How The Other Half Live: Christa D'Souza gets her glad rags on for an indulgent afternoon at the Ritz Spa
Generally speaking when I go to the beauty parlour, I don’t worry about what I’m wearing. The beauty parlour, the spa, it’s not so much about what you put on as what you take off. This doesn’t work, though, when you’re going to the spa at the Ritz. Glad, then my appointment for their new signature Jade Stones treatment was at 3.45pm and I therefore had all morning and half the afternoon to make myself look respectable. Not that the concierge peering down his pince-nez at me and asking if “modom” needed directions, necessarily thought it showed.
The hotel spa is a funny animal, isn’t it, though? However hard it tries, it’s always going to be an add-on along with babysitting and private in-room dining, somehow. What’s great about the spa at the Ritz, though, is it does not try to be anything other than what it is, which is a tiny, newly refurbished but super old-fashioned beauty salon converted out of maids quarters, with two hair styling stations and a teeny mani/pedi room. It’s set way up in the building’s magnificent eaves, overlooking Piccadilly and Green Park. If Madame Adelaide Bonnefamille from the Aristocrats were to have her hair set in London, this is most definitely where she would come.
The psycho-physical rebalancing treatment I had, administered by a lovely girl called Hannah lasted 90 minutes and consisted of two pale green jade spheres (sort of like Ben-Wa balls) being rolled up and down both sides of my body in a manner much more gentle and non-hurty, frankly, than I am used to. There’s also an equally delicate facial massage and mask with an Italian line of products called Comfort Zone which were created in Parma by the Bollati family in 1983.
Gosh, I thought, as I slipped into an inevitable spa reverie, how nice it would be to get married here (or rather at the adjoining 18th century William Kent mansion), to be able to avail myself of the salon’s quaintly entitled “Bridal Services”, to pad up and down the plush carpeted hotel corridors in my Ritz dressing gown and slippers.
But its back home to W14 in rush hour I must go. As I slip out via the side door the pince-nez’d concierge gives me a little knowing nod. What is it about posh hotel concierges when one is not actually staying there? They always make me feel a little grubby, a little cinq a sept.