Words by Amelia Bell
An iconic landmark in the heart of London, the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park holds a prime position in stylish Knightsbridge, an apt setting for the decadent, 115-year old building that boasts stone turrets and top hat clad butlers in red tails. Needless to say, when I arrive at the London stalwart first impressions are pretty good.
I’m here to visit the renovated spa, The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, which reopened this Spring. As with many of the updated palatial suites, restaurants and guest rooms following an extensive refurbishment, the redesign of the next-generation spa has been given a contemporary spin. Overseen by Adam D. Tihany, the international designer found inspiration via traditional Chinese symbolism and nature.
Guests are encouraged to arrive forty-five minutes early to make use of the facilities, and when an amethyst crystal steam room and vitality pool are the facilities, you’d be foolish not to take up the offer. There’s also a dimly lit relaxation room (guaranteed to soften the shoulders of stressed-out urbanites) in which you’ll find healing Chinese teas to choose from, ornate floral wall features for decoration, and meditation notes laid out on comfy beds. Just five minutes sunk into a soft, reclining bed and I feel more relaxed – and further away from the city – than ever.
As for the treatments, the list is extensive with each service as unique as it is personalised ranging from a 3-in-1 slimming, shaping, anti-cellulite treatment, a Better-Ageing Face Massage to a restorative treatment aptly called the Digital Wellness Escape which, frankly, we could all learn a thing or two from. Alongside spa treatments, there’s also Philip Kingsley hair therapy, traditional ASANTE Chinese Medicine consultations and Bastien Gonzalez Pedi:Mani: Cure Studio to discover.
I opt for the Oriental Qi by Aromatherapy Associates: a full body massage ritual that uses essential oils based on the elements in traditional Chinese medicine. I’m asked to answer some questions referring to Yin and Yang, the concept used in Chinese medicine to understand health and wellbeing. For instance: how do I feel today? Full of energy? Or, sluggish and tired? The idea here is to tailor the massage to areas of the body and mind that need more attention to create balance between Yin and Yang.
In the treatment room, I then smell five essential oils; the most uplifting to my mind will determine which of the five basic elements – wood, fire, earth, metal, or water – is the one to focus on. What followed was an intensive, yet highly relaxing 90-minute massage which worked on every muscle in my body to realign, focus and keep energies in balance. The verdict? The therapist was extremely intuitive using reflexology and pressure points to relieve tension. It was an informative and unique experience, and the best part: that evening, I had the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long time.
Address: 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA
Phone: 020 7235 2000