Catering to a global clientele, London’s luxury hotels have upped their spa game in recent years to compete with the best around the world. Luxury Travel Advisor takes a closer look at the newest, The Lanesborough, which opened in March; the most intimate, The Aman Spa at The Connaught; and the most cutting edge, the new Brain Power experience at ESPA Life at The Corinthia.
The Lanesborough Club & Spa
London’s most glamorous new fitness club and spa opened in March at The Lanesborough Club & Spa, the iconic five-star Regency-style hotel on the corner of Hyde Park. The swanky, new 18,000-square-foot spa and fitness club has been in the works for nearly five years, according to the property’s Managing Director Geoffrey Gelardi, who says, “We’ve partnered with London’s best therapists and trainers, and developed bespoke offerings, keeping both our hotel guests and local clientele in mind.”
Massage is by Beata Aleksandrowicz, creator of the highly regarded Pure Massage; facials are by the founder of “The Method,” Anastasia Achilleos, the most sought-after therapist in the UK with a mile-long waiting list, primarily for her use of craniosacral massage; the fitness training and nutrition guidance is by Notting Hill-based Bodyism, whose founder James Duigan counts Elle Macpherson amongst his clients. The Lanesborough is his first hotel partnership, and the Bodyism team consists of five Personal Trainers, all with different expertise — from yoga to boxing. There’s also a “Spa Butler” on hand to assist after workouts with towels, concierge services, or even just words of encouragement.
The Lanesborough Club & Spa’s new 18,000-square-foot spa and fitness club has four single rooms and one double treatment room.
These wellness superstars aren’t just lending their name, according to Spa Manager Debbie Lowry, herself an acclaimed facial therapist touted by Cosmopolitan, they’ve been instrumental in the development of the services and training of all the spa team members. “We are all about the holistic approach. Stress in everyday life shows in the skin and the body, and so we work on the inner person, looking at habits of sleep and nutrition,” she says. Advisors can contact Lowry ([email protected]) with special requests. For facials and massage, she recommends head therapist Daniella Mocanu. As the hotel caters to a fair amount of weddings, the spa also presents bespoke bridal packages. Bookings should be made through Camille de Lion de Gallion or any member of reception via e-mail at [email protected]
In keeping with the Regency-era feel of the hotel, the space itself (formerly offices) is sumptuous with antique mirrors, dark woods and classical-style columns. There’s a private spa restaurant serving healthy fare (think matcha pancakes, post-training energy balls, quinoa salads). Just beyond the dining and social areas are mani and pedi stations leading to male and female zones. The female dressing area is like a boudoir with romantic hanging chandeliers and a deep purple seating, while the men’s area has a gasp-worthy central gold changing cubicle. State-of-the-art fitness facilities include free weights, spin bikes, a boxing bag, Pilates Reformers, a yoga studio, plus a hydrotherapy pool, thermal suites and five treatment rooms. And it all has a very grown-up feel. Alas, The Lanesborough Club & Spa is not accessible to those under 18, though there are selected treatments for 16- and 17-year-olds, who are accompanied by an adult. Room Tip: All rooms are equally accessible from the spa, as it is located just adjacent to the hotel.
The Lanesborough Club & Spa comes with separate male & female saunas and steam rooms, one of which is shown below.
The Aman Spa at The Connaught
“The best things come in small packages,” is an apt adage for the 2,000-square-foot Aman Spa at The Connaught, in the heart of Mayfair. The only spa outside of an Aman Resort, this London outpost embodies the best of their properties all over the world. A sense of this is felt on arrival: the décor is modern and soothing with Asian accents, mixing stones, dark and light woods, and lovely aromas of cedar, lemongrass and lavender. There are five treatment rooms, including one double for couples, a fitness room and an ionized pool with cascading granite water wall.
Depth here comes with the outstanding range of treatments. The choices reflect Aman’s regions around the world — India, Thailand, China and the Americas — and there are four signature treatments, each two and a half hours long, using traditional rituals of renewal from each destination. Inspired by India is a chakra balancing treatment, which uses a meditative practice to release emotional tension; from Thailand, the spa offers massage and herbal compresses that are used to release muscular tension; influenced by China is a restorative meridian treatment used to balance and revitalize the body’s Qi and energy flow; and from North America, Aman brings a purifying sage and cedar wood smudging followed by a grounding hot river stone massage, to turn over a proverbial “new leaf.”
The most requested treatment, according to Spa Director René van Eyssen, is the deep-tissue massage. “Guests coming from long flights want to relax,” van Eyssen says. We tried the 60-minute Holistic Massage with Jackie Koneva, who began with a lovely foot massage while enquiring our needs and preferences. Koneva’s specialty is Craniosacral and Holistic Therapies, and her use of pressure was magically on-point — we practically floated out of the room. The spa has a dozen different therapists on staff, with specialties ranging from naturopathy and reflexology to cranial osteopathy and acupuncture. Van Eyssen ([email protected]) can be contacted with questions or to suggest specific therapists; bookings are best made at least two weeks in advance through Aman Spa Reservations ([email protected]).
The Relaxation Room at Aman Spa at The Connaught allows guests to enjoy herbal infusions.
The Connaught also hosts many London weddings and has custom packages for bridal parties. Children under 16 are not allowed in the Spa, but the pool is available for families that are hotel guests during limited times. Room Tip: The closest rooms are located in the contemporary part of The Connaught with direct elevator access to spa.
ESPA Life at the Corinthia London
Firmly established as one of the slickest and most extensive spas in London is ESPA Life at Corinthia London. The 35,000-square-foot spa is set over four floors and includes a full Thermal Floor (black-mosaic steam room, silver-steel pool, vitality pool with massage jets and massive glass-box sauna), 17 treatment rooms, full gym with Technogym’s most advanced range, Artis, and a hair and nail salon. Beyond the physical facilities, the ESPA Life is known for innovation, which is exemplified by their latest offering, “Brain Power Packages,” under the guidance of Dr. Tara Swart, a trained doctor, psychiatrist, leadership coach and author, who is in the midst of a year-long post at the Corinthia as “neuroscientist in residence” — a global first in the hotel industry.
The “Brain Power Packages” present guests with tailor-made experiences in three areas: guestrooms, the spa and restaurants — all designed to have them feel rejuvenated and refocused. The guestroom is set to increase quality of sleep with the help of natural fiber mattress by Hypnos, a pillow menu, lavender spray and blackout curtains. According to Dr. Swart, seven to nine hours of good quality sleep each night is essential, as this is when the brain’s glymphatic system (waste clearance) works, and disruption to this process can drop IQ by five to eight points the next day. At the spa, there’s a two-hour ESPA Mindful Massage with Yoga Nidra, which is a holistic, deeply relaxing and clarifying treatment using mindfulness, a combination of breathing and visualization techniques that transcend into very restorative yogic sleep. Menus based around “neuro-nutrition,” i.e. brain power-boosting foods like healthy fats found in avocado, salmon, nuts, a range of hydrating teas and mocktails, have been added in the hotel’s The Northall Restaurant, in-room dining and the Bassoon Bar. Our brain uses up to 20-30 percent of what we consume, so wise food choices are essential, according to Dr. Swart. Brain Power Packages at Corinthia start at £618 per night.
A new manager for ESPA Life, Carrie Kerrigan ([email protected]) started at the end of April, after serving at The Dorchester. She is the best contact for more information on Brain Power treatments, therapists and bookings, and general enquiries can be made at [email protected] Room Tip: A dedicated spa elevator is accessible from floors 1–5. Rooms ending in 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 are the most conveniently located.