Inside Claridge’s luxurious new spa

Waters run deep: the unparalleled pool at Claridge’s new spa (ES Magazine)
Waters run deep: the unparalleled pool at Claridge’s new spa (ES Magazine)

I’m five storeys below ground, right in the centre of London. It’s pitch black as each and every muscle — face and body — is tenderised by extra-hot bamboo sticks, poultices full of chamomile and koji rice, and a little electric toothbrush-like machine that zaps currents through my muscles like one of those easy-ab machines from the Nineties but for your tired, wrinkly face.

A tired wrinkly face that I, for shame, walked into the brand new Claridge’s spa wearing. A spa that was the opposite of tired and wrinkly: a part of the legendary hotel’s brand new drill down into the London clay that promises to give the place the shoeshine it apparently needs. Now there’s a bunch of floors below ground with a bunch of incredible stuff in them: art galleries, wine cellars, retail. But I was here for the unveiling of arguably the most longawaited floor of all: the Claridge’s Spa.

Upon entry a golden lift dings and you’re right in the middle of a concrete, water and low-light womb designed by Andre Fu. It’s hard to believe you’re precisely one minute from Oxford Street, and as the premium want for most Londoners these days is to escape the city after we all fell in love with our local litter-bestrewn park in l***down, we’re off to quite the start.

We brush past the brand new gym, around to the most beautiful pool I’ve maybe ever seen, then into the dressing room — complete with sauna, steam room, and a loo that opens and sprays at you if you get too close. I leave my phone charging and drift off, past Josh Wood’s salon (his only outpost outside his central London ‘atelier’) and into a treatment room for what is about to be a very intense 120 minutes with my therapist, Yanina.

This is one of only seven treatment rooms across the whole spa because the idea here,at Claridge’s, is one of luxury, exclusivity. Something that feels bespoke, like money is no object, just like it clearly hasn’t been for this renovation. A little chat to a few people who work in the spa and I’m told that this is the way here at Claridge’s: no expense has been spared to make the client feel good. I ask a few people how Claridge’s makes its workers feel — because it’s pretty hard to relax in a place where you’re paying over the odds, but all the wrong people are getting paid — and they tell me that they are treated impeccably, all of their needs are met and that it’s the highest pay in London for a job like theirs.

The space is perfectly fluid, it smells, obviously, incredible and the wrinkles on my face are slowly starting to disappear because of Yanina’s miraculous work. The atmosphere is a true mix of Claridge’s vintage glamour: think flouffy treatment beds, big, cosy hotel slippers (nothing more chic) and sweetie-pink towels and bathing accoutrement.

Coexisting with the traditionally Japanese backbone of the spa both in its decor and the range of treatments on offer, Claridge’s has managed to do the impossible and merge glamour with wellness. It’s a combination of things that makes something feel truly luxurious, like you are escaping the city, like you are leaving the spa looking ‘almost six to 10 years younger’, as someone said to me upon exit. Yes it is the incomparable environment, the sumptuous decor, the undeniable and genuinely effective treatments (a quick survey of my close friends and they concurred that I did indeed look six to 10 years younger). But really, the biggest luxury for me was the knowledge that everyone, not just the client, here below ground at Claridge’s spa is considered, cared for and treated exceptionally.

Claridge’s Spa, Brook Street, W1. To book call 020 7409 6565 (