The pace of life is faster than ever before. We are more contactable than ever before. It stands to reason, then, that we need the time and opportunity to switch off our minds and devices and relax our bodies more than ever before. Luckily, London boasts some of the best spas in the world. Whether you go regularly (in which case, we are all envy) or you make it an annual treat, these are the incomparable spas to have on your radar when you’re next due some R&R.

The Spa At The Four Seasons Park Lane


Any Londoner who ever needs a reminder of how much green space there is in which to take a breather in this city would be well-advised to pop up to the exemplary spa at the Four Seasons Park Lane. There, from a great height, they will be happily reminded of how verdant the city actually is, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows which overlook the green expanse of Hyde Park. Once you’re up there, however, it would be criminal not to stay for a treatment. Simply, after the Four Seasons Spring Spa Experience, one cannot help but emerge restored and renewed. As they describe, it ‘begins with 60 minutes’ use of the Spa’s relaxing heat facilities before the treatment begins, a natural clay wrap and an intense full-body salt scrub, followed by a cocooning body wrap to leave the skin deeply cleansed. A relaxing face and head acupressure massage eases muscle tension, and a 60-minute personalized full-body massage concludes the reinvigorating experience, complete with a Four Seasons Candle or Diffuser to take home the spa experience.’ Or why not book a Sky Suite, complete with a private steam shower, separate dressing, relaxation rooms… and those views? An absolute knock out. Book it.

AIRE Ancient Baths

If you like your spas to be clinical and white-washed, this one is not for you. If, on the other hand, you want your relaxation to come with a side helping of atmosphere and magic, then AIRE Ancient Baths is set to feel transcendent and transformative. Dimly lit by flickering candlelight and scented with orange blossom, this is quite literally an immersive experience, with soft music audible even under the waters of its famous thermal baths. Harking back to the bathing practices of the ancient world, visitors progress through a succession of hefty stone-walled rooms, where they can submerge themselves in a variety of pools at a range of different temperatures. There are treatments too – excellent ones at that – plus a steam room and sauna. Otherworldly. Book it.

Ned’s Club Spa at The Ned

The Ned may be one of the capital’s coolest members’ clubs, but the good news is that you don’t need to belong to it to visit its exceptional spa. However, once you have entered this perfect world of pampering, there is a very real chance that you may just wind up chomping at the bit to sign up to join the club forevermore. How else, otherwise, would you ever persuade yourself to leave, unless with the promise that you will soon be back? It offers, in short, a unparalleled universe of cossetting indulgence, from its hair salon to its nail bars to its hammam to its parlour, where you may book session with a resident physiotherapist and osteopath. Think opulent marble splendour and second-to-none treatments. Book it.


And now for something somewhat more bijou. Ilapothecary in Notting Hill is not a showy affair; instead, its founder Denise Leicester, has created a warm and earthy world in which to throw off the cares of the outside world and opt instead to submit to the beautifully-scented concoctions contained upon the shelves and in the drawers of its classic apothecary cabinets. The treatments are completely bespoke. As Condé Nast Traveller describes, ‘After you’ve answered an in-depth 50-point questionnaire on not just your physical wellbeing but your emotional status and even your spiritual leanings, a diagnosis is drawn up based on imbalances, pinpointing hormone levels, fatigue and energy blockages.You can then divine the route of your treatment – liver or kidney compresses, perhaps, a grounding reflexology session, deep hydrating facial or tension-busting back massage. Or indeed a mix of all of the above. This is no one-size-fits-all stop-off, but a totally tailored, individual approach to regaining balance for the long term.’ A unique, enchanting and peaceful world in which to feel completely heard, seen and cared for, whether it is hormonal balance or sleep you want help with. Book it.


This Chelsea beauty delights the senses on all levels. Before you even set a toe inside its inviting plunge pool, visitors will clock the beguiling Edwardian mansion exterior and then, once inside, its lovely original wood-clad walks. The exceptionally lovely staff puts you instantly at ease, as does the soft sound of trickling water and the floral scent that pervades. Treatments are Asian-inspired, and the one to try first off is the signature Malay Massage. A calm, almost hushed reverence sets the tone for a day spent uncoiling before emerging once more refreshed and renewed. Book it.

By Nancy Alsop
June 2023