With so much going on in our neighbourhood, spas feel less like a treat than a necessity – if you’re planning a big night out they can prep you for it, and if you’ve spent a hard day shopping they can help soothe it away. In many cases they can be an attraction in themselves, with half- or full-day packages that make ideal gifts.
Although we were sad to see the Sanctuary Spa close in May 2014 – it was one of the oldest, in business for 36 years and with a long list of famous fans – but there are still plenty of great options nearby, from relaxed independents to big-name institutes to Thai specialists. Pair them with a workout in our fully-equipped gym – free to use for guests – and you’ve got the perfect wellness package.
Relax Covent Garden
Situated just off popular shopping street Long Acre, Relax does a very informal, very accessible take on spas, with a colourful downstairs lounge for pop-in massages and a series of luxurious treatment rooms upstairs, clustered around a waiting area that looks out over the St Martin’s Court development (so you can people-watch and plan which shops to hit afterwards). Massage offerings range from powerful sports sessions to classic, relaxing Swedish techniques. The Ultimate Relax Experience, coming in at £210, includes an aromatherapy facial, a full body massage and a manicure or pedicure.
Thai Square Spa
While most modern spas offer at least one Thai-inspired treatment, Thai Square, a gorgeous retreat in an old Covent Garden warehouse, offers in the region of 50 – so if this is the style you prefer, this is where to come. Naturally, treatments use plenty of aromatics and spices – ginger, lemongrass, jasmine, cinnamon, black pepper – and many, if Thai Square is to be believed, date back centuries (as long as it works, we’re not too bothered). There’s a fair amount of hype around the Golden Maharani Facial Treatment, which uses a face-pack made with genuine 24-carat gold. There’s also a wide range of massages and basic beauty services, and the decor is lovely throughout; we’re particularly taken with the big copper baths in two of the fourteen treatment rooms.
The Aveda name dates back to the mid-70s, and today it’s one of the world’s most recognised names in organic hair and beauty, specialising in plant-based products, committed to fair trade and against animal testing. Its London salon and spa has a huge staff of 70 from 23 nationalities. As you’d expect, there’s a focus on hair treatment and styling, but also really like their pricing structure for body treatments – pick a main massage and add on extra mini-sessions, from ayurvedic eye treatment to reflexology, for £20 each. There’s also a men’s grooming section, which sells itself as “a merging of traditional barbering and holistic well-being”. Boys?
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