many treatments available, or simply enjoy a swim in the spa's unique pool, which looks like a large grotto (complete with waterfall).
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental
This beautiful spa, spread across two levels of one of London's finest hotels, comprises an amethyst crystal steam room, a color therapy area and a mineral vitality pool – not to mention the eight treatment rooms offering everything from facials to massages.
After a dehydrating long-haul flight and aching limbs from busy days sightseeing, make time in the itinerary for one of these restorative pit stops:
Best for alternative treatments: Chuan Spa
London’s first luxury Chinese medicine centre is great for trying something new, with treatments tailored to suit your element - metal, wood, water, fire and earth - and focused on keeping the mind, body and soul balanced. Be sure to make time for the complimentary Chuan Tri-bathing Ritual to pre-treatment to reap the full benefits of your time there.
1C Portland Place, Regent Street, W1B 1JA
Best for indulgence: May Fair Spa
With the likes of the Milk & Honey Wrap, Golden Caviar Facial and Cashmere and Silk Body Wrap on the menu, the May Fair Spa is the place to head for pure indulgence. Centrally-located, but still managing to instil instant calm as soon as you step into its classy surroundings. With aromatic steam room, herbal sauna, ice fountain and a relaxation room decked out in sleep-inducing heated beds among the complimentary wet room offerings, you’ll be hard pushed to find the willpower to leave.
Radisson Edwardian May Fair Hotel, Stratton Street, W1J 8LT
Best for a quick fix: Cowshed Carnaby
Conveniently placed in the heart of one of London’s best shopping areas: Carnaby Street, with a menu of 30-minute treatments (from face peels to pedicures) to chose from; perfect for the time poor. The brand’s gift-worthy collection of beauty products, on sale in the upstairs shop, is also worth a look while you’re there.
31 Foubert’s Place, Soho, W1F 7QG