Hoping to find true relaxation in London? Our comprehensive guide to the best city spas is a good place to start.
Winter may be over, and if you can’t escape to Lisbon, the Maldives or another sunny paradise, then don’t despair: you can still leave the daily grind behind with a couple of hours of pure heaven, right here in London.
The capital is teeming with spas promising to pamper every inch of you, making it all too easy to nip out on your lunch break and treat yourself to a massage, a facial or even a simple manicure. But with so many, how do you decipher the good from the great? With our comprehensive guide, of course.
The best London spa for a skin-changing facial
Possibly the most effective facial and the shortest amount of time required, Dr Nima only needs as little as 30 minutes to make your skin glow.
HydraFacial is a gentle microdermabrasion facial performed with a unique machine that (literally) vacuums out pores while simultaneously pushing in actives to moisturise and protect the skin. The full 60 minutes facial includes six steps: exfoliating cleanser to eliminate all the dead skin cells, glycolic peel and salicylic acid peel to minimise pore size and boost the collagen production, serum packed with peptides to replenish the skin, and an optional LED light therapy and lip plumping. The 30-minute version of the facial misses out the first and last step but it’s still incredibly effective.
At the end, your skin will feel smoother and look brighter, without the redness that come with a traditional peel.
Book here: HydraFacial by Dr Nima, 60 mins is £195, 30 mins £120 in various locations.
The best London spa for a body and mind rebalancing
The Lanesborough Spa is worth a visit for their amazing facilities (hello, hydro-therapy pool) but, once there, it would be a shame not to stop by for a world-class facial.
The London Spa is home of the famous Anastasia Achilleos method and the therapists have all been personally trained by Anastasia. More than a facial, the treatment is a wellness experience that focuses on relaxing the mind and balancing the body. Once you’ve tried the holistic facial that adds reiki to a normal beauty treatment, leaving you with glowing skin and a serene mind, you won’t look back.
Book here: The Lanesborough Spa, 2 Lanesborough Place SW 1, Belgravia, London SW1X 7TA. From £225.
The best London spa for a massage with natural ingredients
Rosewood London’s spa works with a variety of wellness brands to offer a huge selection of treatments, but one of their most exciting new ventures is with Maison Caulières. The family-owned French brand has a rich heritage that dates back 250 years, when the Desforges de Caulières family cultivated sunflowers, rapeseed and linseed on their 200 hectare estate, within the Loire Valley Châteaux.
Now, Sense, A Rosewood Spa® is working with Maison Caulières to introduce a range of massages that use these cold-pressed oils, which due to their natural production method and high concentration of essential fatty acids, provide exceptional virtues and beneficial properties like nourishing and rejuvenation of the skin. The 60 minute JOIE massage, for example, is perfect for those who want to relax without too much pressure. It works the whole body with moderately firm, tension compressing moves, and leaves the skin soft and delicately fragranced.
The Maison Caulières Joie massage is part of decadent package which offers a 24 hour insight into the brand, including an overnight stay in an executive room or deluxe suite, choice of 60 minute massage for two, cooking class for two with a Rosewood chef using Maison Caulières oils, dinner in the hotel’s Mirror Room and a selection of oils to take home.
The best London spa for a skin reboot
Linda Meredith is what we would call a star facialist. From Naomi Campbell to Stella McCartney, all the big names trust her with their faces – so why shouldn’t we? Beginning with a deep cleanse and finishing with a transforming oxygen treatment, her Haute Couture Facial is the equivalent of a reset button for your skin. Nothing better to treat ourselves during the cold months.
Book here: Linda Meredith, 36 Beauchamp Place, London, SW3. From £100 for 90 minutes.
The best London spa for breath-taking interiors
From the very first moment you walk into The Ned, with all its velvet sofas, hand-painted wallpaper and all-round vintage greatness, you will be transported back in time to the roaring Twenties. And yet, despite the retro surroundings, the spa offers some very modern beauty treatments, like the new ‘Urban Warrior Pollution Proof Facial’. This new treatment has been designed to alleviate the effects of the everyday’s attacks to our skin (UV rays, pollution…) and protect it from future damages – a soothing ritual designed to target emotional toxicity and leave your skin healed. From photo-therapy to pollution-proof facials, a jump into the old times never felt so good.
Book here: The Ned (The Urban Warrior facial lasts 90 minutes and costs £170 – it’s available exclusively at Cowshed in Ned’s Club Spa)
The best London spa for a quick facial
The perfect spot if you need a quick facial to revive a gloomy complexion, The Facial Bar will give a vitality boost to your face in only 30 minutes.
Less aggressive than a chemical peeling, the Foaming Enzyme Masque system used during this facial – combining papaya and pineapple enzymes – exfoliate and deep cleanse the pores without making the skin peel (a side effect that can appear after a chemical peel).
To hydrate the skin, a mask made of a combination of botanically derived Hyaluronic acid, Aloe Vera and GreenTea, Licorice, Grape and Rosemary leaf extracts is applied, before a serum packed with Vitamin C and antioxidant. You can now treat your skin during your lunch break.
Book here: The Facial Bar (The Champagne Enzyme treatment is £90 for a 30-minute treatment)
The best London spa for an aromatherapy treatment
Hidden in amidst the hustle and bustle of King’s Cross, the Renaissance Hotel offers a beautiful oasis for you to explore. If you are in for a day of self-love, indulge in ‘the lunch escape’. The package includes a 60-minute aromatherapy treatment (facial or massage to choose from) along with a healthy lunch to complete this well-deserved break. Smoothie included, of course.
Book here: The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel (The lunch escape package from £140)
The best London spa for a detox
If yoga is your jam, Ushvani is where you should spend your day off. After a private yoga lesson (which promises to reduce mental fatigue), get rid of the remaining toxins in the steam room – before plunging in the pool for some well deserved relaxation time. A total body and mind detox that will make you feel brand new.
Book here: Ushvani (Private One to One Classes, £85 for 60-75 minutes)
The best London spa for a full-body cleanse
Pollution, dead skin and a long and gloomy winter can really give your skin a hard time. So what better way to celebrate the summer sunshine than a deep cleanse? Aman’s salt scrub combines the energising effect of essential oils and the detoxifying properties of Himalayan crystal salts to gently awaken your body – the best way to get your natural glow back.
Book here: Aman Spa at The Connaught (Salt body Scrub, 45 mins for £120)
The best London spa for a couple’s massage
On the hunt for some couple quality time? The Dorsett Shepherds Bush has got your back. The newly launched SpaMika – situated on the top floor of the hotel – is the perfect place to spend a relaxing day for two. If you’re looking for a real treat, the Signature Dorsett Spa Break includes an overnight stay, full English breakfast the following morning, a 50-minute aromatherapy massage and access to the thermal heated spa facilities before your treatments. A mini honeymoon, just a tube journey away.
Book here: The Dorsett Shepherds Bush (Signature Dorsett Spa Break, £174.50 per person)
Pictures: Alan Caishan/provided.