Last Friday, as part of my Christmas haul, I spent a day relaxing at The Sanctuary Spa in Covent Garden. I had wanted to check it out ever since reading Paula Joye's review (which you can check out here). I'm not a seasoned spa goer and tend to find switching off completely a challenge, however I was determined to spend the day and give it my all.
My first dealings with Sanctuary Spa were somewhat challenging. I tried to book by leaving a message which was never returned. I then tried again to ring through a few days later only to be left on hold for more than 15 minutes per time. I ended up having to harrang them on twitter, and finally a few hours later someone returned my call. It was a touch exhausting.
When booking I opted for the Perfect Pamper Day which included a couple of treatments and use of all the facilities over an 8 hour period. My first impressions upon arrival were good - the check-in process was amazingly smooth, the change rooms were buzzing with staff and fellow spa goers. They had really thought of everything in terms of robes, plastics bags to carry paperwork with you, mini juice shots to enjoy and more.The spa is set out over 5 levels and includes 2 swimming pools, sauna, steam room, the koi lounge, tons of treatment rooms, a cafe and very well stocked shop.
Once I was changed and orientated, I went for a swim in the exercise pool followed by a stint in the sauna. The Koi Lounge was a really nice chill-out area where I had a spot of morning tea while reading a magazine. I came back to this area a lot over the course of the day.
My first treatment was a 25 minute Hot Lava Shell massage on my back, neck and shoulders. I am a big fan of a hot stone massage and this didn't disappoint. I glided out of there on a cloud to my next session which was a 30 minute sleep retreat. This was held in a darkened room where you lay on chaise lounges which gently vibrated as you were taken through a guided meditation. I'm not one to meditate but I must say, I did find this thoroughly relaxing and as I held fairly low expectations for this one, it was an unexpected treat.
Lunch was immense - two courses with a glass of wine thrown in. I'm not sure I would recommend the wine. I felt quite zonked for the rest of the day after that. My final treatment was the Sanctuary Prescription Facial and it was really just so average - no proper analysis of my skin under a bright light, it was like the facialist was on auto-pilot. She massaged the most grainy exfoliant all over my face which I was not impressed with as I suffer from broken capillaries and have always been told to avoid using anything granular. I felt as if my skin was being rubbed red raw. There was no explanation as to what masks she used after that and honestly by that point, I was not even bothered to ask. I kind of just wanted it to end. It was a shame really as up until that point the day had been very enjoyable.
All in all this is a really lovely place to spend a day and make full use of the facilities. The facial really let it down for me so unless you are like Paula Joye and get to see Nichola Joss herself, I would stick to the body treatments. Having said that, I would definitely go again to relax as I really enjoyed the pools and the overall ambiance. Oh and the shop sells their lovely range of products which are all really reasonably priced! You can check them out here and in Australia you can buy them through Priceline here.