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Spa London


March 2013 update:  I organised a spa day for a group of ladies here on a Tuesday (one of the ladies only days) and finally got to try out their massage treatments (which are nearly always booked up in advance). 


The good news is that all of the massages were exceptional and I couldn't believe how much more relaxed I was after just a 15 minute back massage - truly world class!  The wrap treatments had a slightly less positive response from the ladies but it was wonderful to see everyone leaving with a new air of relaxation - and these ladies deserve every second of pampering as they all do so much for everyone else!


The bad news is that the spa has stopped doing food and you're lucky to even be able to order a coffee or tea (herbal tea is always on hand for free).  When fruit is put out it is snapped up immediately and we were relieved we had smuggled in snack bars.  (Sitting eating them in our dressing gowns we felt like naughty ladies at an old school health farm.)  Some other guests were blatantly eating crisps in the hammam which is not really the vibe we were looking for.


The other negative is that although the reception team are efficient at dealing with email requests and were fab with our bookings, it proved impossible to contact them by phone, which would be a major problem for most of my ladies as many of them do not use email.  On the upside some of the ladies have already been back to the spa, opting to use the heat treatment rooms, but they would have loved to have been able to book treatments in advance too.


Also there were some discrepancies between the online menu and the printed massage menu and they also had additional treatments which I found out about via email - which makes it hard for anyone not online to make the most of this spa.


August 2012 update:  Visiting the spa on a weekday morning is a little quieter.  Once again my friend and I left it too late to book treatments, but the one we could indulge in was dry flotation as this doesn't require an attendant, apart from tucking you in.  The dry flotation room is opposite the steam rooms with a hospital style curtain to protect your privacy.  You lie on a flat bed and are tucked in with a heated blanket, plugged into headphones with relaxing music and left to float.  The best bit was when the water surges in, lifting you up and giving that great weightless feeling.  My friend who had lower back problems had half an hour and didn't feel it was enough.  I had booked an hour, and although it felt good I wasn't enjoying it as much as I had lying in the hammam, so after 50 minutes I squeezed the release button, unlocked my treatment room and headed back out into the spa.  On this occasion the ice pool wasn't very cold (which some people complained about) but it was just about the perfect temperature for me to enjoy a quick float in.



Original review:


Lie back on the spacious cream and turquoise surfaces of the main hammam and you’ll understand why so many people are in here.  The gentle warming from beneath is so inviting that I very nearly fell asleep, (and this was not the only room where it would be easy to doze off.)


There are the three marble Turkish Baths, each of a slightly increasing heat, which are lovely places to lie back and succumb to the relaxing music playing gently in the background.


Two dimly lit intense aromatic steam rooms beckon, (although I didn’t notice any particular fragrances) where you can soak up the heat, until the ice plunge pool, ice crystals and even the “refreshing” bucket of cold water on a rope (which you pull over onto your head!) seem like a very good idea.


Step into the monsoon shower if you can’t make up your mind, and press either hot or cold to suit your mood... and you can always dry off, if you like, in the searing heat of the sauna.


When you need to relax from all the relaxing, step into the lounge area, where you can lie back on a cushioned lounger in your towelling robe and sip a glass of lemon or apple scented water, and get ready to take the plunge again.


With towels, plastic flip flops, towelling robe, water and occasional light refreshments on hand, all you need is your swimwear (compulsory for all.)


On a women only day (when I went) the atmosphere is giggly and very friendly - every little group of women wanted to adopt me and make sure I was okay - people here are so down to earth - perhaps because it’s in the East End?  If you really want quiet you can either move to a different room (there’s a lot of choice) or go to a mixed session - apparently the guys are a lot quieter.


With uniformed attendants on hand and very well kept decor, this really is a luxurious spa break for a bargain price.


Although you can’t use products in the spa - which is a shame - you can use them in the changing room showers afterwards - so I went for the Sanctuary warming charcoal body mask, followed by my extra virgin olive oil all over massage oil (ah yes I must tell you about that discovery!) to get the full spa experience.


Unfortunately once you leave the spa the surrounding area isn’t so great - so it was straight back on the tube afterwards, and I did just about manage to stay awake all the way home.


Booking is recommended.  The reception is very helpful and, although they normally charge if you cancel less than 24 hours in advance, they reorganised my visit for free because the Northern Line was down one weekend.


I’ve yet to try the actual spa treatments, which are around the same price as an average spa, but if they are the same quality as the Thermal Spa Experience I will be very happy.


And don’t worry if you mix up your dressing gown and towel - everyone does it.  Although, as it was their 3rd birthday party - with birthday refreshments when I visited, I soon solved the problem - my dressing gown was the one with chocolate cake on the sleeve!


Foot massage

2010 Professional Beauty Awards "Day Spa of the Year"


3 hour entry £24

(although you may be allowed to stay for longer if it’s not busy this is plenty of time) includes robe, towel and flip flops, or £23.50 for an annual card £3.50 and cardholder's entry £20.


Discounts are available with membership only, which is

£3.50 standard

£1.80 concessionary

and rates go swiftly down to as little as £8 - but only until 4.30pm Monday to Thursday and 2.30pm Friday / Saturday


As at August 2012


For more details

Spa London,
Lifting London’s Spirits

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(c) Pearl Howie 2013.  All rights reserved.