My skin has been considerably unruly of late. Perhaps it’s all the stress of launching a new business, perhaps it’s because I consider a pack of chocolate digestives a hearty breakfast, or perhaps in the absence of the sun this summer, my pores have given up and come to the conclusion that they’ll never need to open again. Whatever it may be, I’ve had blackheads aplenty and I’m not feeling it.
So when I was invited down to London’s Mandara Spa, situated in the gargantuan Park Plaza Hotel just off Westminster bridge, it was as if the heavens had taken pity on me and my poor face; or perhaps they were just sick of the sight of it?
If so I wasn’t complaining. So I wandered over the bridge on, ironically, the sunniest day of the year so far. And made my way over to Park Plaza.
The hotel itself is massive in a way that kind of made me feel like I was on holiday already. I made my way up the elevators to the lobby and after enquiring at the Concierge, took the special spa lift down to Mandara.
I must admit that I had done what I never do on first dates… some preliminary digging. The website didn’t really do the spa justice as it was just the oasis of calm I needed. Dark, secluded and my new little secret (kind of).
After a slight mix up about my appointment time, I was escorted to the ladies locker rooms to change into my robe and slippers (pretty sure there’s nothing better than robes and slippers, even in 30 degree heat.)
The spa is also home to a huge pool, so the locker room was pretty busy- not heaving but a definite stream of people and little kids who I did feel slightly awkward around changing in front of! It was slightly off-putting, so I resorted to the old-school hide in the loo situ. After recovering I went back to the spa reception and was escorted to the spa itself. Now we were talking.
Beyond a little alcove that slightly reminded me of Chuan, lay a row of treatment rooms and another waiting area/’relaxation space’. This time there were dried fruits, a selection of teas and ice cold water, so I kicked back flicked through the latest copy of Harper’s. I want really a fan of the dried fruit, so it was lots of herbal tea for me. After a short wait and a quick form fill, my facialist came to collect me. The room was dark from mahogany wood, pillar candles and dark brown Mandara Spa embroidered towels. It was nice. Very nice.
After a quick run through of my skin needs and desires I was in the massage table and I wasn’t moving for 50 minutes. I honestly forgot how much I love a facial; From the heated massage table, to the natural essences wafting through the air and just the ability to lie back and do nothing for a while, there really is nothing better. After my facialist cleaned my skin and removed all of the London grime, she began slathering on a range of gels, masks, scrubs and lotions, one of which felt divine and the other she had to peel off. I think the actuality of your face being massaged for 50 minutes, is always going to do your skin some good and I genuinely felt it plumping with each layer.
There was a machine that sounded very much like man electric razor which was quite unsettling, but apart from that it was utter bliss; My only complaint being that the time was up all too fast. After a superb head, neck and shoulder massage with a seriously good smelling oil scrub, I was out for the count and it wasn’t until I heard the dong of the bel that I realised my fun was up.
When I left my skin was glowing and did feel genuinely more supple. A week later it’s still in good nick, aside from a small dry patch which may have been the microdermabrasion or the fact that I left in such a good mood that I walked all the way home in the sun.
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
London, SE1 7UT
Tel: +44 20 7620 7300
Fax: +44 20 7620 7304