A taste of true relaxation, Chinese-style, at the Connaught Hotel

THE CONNAUGHT unfurled itself slowly and lusciously, with Hélène Darroze’s superlative restaurant and two jewel-like bars opening at various intervals after the hotel’s major refurb a couple years back. One year old but little trumpeted is the hotel’s super-discreet Aman spa (with a pool) where I went to experience an “experience inspired by China”. This is one to have at the end of a busy day or week; and it’s not good for people in a hurry, as it takes two-and-a-half hours. It’s bliss, though, even if there were moments during the Chinese massage when I thought I might yelp in pain. I had Igor, a brilliant Austrian (and wonderfully camp) therapist, who began by giving my feet a pressure point massage as they soaked in a bucket of “beautiful” green tea water. Next came an exfoliation of oil and Himalayan salt dribbled tantalisingly on my skin before being deliciously rubbed in.
Post-shower, that agonising, authentic-seeming Chinese pressure point massage with essential oils ironed out any back problems and got my circulation flowing in my legs, arms and head. Finally, there was a facial massage that left me – as well as my whole body – utterly glowing when I left. If you can’t escape to the tropics, this is the next best thing. £280 for 2.5 hours. Carlos Place, W1K 2AL, www.the-connaught.co.uk