A special treat when I travel is to indulge in a day spa and the various treatments available such as facials, massage or mani/pedi. When I stayed at the Westin Capetown, I practically swooned in their spa and could have stayed for days in their relaxation room with the heated water beds. Despite the many visits to London and the option to utilize the many hotel spas over the years, it wasn’t until last week that I went for it, exchange rate be damned! My shoulders were on par with my ears, my lower back wasn’t happy and my whole being was exhausted and this was before I stepped on the long haul flight. Lucky for me, I was staying at the ultra luxury Rosewood Hotel in Holborn, at the edge of The City of London (the business district). The hotel opened in October 2013 and has quickly become a favorite winning many awards and accolades. The Sense Spa has seven treatment rooms available from 9am – 8pm during the week and 9am-7pm on weekends.
The pro of having a spa in the hotel is that for the most part it caters to hotel guests which means that it generally (not always) has last minute availabilty. I inquired at the concierge desk in the morning before the spa opened for a deep tissue massage after 6pm. I received an email from the spa coordinator that a 5:45 reservation was confirmed (since I finish work at 5:30, I had to pop out a few minutes early and hope for a smooth Central line journey back to the hotel -if I wasn’t stressed from the work day, well the Central line would be sure to take care of that).
The spa is located on the basement floor (lower ground level) in the corner with only the orchids to indicate it’s presence. Opening the door, I was quickly enveloped in a spa like zen zone (spa music is key). Welcomed by the front desk attendant, I entered the ladies side of the spa zone with wooden floors, corner chairs/candles and bamboo. The ladies locker room (with showers, sauna, steam room and sensory shower – not sure what that was) which was around and in the back of the room. I was then told to go to the relaxation room in the middle to wait for my therapist. The relaxation room had a center island with teas and water. The circular room housed many chaise lounge chairs with towels, a reading light and small tables. Dimmed lighting (hampers any chance of good photos), spa music and one other person in the room, I could have easily stayed here all night after a long, stressful work day.
My therapist introduced herself and led me down the candlelit corridor with water features to the treatment room. I was shown a recessed cushioned seat against the wall and given a juice shot (blackcurrant, elderflower and apple) while asked about injuries, etc. The room was quite large for a treatment room and also had a shower stall. The treatment table was draped in the softest sheets and heated – this alone was enough to put me to sleep. I then settled in for my deep tissue massage knowing that I would not be lulled to sleep.
For most people, a massage is relaxing, I envy those who do fall asleep. For me, due to the intense cardio/sculpt workouts that I do added to the daily grind of life (work, eat, sleep, gym, rinse, repeat), the knots are not pretty and take a bit of tough love approach to work out. My therapist was wonderful – she blended the right amount of talking with good pressure needed to rid the knots.
Like all good spa treatments, the hour goes by too quickly. I didn’t want to leave but was led back to the relaxation room which I had to myself. The fact that I was in London was forgotten, the stress of the work day forgotten, my mind was blank as I lay in the room thinking that this was a fabulous retreat in the heart of London. While my mind and body were ultra relaxed, my stomach was not on the same wavelength as it started to grumble for dinner. My stomach won out and I relaxed for about 15 minutes more before dining at the hotel’s brassiere.
The cost of the deep tissue massage was £100 (my credit card exchange rate of 1.71 billed this as $171, I know ouch!). Service charge of 12.5% was not included so I added £15 (a bit above the standard 12.5%). The relaxing hour I had at Sense Spa in the Rosewood Hotel was worth every penny/pence!