We visit three of London’s finest five star hotel spas to see if they’re worth splashing out on in 2022.
If you’re looking for a luxurious and pampering staycation you don’t need to leave London to relax, as the capital boasts some of the most opulent spa hotels the UK has to offer. We visit three of the best to see if the offerings live up to expectations.
1. Corinthia London hotel and Espa Life spa review
A stone’s throw from Embankment station and the Thames, and housed in a former Ministry of Defence building, the architecture and interiors of the Corinthia London levels up to the hotel’s luxury — and none of it’s subtle. On the ground floor you’ll find seasonal (and rather stunning) installations, with a huge chandelier and grand piano year-round. Rooms combine modern interiors with hints of English country style, with muted creams and greys mixing with deep blues, greens and mauve. You’ll find opulent marble bathrooms in every room with heated floors. Rooms also offer incredible views of the city with traditional wooden bay windows and balcony doors.
Espa Life at Corinthia is the flagship site for the spa brand, which can be found across the country. None, however, will match what you find here. The design is futuristic with glass and metal features somehow made homely with built-in fireplaces, including one framing the large vitality pool where you’ll find metal benches below the water with air and water massage jets throughout. It also features an amphitheatre sauna, steam room, ice fountain, swimming pool and relaxation pods. If you’re booking a treatment, I’d recommend the mindful massage.
2. Café Royal hotel and Akasha spa review
Found on the corner of Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus, Hotel Café Royal is markedly understated. You slip into reception through a side street and can make your way to your room without passing a bar or restaurant, allowing for anonymity during your stay. Apart from a multi-floor chandelier in reception, the remarkable interior comes largely from the grade II-listed features, such as the staircase, the original gilt lift doors and the Oscar Wilde Lounge. The hallways are dimly lit with Asian-inspired panelled walls leading to minimalist rooms with large cream stone or wood panelled walls and marble bathrooms. Quiet and subtly grand in comparison, it’s the spa that makes this hotel a worthy rival.
An underground escape from which you’ll feel the rumble of trains going through Piccadilly, design at the Akasha spa matches the minimal style of the hotel. A pool in which you can swim laps, it’s surrounded by relaxation areas and adorned with a large hammam and a cavernous sauna. Here you’ll find London’s first Watsu pool for hydro-treatments and guided water meditations, along with a treatment menu including its signature aromatherapy experience tailored to your emotional and physical needs using Swedish massage and neuromuscular techniques.
3. Mandarin Oriental
One of the most luxurious hotels in the city, the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge puts other five-star hotels to shame. Designed by Joyce Wang, rooms are positively palatial with beautiful modern art deco stylings. Expect panelled walls, leather headboards and leather-topped desks with chandeliers and royal blue features throughout. Wake up to the sound of horses trotting through Hyde Park.
While the hotel took lead for best stay out of the three, the spa came third. The high tech gym and 17 metre swimming pool impressed, but the samarium spa, amethyst crystal steam room and vitality pools are found in the changing rooms and were surprisingly modest in size. However couples can book the Oriental Suite and Rasul water temple, and unsurprisingly the treatment menu is impressive. I’d recommend the Renaissance Body Glow, using Oskia’s natural skincare range, which combines relaxation with reinvigoration. It begins with a full body scrub using fine pink Himalayan salt, fruit enzymes and starflower oil followed by a full body mud mask, during which you’re wrapped and warmed in foil while enjoying a face and scalp massage, before showering off ready to finish with a full-body massage.