BEST SPAS IN LONDON
A proper spa break usually involves a trip out of town, staying the night at a country house hotel and never changing out of robe and slippers, but if you want a bit of pampering without leaving the city, there are plenty of places to indulge. Many of the best spas in London are to be found inside hotels, and the capital has plenty of those – especially high-end ones – offering a multitude of ways to treat yourself.
There’s a stunning Art Deco spa (inspired by the Turkish baths at the Royal Automobile Club here in London and the original YMCA in New York) in The Beaumont in Mayfair, complete with a steam room, marble plunge pool, sauna and hammam massage table. Across the river in Greenwich, and with Canary Wharf as your backdrop, the InterContinental London at the O2 also boasts a luxurious spa with a 17-metre swimming pool, sauna, steam room, gym and eight treatment rooms.
You don’t have to make a beeline for a hotel spa when you’re after a dip and massage though, as there are several other spas in London – you just have to know where to look. Spa Experience Bethnal Green, housed inside the historic York Hall, is one of those IYKYK places. Set in one of the city’s oldest Turkish baths, it offers the full thermal experience – we’re talking hot rooms, hammam, sauna and more – at an accessible and affordable price point.
And if you like a thermal bath, AIRE Ancient Baths, hidden under an 18th century building in Charing Cross, is the spot for you. It’s a proper sanctuary, featuring a series of pools and baths at different temperatures, from 10º to 40º) as well as a steam room, a jet bath, and a salt bath, and you can also add on massages for the ultimate relaxation experience.
AIRE ANCIENT BATHS
- Monday: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
- Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
- Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
- Thursday: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
- Friday: 9:00 AM – 11:00 PM
- Saturday: 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM
- Sunday: 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM
AIRE Ancient Baths, inspired by Greek, Roman and Ottoman traditions of bathing, creates modern versions of thermal baths in restored historical buildings in various locations around the world – the London AIRE lives inside an 18th-century building in Charing Cross that was once the home of Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie. AIRE has worked with the building’s original architecture to transform the space into a sanctuary. The arched ceilings and exposed brick in the main bath area coupled with flickering candles and soothing music really does create a tranquil atmosphere (helped immensely by the no phones rule). The main space features a series of pools and baths at different temperatures; there’s the warm Tepidarium (36º), the hot Caldarium (40º), and the cold Frigidarium (one at 14º and one at 10º) as well as the Vaporium steam room, the Balneum jet bath, and the Floatarium salt bath, where you can also have a little salt scrub. You can move around the different ones however you like and there’s also a relaxation area with herbal tea if you want to take a break from the water.
- Monday: Open 24 hours
- Tuesday: Open 24 hours
- Wednesday: Open 24 hours
- Thursday: Open 24 hours
- Friday: Open 24 hours
- Saturday: Open 24 hours
- Sunday: Open 24 hours
The Beaumont in Mayfair boasts a beaut Art Deco spa, which has recently been restored so it’s looking better than ever. The trademark black and white mosaics are still there but an extra treatment room has been added, so there’s more space for MZ Skin and OSKIA London facials, and Jérémy Perrin is also on board to offer hair colouring and grooming treatments. The steam room, marble plunge pool, sauna and hammam massage table have all had little touch ups whilst staying true to the spa’s inspiration – the Turkish baths at the Royal Automobile Club here in London and the original YMCA in New York. It’s the perfect place to indulge in a hammam (the spa’s signature treatment), done with Parisian brand La Sultane de Saba products.
YORK HALL SPA
Spa Experience Bethnal Green, housed inside the historic York Hall (bet ya didn’t know it was there), is all about making luxury treatments accessible and affordable. Set in one of London’s oldest Turkish Baths, it offers the full thermal experience, including traditional hot rooms, hammam, plunge pool, sauna, and monsoon showers as well as face, body and beauty treatments. We’ve tried a couple of their signature treatments and they have been incredible, and that includes the price too.
Agua is located on the spa level of Sea Containers London and is a true spa experience, so zen it’s the kind of place you want to spend a good couple of hours in rather than dashing in and out on your lunch break. With plenty of therapies to experiences in their treatment rooms and manicures and pedicures on offer from their Glamour Bar it’s an excellent spot. The spa also boasts Hedgerow by Agua, an in-house range of small-batch, organic products inspired by the UK’s wild hedgerows, which are showcased in treatments that also make use of herbalism and aromatherapy techniques. The massages and facials are particularly good here and it’s worth allowing yourself some extra time to unwind in the relaxation space after you’ve been pampered.
THE ARYUVEDA PURA HEALTH SPA
The Ayurveda Pura Health Spa & Beauty Centre in Greenwich practices an ancient holistic medical system from India that puts your body and mind back in harmony. This is all about treatments, there aren’t any wet facilities here though you will find this is more than just a relaxing massage, this is the ‘science of life’. Their signature treatments include everything from full body, De-Stress, Abdominal Massage, Herbal Body-Scrub, pregnancy as well as hand and foot.
THE SPA AT THE O2
With Canary Wharf as a back drop and the O2 dome looming into your vision, the InterContinental London at the O2 might not seem like your first choice to escape the city and enter a world of bliss, but we can assure you it does the trick. The spa has a luxurious feel with gold gilt, blue pearl granite and polished surfaces. Inside you have a 17-metre swimming pool, sauna, steam room, gym and eight treatment rooms. Their signature treatment, the Meridian Time Ritual, lasts 105 minutes and is designed to empower the body’s natural healing process. It is bliss.
THIRD SPACE CANARY WHARF
Third Space Spa Canary Wharf is a beaut of a space to unwind in. Our full body massage zoned us out of London and into an imaginary place of soothing tranquillity and with each breath, we were more at ease and deeply relaxed. For anyone who may find massages a little intimidating, the therapists couldn’t be more helpful and friendly, talking you through the whole process, asking you questions about what you are looking to get out of the treatment and if you need to focus on a particular area. If only every day was like this.