The 10 best London spa hot spots and retreats
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The 10 best spas in London
Whether your muscles are sore, if you’re finding it hard to switch off or you’re just plain knackered, having a spa treatment booked in has the power to make your bad week good in an instant.
So where should you make your appointment? We’ve compiled our hit list of 10 of the most Zen-like hot spots in London to cover all bases and budgets, without scrimping on quality. If you’re looking for a massage, manicure, pedicure, a hammam, reflexology or a facial, your dream beauty treatment could be just a click of a mouse away. Scroll through our gallery to see which London spas made our edit…
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Spa London is London’s first community luxury day spa and provides an amazingly affordable option without compromising on quality. With six different locations across London, our favourite is the York Hall Day Spa in Bethnal Green that is uniquely situated in one of London’s oldest Turkish baths.
A perfect place to go with friends for an afternoon of relaxation, the spa has a great range of facilities including multiple steam rooms, a sauna, a hammam and a chilled relaxation area. Always busy but never overcrowded and with options for women only and mixed sessions, London Spa makes it easy to treat yourself to some blissful pampering, without the killer price-tag.
York Hall Day Spa, York Hall Leisure Centre, Old Ford Road Bethnal Green, London E2 9PJ, 020 8709 5845. www.spa-london.org .
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Bliss Spa London
Bliss by name, bliss by nature, this London beauty hot spot combines the brand’s stellar selection of body-focused products with some of the best and most cheekily-named treatments in town. From the ‘Quadruple Thighpass’ to the ‘Head Over Peels Scrub + Rub’, the menu of top to toe services addresses all manner of ailments from a stiff back to dry skin. The seasonally-themed pedicures and Essie nail polish manicures are pretty hard to beat too, ensuring that you always put your best foot forward whether you’ve found yourself in need of a serious stress fix or in need of a quick yet effective lunchtime pick-me-up.
Bliss London, 60 Sloane Ave, London SW3 3DD, 020 7590 6146. www.blissworld.co.uk .
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Elemis Day-Spa, London
As soon as you walk through the doors, the blend of Balinese, Thai and Polynesian influences instantly paints a picture of a spa that seems better suited to Malaysia than Mayfair, with an all-encompassing menu of beauty therapies for both men and women.
The broad range of anti-ageing facials, massages and skin treatments leaves no hot stone unturned. We’d particularly recommend the Exotic Frangipani Body Nourish Wrap , £75 for a bit of pre and post-holiday R&R, where hot, nourishing oil is poured all over your body helping to restore radiance, suppleness and hydration back to dull, lacklustre skin. It’s a gateway to pure paradise that’s just on our doorsteps.
Elemis Day-Spa, 2-3 Lancashire Court, Mayfair, London W1S 1EX, 020 7499 4995. www.elemis.com/DaySpa .
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Away Spa at the W Hotel, London
Any day spa that can make this GTG writer a fake tan fan, (I’m Sri Lankan btw – see how I got on here ) is a winner in my books. Celebrity tan man and Get The Gloss Expert James Harknett is in residence here with his skills with a golden gun providing all the tools you’ll need to leave with a sun-free post-holiday glow that’ll fool everyone.
One of the best facialists that we’ve had the pleasure to meet, Su-Man Hsu , also provides her signature facials here, with her ability to lift, re-energise and tackle sagginess, fine lines and wrinkles with supreme care and touch renowned the world over. Cost-wise, it’s certainly on the higher end of the scale however, if you’re looking for something a little extra special, you quite simply couldn’t be in better hands.
London Leicester Square, 10 Wardour Street, 0207 758 1071. www.awayspalondon.com .
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Aromatherapy Associates Boutique and Treatment Rooms
With the scent of essential oils wafting through the air, you can’t help but involuntarily exhale as you step through the doors of this beautiful boutique on Montpelier Street.
With an assortment of relaxation-inducing treatments which target both body and mind , each is tailor-made to your specific needs thanks to a thorough consultation and questionnaire to help identify your particular essential oil prescription. Whether you need to re-energise or reboot, address achy muscles or sleep better, the list of massages, facials and body treatments with the essence of aromatherapy running throughout will help ease anxieties and restore harmony to the most frazzled and worn out of post-work week nerves .
Aromatherapy Associates Boutique & Treatment Rooms, 5 Montpelier Street, London SW7 1EX, 020 7838 1117. www.aromatherapyassociates.com/ourboutique .
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Atelier Beauté at Josh Wood
With a bevy of beauty and Get The Gloss experts in residence, Atelier Beauté boasts a dream team of pros at its disposal, all covering a wide range of specialities and skills to get you looking back to your best in no time.
From a manicure like no other from nail technician Marian Newman and her team, to balayage with King Of Hair Colour Josh Wood and his ensemble of colourist extraordinnaires, a tan with A-list tanning expert James Read and a selection of rejuvenating facials with skin specialist Debbie Thomas and also Gazelli, (the Awakening Revival, £75 was wonderful one morning-after-the-night-before) and many more, pretty much all bases are covered for a one-of-a-kind pamper sesh that’s pricey, but definitely worth it.
6 Lansdowne Mews, London W11 3AN, 0203 393 0977. www.joshwoodcolour.com .
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Cowshed, Clarendon Cross
Hidden away in a quiet part of Holland Park, this spa combines 5-star treatments with a distinctly homely atmosphere.
From the blueberry pancakes cooking on the AGA to the discreet and experienced team of therapists, you’re left wanting for nothing at the end of your appointment, (other than perhaps more treats from the kitchen – you’re only human after all). Their pedicures and manicures are truly magical, with their powers to transform double digits from Big Foot to beautifully barefoot bordering on Voodoo. One for those who would rather their feet didn’t suffer the effects of winter hibernation, this spa makes for the perfect weekend hideaway for tired tootsies.
119 Portland Road, London, W11 4LN, 020 7078 1944. www.cowshedonline.com .
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Located above the hustle and bustle of Harrods’ shop floor, Urban Retreat provides some much needed respite and relaxation away from the bargaining masses.
From haircuts to blowdries, massages to tanning, this spa does it all, offering a wide range of services to answer every beauty need. Dimly lit and set amongst opulent surroundings encompassing chandeliers and countless numbers of high-end lotions and potions, the decor is more slick and modern than it is open and airy. But that isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it actually provides a refreshingly unique take on the traditional spa experience.
An air of glamour and decadence floats through the air, (with zero pretention we hasten to add). Whether you book in for a Thalgo body treatment, a La Prairie facial or even something from Crème de la Mer, a treatment here acts as a nearby escape to break up your Saturday shopping session.
5th Floor, Harrods, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7XL, 020 7893 8333. www.urbanretreat.co.uk .
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Aveda Lifestyle Salon & Spa, Covent Garden
Is your hair looking flat or are your shoulders up to your ears? If so, the expert team at the flagship Aveda Lifestyle Salon & Spa will see to it that you leave with a bountiful blowdry, and shoulders restored back to their normal positions.
Their renowned spa services which include the most nap-inducing of massages, are set in the most wholly sensory and relaxing of decors with each treatment designed to tap into sight, smell and sound to make the experience all the more comprehensive. If staring at a computer all day long as left you tight of shoulder or hunched of back, we recommend that you try the Aveda Stress Fix Massage, from £56, which combines reflexology, deep tissue and aromatherapy to leave you wonderfully chilled out and jelly-legged (in a good way) when you’re ready to head back home.
174-177 High Holborn, London, WC1C 7AA, 02077597355. www.avedainstitute.co.uk .
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Como Shambhala Urban Escape
This seriously Zen-like oasis’s quiet and instantly calming atmosphere almost makes you feel like you’re in faraway Asia instead of London - all without racking up the air miles.
The lovely big treatment rooms, low lighting and incredibly attentive staff (who are great at gauging when you’d like to chat or rather be left alone) make for an enjoyable and tranquil experience. The menu of highly impressive massages in particular are deeply relaxing on an emotional level and supremely soothing on a muscular level too.
The Dr Perricone facials are results driven with an indulgent ‘spa’ edge - blackheads and other skin blemishes won't survive a trip here thanks to the highly efficient extraction. To top it all off, the spa’s honey and ginger tea is truly addictive. All in all, this luxurious spa has all the ingredients to allow you to re-calibrate and hit the reset button when you’re feeling your most overwhelmed.
COMO Shambhala Urban Escape, Metropolitan by COMO, Old Park Lane, London W1K 1LB, 020 7447 5750. www.comohotels.com .
Photo credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts for Como Shambhala