Being a lifestyle reporter is a tough job. Sometimes it means getting massages at newly-opened spas and calling it work. What I have learned from all this labouring is that massages tend to be the same. Nice, but forgettable by the time you lay down for the next. (Again, it’s a tough job.)
The massage I had at the newly opened Claridge’s Spa was not the same. It was a thing of confidence and precision quite unlike I’ve had anywhere else. It starts with the frankly delicious setting. At the new Claridge’s Spa, which exists deep below Claridge’s hotel, there are sleek, modern treatment rooms that instantly calm. They tout the sort of feng shui that feels impossible to conjure without some form of illegal alchemy. Surely no human could cook this up. The space, created by interior architect André Fu, pays homage to Japanese gardens and living spaces.
My masseuse roll-called what felt like every luxury establishment in London when I asked where she’d worked, then told me she’d moved to Claridge’s because was after a new challenge. She pummelled at my upper back with the caring touch of a loving relative who knows that sometimes tough love is best. (Cause pain she did, at my request. Those knots will be better for it.)
Away from the massage room and the spa is simple. Only a handful are allowed in at a time, so there’s always a cabana free at the end of the pool. Fruit is piled in one corner next to a jug of water. There are no over-the-top frills, just a good pool with beautiful interiors, and the chance to feel properly relaxed and switched off somewhere so piercingly central.
The changing rooms take themselves as seriously as the rest. Not designed for more than three or four people at a time, instead of an ordinary changing area each private room has its own rainforest shower, toilet, and sink with a huge mirror. I felt so comfortable in my shower that I started singing before remembering I was in public. Oops. (Oh well, I convinced myself the one other guest in there enjoyed my tones.)
Claridge’s is lush, isn’t it? First opened in 1812, it still has its original 1920s double-height doors, embellished with beautiful detail, as well as furnishings and glassware from the heyday of hedonism. We had a cocktail in The Fumoir after our treatments with fried chicken because frankly when you’re at Claridge’s, who wants to leave? Ask for your drink in an original piece of glassware, then sit at the bar, for something truly special. In a city of constant change, it’s comforting to know there is always Claridge’s. The old with the blisteringly new. Any excuse.
Book a treatment at the Claridge’s spa by visiting the website