One of London's best loved spas, The Sanctuary has been just that for many a lady in need of leisure; we'll be sad to see it go, writes Anna Hunter
Sad news for all spa lovers; it was announced this week that the iconic Sanctuary Spa in Covent Garden is to close its doors on May 31st. For all of us who’ve sipped champagne in the company of the majestic Koi carp, got a bit too enthusiastic while using the pool swing or fallen asleep at the hands of The Sanctuary’s magical therapists (guilty as charged) these are woeful tidings indeed.
The decision to shut the Covent Garden spa follows the closure of three other Sanctuary high-street boutique spas in Richmond, Cambridge and Bristol. Catherine Ferma, The Sanctuary’s spa director, told industry publication Professional Beauty that a judgement call had to made in line with changes in customer demand:
“Our day spa guests have been declining for the past few years but product sales have been very successful and we are seeing a real trend for people moving to doing treatments at home instead of visiting spas.”
The reason for this decline is thought to be due to our increasingly time-poor lifestyles, as Catherine states that ‘people just don’t have time to spend a full day at the spa anymore’. We have less expendable income, and a more work less play dynamic means that fewer and fewer of us can afford a blissful afternoon spent with girlfriends in towelling robes. To top it off, redevelopment planning in the Covent Garden area contributed to the tough decision to close the legendary spa.
The Sanctuary first opened in 1977 and was founded by American choreographer Gary Cockerill as a haven of relaxation for his ballet dancer wife. Being just around the corner from The Royal Opera House yet nestled away from the hustle and bustle of central London, The Sanctuary lived up to its name and soon attracted dancers and members of the public alike (only ladies mind). Wonderful therapists, affordable treatments and a relaxing, invigorating environment positioned The Sanctuary as a one-of-a-kind retreat with a loyal following. Only this year it won the Good Spa Guide’s ‘Reader’s Spa of the Year’, securing its place in history and proving that whilst we may have had to curb our Jacuzzi time, we still love The Sanctuary.
While the beloved spa will be no more, the brand’s ‘very successful’ product line will continue, and it looks to go from strength to strength. From May onwards the brand will be ‘focussing on being digital and looking at a different way to deliver the Sanctuary expertise’. Whilst we’re in mourning for one of our favourite day spas already, the fact that the Sanctuary home spa experience promises to become even more self-indulgent hints at a silver lining.