Kinvara Balfour discovers the wellbeing centre and spa that's a real home from home
When it comes to preening, primping and prepping, I’m all for a bit of privacy. There’s nothing worse than entering a spa or hair salon and worrying about what you look like; it should be the one place you’re allowed to look like a heap.
So I’m happy to have found Wakeman Road. The new wellbeing centre and private house offers treatments by some of the best practitioners in London, and is a haven of privacy and calm, with few judges at the reception desk looking you up and down. None, in fact: this place is like a home, with refreshingly few staff hanging about.
Set in a quiet corner of Kensal Rise, it’s a hip hangout with a kitchen, sitting room, and discreet treatment rooms upstairs (and there’s a bath in the bathroom in case you fancy a proper soak, post-treatment. How simple. How nice). Founded by two impressive Brits, Emma Sinclair and Richard Lamballe, this place is as much for men as it is for women. It’s members-only but the monthly membership fee is redeemable against treatments.
Supper clubs and nutritional cookery classes hosted by guest chefs take place in the kitchen, where there’s a constant supply of Plenish Cleanse and Jax Coco in the fridge. The adjoining room is part waiting room, part make-up/blow-dry desk and part boutique, selling beauty, fashion and home brands like ILA Spa, Oskia, Spiezia, Antonia Burrell, Hey Jo and Sara Berman. This is “simple things done well” and “stuff we like” as co-founder Richard says – and why not? What a great idea, to just bring in products you love, as and when you discover them, and to amass an eclectic collection of goodness like you would in your own home.
Treatments vary, from reflexology, reiki and homeopathy to GP consultations and make-up lessons. I highly recommend Tui’ Na with the fantastically nice Chris Campbell . It’s a traditional Chinese method which is less strokey massage, more pushy-pinchy body prodding that stimulates the body, calms the mind and gets the blood flowing again; one treatment with Chris left me feeling calmer than I have done in weeks.
No-one minded that I looked half asleep on departure. In fact, I could have walked out in my dressing gown and slippers and they wouldn’t have minded one bit.
Wakeman Road , 4 Wakeman Road, London, NW10 5BN (0208 964 6740)