London’s 200-year-old Claridge’s hotel has carved out a Japanese-inspired subterranean spa that has been designed by Andre Fu and conceptualised by the founder of FaceGym. Jenny Southan reports
These days it’s a rare thing that an ultra-luxury hotel has no wellness facilities but now Claridge’s hotel, which is part of the Maybourne Hotel Group, now has a top-end spa designed by interior architect Andre Fu. (Fu has also designed some of the suites at sister property the Berkley.)
The ambitious project required teams of experts to excavate five floors under the hotel in order to construct a 650 sqm spa situated three floors down. Inside, Claridge’s spa is a “haven of wellness and tranquillity”, featuring its first-ever swimming pool, steam rooms, sauna and seven treatments rooms.
The space has been created to showcase “healing rituals, a knowledge of restorative body work and the latest bio-innovation to amplify emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing”, says Claridge’s.
Fu’s design of the spa was inspired by visits to traditional Japanese temples and Zen gardens in Kyoto, hence the incorporation of limestone, wood and water.
Upon arrival, guests will experience sounds of flowing water, a visual play of light and shadow, and “energy-cleansing” music. They will then be presented with a kimono to wear, and a “welcoming foot ceremony”. (Scented water and enzyme-rich koji soften and smooth the skin, while pressure points are applied to unlock tension and encourage circulation.)Inspired by Japanese temple koh-do ceremonies, a choice of incense is presented to the guest pre-treatment to help to cleanse the mind and aid relaxation. The sound of bells marks the end of treatments.
The heated swimming pool is central to the spa, framed by a striking, multi-vaulted ceiling and stone columns. Cabanas set back from the water offer privacy to relax and unwind.
Treatment rooms are oak panelled and en suite, and therapies are inspired by the ancient Japanese concept of omakase (“leaving another to decide what is best”).
Signature treatments include:
“Bamboo and Silk Ritual” (90 minutes)
A total mind and body immersion comprising of a welcoming foot ceremony with enzyme-rich koji to smooth and soften skin, a trilogy of body and hand massage techniques and a nurturing silk facial.
An invigorating body massage with warmed bamboo sticks works deep into the muscles, stretching and releasing tension while harnessing the powerful healing benefits of heat combined with seasonal herbs within hot oil-infused poultices. These poultices are made daily by the Claridge’s therapists and will rotate seasonal ingredients.
A deep hand massage soothes stress held throughout the body. The treatment ends with a nurturing facial. Silk thimbles – worn on the therapist’s fingertips – hydrate and replenish the skin’s barrier, while mini-poultices are used on pressure points on the face and décolletage to calm the mind and leave you feeling restored and rested.
“Body Detox and Sculpt” (75 minutes)
A transformative sculpting treatment that targets areas such as the thighs, abdomen and upper arms, beginning with 30 minutes inside the UK’s first MLX i3Dome, which detoxes the body with FIR-technology to activate tissue metabolism and stimulate cellular communication and repair.
A detoxifying fusion of cinnamon, white turmeric and ginger is applied to the body whilst an anti-ageing fire-and-ice korugi face massage revives the skin. A unique combination of sculpting and lymphatic techniques with cooling intervals using cold towels and ice globes firms and lifts facial contours. The body is cooled with ice-cold towels, or an optional shower, followed by a powerful sculpting and lymphatic drainage body massage.
Resident partners include Josh Wood – who has an on-site salon in the spa; Augustinus Bader for skincare; La Eva, which has designed a collection of “uplifting and transporting” body treatments; and FaceGym – a trendy brand that offers “workouts for the face”).
Interestingly, although Claridge’s is an incredibly historic hotel, it has demonstrated that it intends to remain at the cutting-edge of luxury hospitality by employing FaceGym founder Inge Theron to be the Maybourne Hotel Group’s creative director of spa and wellness.She says: “We have created a spa here at Claridge’s where guests will find both holistic practices and results driven high-tech all under one roof. Claridge’s has long been a temple of good living with a philosophy of enjoying life to the full, and so now, as well as pouring guests the perfect martini, we can also rejuvenate and restore with the perfect treatment, to strike that all important balance.
“The Claridge’s spa service style is inspired by and reflects this great, legendary hotel. The attention to detail that has been in place here for centuries – the way we steep our tea, the way we make our beds – is reflected in this new space, from handmade poultices made daily by our team with the seasonal ingredient, the way our saunas are complete with star-like twinkling lights, and silk thimbles are used by our incredible therapists for exfoliation during facials. Claridge’s Spa is the very beginning of a new wellness journey for Maybourne Hotel Group.”
Guaranteeing that Claridge’s spa will instantly become a wellness hotspot in central London, FaceGym has designed treatments exclusively for the hotel, with longer treatment times and additional stretches to enhance the experience.
Examples include the “Cryo Contour”, “Radio Frequency” and “Clean + Lift”. Also available a vitamin shots, Cryo oxygen shots and hyaluronic acid roller applications.
There will also be an “ever-evolving roster” of visiting wellness practioners such as nail artist Harriet Westmoreland and acupuncturist Ross J Barr, who also offers “psychological MOTs”.
Claridge’s Spa is open to both hotel and outside guests, Monday-Sunday 8am-9pm. 90 minute treatments include access to the pool. To book treatments, call +44 (0207 409 6565.