Browsing Tag

Relaxation Room

Beauty, London, Spa

Spa LONDON Ironmonger Row Baths – Islington

Going to a spa in London is the perfect indulgence for a little ‘me time’, however high prices can make it a very occasional treat.  Spa LONDON, the public sector spa group, is one to put in your address book for luxurious yet affordable treatments and facilities.

Recently, Spa LONDON opened its fourth spa – Ironmonger Row Baths – in Islington, just a short walk from Old Street Station.  The splendid Victorian building was once a wash house and later a traditional Turkish baths, which has been restored in a major £16.5 renovation project.

I visited on a weekday afternoon and was surprised to see just how many people were there having a leisurely spa day – they were obviously in on the secret sharpish.  When I arrived, the spa receptionist asked me to fill in a health questionnaire and exchanged my shoes with some rubber slippers, an oversize bath robe, large towel and a locker key.  The changing room is small, but there’s an adjoining vanity room where you can dry your hair and use GHD hair straighteners.

The spa was much larger and high tech than I expected and it was fun to work my way through the different facilities.  The three Aroma Steam Rooms were the most spacious I’ve ever seen in a spa, with wide marble seating, and each had its own essential oil fragrance and lighting based on colour therapy.  My favourite was the eucalyptus room, as the menthol helped me breathe more clearly.

The two saunas were set at different temperatures and both were pristine and powerful.  The three hot rooms were a new experience for me but the only one that felt really effective for me was the Laconium room with hot marble seating to relax and unwind the muscles.

For cooling down, I particularly liked the Ice Fountain, where you can pick up small shards of ice to rub across your skin – cooling the body temperature and helping firm the skin.  The Monsoon Shower and the Hammam also offer relief from the intense heat – and if you’re brave enough, the Bucket Shower and ice-cold Plunge Pool.

After I’d explored all of the facilities, I showered and headed to the Relaxation Room for a few moments before being called for my treatments.  Guests can sip on herbal teas and chilled water infused with fresh limes, or order a light lunch of meze platters, while lounging on the comfortable spa beds with blankets.

My lovely therapist took me to one of the four treatment rooms for a Spa LONDON Back Massage (£35 for 25 minutes).  As I lay on the spa bed, a bowl of Elemis spearmint essential oil water was placed on the floor, so I could breathe in the aromas.  The massage was effective and my therapist used exactly the right pressure – I almost drifted off.

This was followed by an Elemis Clarity Facial (£37 for 25 minutes), which included a cleanse, tone, exfoliation, mask, massage and moisturise.  My skin felt very soft and plump afterwards and the right products were used for my skin – nothing felt too heavy or oily.

Spa LONDON Ironmonger Row Baths facilities are so advanced and spacious that it can compete with many of the city’s high end spas.  Treatment prices are very reasonable – many are less than £1 per minute – and the results are effective, particularly after using the spa facilities.

There are a few finishing touches that Spa LONDON doesn’t offer such as bath products in the showers or a machine to dry your swimsuit, however, avoiding sometimes unnecessary extras helps keep prices low – just go prepared with everything you need.

The spa operates on a single and mixed sex basis throughout the week, so you can plan your visits accordingly.  Treatments start from just £10, while a three hour visit to the thermal suite costs just £8.75 for concessions, rising to £17.50 for local residents and £25 for others.

For more information and booking, visit: www.spa-london.org

Chérie City was a guest of Spa London

All photos by Spa London

Beauty, Hotels, Hotels - Design, Hotels - Luxury, London, Spa

A Ticket To Tranquility At St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

The spa at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel is a real hidden gem among the bustling St Pancras-Kings Cross transport hub and interestingly, the spa philosophy echoes the travel element of its location.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of visiting The Booking Bar at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel to try the Charles Dickens punch and some delicious bar snacks, in celebration of the great Victorian author’s centenary.  I was delighted to return to the hotel for a spa afternoon to discover the exotic spa journeys that sounded so enticing.

On arrival, I was offered a cool, cleansing towel and a glass of lime-infused chilled water, which was very refreshing on such a humid  summer’s day.  The spa receptionist gave me a detailed questionnaire to fill out, followed by a tour of the spa.  The subterranean spa area is like a long, narrow maze, so this tour was very helpful.

In the luxurious changing room (complete with REN amenities) I had a locker already waiting for me, filled with a thick embroidered bathrobe bearing the spa’s peacock emblem and slippers, a large bathsheet, hand towel and a personalised welcome note with an appropriate quote by Ovid:

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”

I considered this while getting ready and then headed straight for the stunning silver and mosaic pool, to do just that.  The pool area is impressive and palatial, with Eastern-style Victorian tiles in rich colours, high ceilings and bricked archways.

I started with a swim and then enjoyed the powerful jacuzzi jets while sitting on one of the hydro loungers.  The water temperature worked well for swimming, but to make the most of the hydrotherapy massage, it could have been a touch warmer.

The mosaic tiled steam room was ultra hot and effective, with calming twinkling lights on the ceiling.  There was a pleasant scent of eucalyptus and it didn’t have any molten hot drips of condensation from the ceiling that occur in less efficient steam rooms.  The sauna was at just the right temperature to sweat out the toxins and it was spacious and immaculately clean.

I left enough time to properly shower, wash and dry my hair before my treatment and then the spa manager came to take me to the Relaxation Room.  I sat briefly with a glass of water and was soon greeted by my therapist.  She took me to one of the treatment room, of which there are six, including a couples suite.

Being a travel addict, I was keen to experience one of the various spa journey to Africa, India and the Far East.  I was able to incorporate any of the indulgent treatments into my own bespoke one-hour journey, so I chose a Flowers of Bali Radiance Facial and Traditional Massage of the Orient.

The spa exclusively uses the appropriately-named Cinq Mondes, a high end body and skincare brand that I was pleased to try for the first time.

My therapist made me feel very comfortable, cocooned within the thick duvet and heated treatment bed, and began by cleansing my feet with a hot towel.  She then asked me to take deep breaths and inhale the aromas of essential oils to relax my body, before getting to work on my knotted shoulders.

Using Argan Oil, she massaged my back, neck and shoulder with an effective combination of kneading, stretching and smoothing techniques.  The pressure was strong enough to deeply impact the muscles, however, I never felt any pain.  I then turned over and my arms were given an energising rub.

For the facial, a wider selection of Cinq Mondes products were used and the treatment was very thorough and nourishing.  As I was using the Philips ReAura laser treatment at home, my therapist advised not to have exfoliation, as my skin might be more sensitive from the  effects of the laser.  I’d also sweated and washed out any last traces of make-up earlier, so most of the time was dedicated to massaging the contours of my face.  I particularly loved the scalp massage and could feel myself drifting off towards the end of the treatment.

I was brought back to earth gently and slowly and then taken to the Relaxation Room where I chilled out in peace with some glossy magazines, hot jasmine tea, dried apricots and mixed nuts.

The spa journeys all sound heavenly, so here is the complete list…

Journey to Africa, purification and harmony (90 mins) – creme de Rassoul wrap, traditional massage of the Orient.
Journey to India, invigoration and renewal - (120 mins) – aromatic scrub with spices, Ayurvedic massage.
Journey to Indonesia, for stillness and radiance (150 mins) – papaya radiance scrub, Balinese massage, ritual of the five flowers facial.
Journey on the Silk Route (India-China-Japan), road to transformation (180 mins) – aromatic scrub with spices, Udvartana slimming ritual, Ko Bi Do precious youthful facial.

The spa at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel is an enviable facility for all hotel guests to enjoy, however, it’s also a very special underground haven away from the central London crowds for visitors.  What could be better than a spa journey to start your Eurostar journey in complete relaxation, or taking a few hours to unwind before going home.

For more information and booking, visit: www.stpancrasspa.co.uk

Chérie City was a guest of St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

All photos by St Pancras Renaissance Hotel