“This massage will actually take you to Polynesia,” says my Baglioni Spa therapist. These are eight words you really want to hear on a cold, grey morning in London.
To disappoint literalists, the massage won’t actually take you to Polynesia – that blissful archipelago nestled in the Pacific Ocean – but it will rub you in a heap of sand and squish you into a water pillow while listening to sounds of crashing waves for an hour and a half.
The Polynesia massage, the flagship treatment in Kensington’s Baglioni Spa, is a real indulgence, if you can handle being coated in a thick sandy body scrub and gently grazed with a “lagoon water bath pebble”. At one point I nodded off for 15 minutes, lost in a daydream involving five days of annual leave splayed on a beach.
The massage is probably nearer to Benidorm than Polynesia – my holidays tend to involve more beer and less essential oil – but I can definitely say the winter blues were blown away after 90 minutes languishing in a pile of sand and coconut shells.