If a mini break often means true love, then a spa break means self-love. Whether you're in London for a long stay or just a weekend, the city has endless opportunities for pampering. If you're stressed, overworked or just a little frayed at the edges, this is the city to de-stress in.
Far from mere eucalyptus-scented saunas, spas are where some of the most ingenious, immersive and awe-inspiring scientific treatments are being rolled out, often dressed up with gold, champagne and plush dressing gowns.
On this week’s episode of Jen’s Weekend: London, which airs each Monday on RTÉ Player, Jen Zamparelli laps up the luxury at some of London’s greatest spas. After enduring the fast-paced world of London eating, clubbing and dating, it’s about time she got to unwind and her guide is none other than Made in Chelsea’s Georgia Toffolo, a spa veteran.
After her Aer Lingus flight, Jen and Georgia delve into wellness remedies like adaptogen-spiked lattes, try out the city’s chicest blow dry salon and experience (read: endures) a cutting-edge "face workout".
This is just the gilded tip of the pampering iceberg, and we’ve picked out our picks for the most soothing and rejuvenating spa experiences to try out on your relaxing weekend away.
1. Glow Bar
Every spa weekend needs to start somewhere, and this is the perfect first stop. Although the wellness super-trend was long established before Glow Bar opened its doors, this blush pink altar to all things millennial perfectly captures all that is alluring and pleasurable about the movement. Naturally, Jen and Georgia had to see what the fuss is about.
Specialising in "moon milks", stress-management remedies formulated for women and that focus on happiness, skin and sex (the three areas that suffer when women are stressed), Glow Bar will set you up for a relaxing weekend away.
The main attractions, though, are their infrared sauna pods, little pockets of hot heaven where, for 45 minutes per session, you sweat profusely. This ensures a radiant lit-from-within glow and eases you into the kind of deep relaxation that comes from a weekend of holistic yoga - just without the hard work.
2. 23 Carat Gold Body Ceremony, The Spa
The Spa at #DolphinSquare is inspired by the essence of #Morocco. The spa offers a fusion of ancient therapies and contemporary spa philosophies for him and for her. https://t.co/powdhK0zA5 pic.twitter.com/83Qss8VOb1— Dolphin Square (@dolphin_square) October 25, 2018
It could be argued that the ultimate beauty influencer was Cleopatra, so renowned were the beauty regimes said to maintain her goddess-like looks: milk baths, lavender and honey scrubs, a gold sleeping mask. Yet more impossible beauty standards.
Thanks to The Spa at Dolphin Square and their 23 Carat Gold "Body Ceremony", however, we can sample such decadence during even the briefest of spa trips.
Taking inspiration from the Egyptian queen and Moroccan practices allegedly used in harems, the experience stimulates all the senses, transporting you through smell and touch to a world far, far away.
Savour your weekend away as scrubs made from delicate precious stone particles buff skin, while gold, caviar and pearl treatments leave you glowing and supple, all performed in the opulent and dramatic setting of The Spa. One of the best parts? The treatment ends with hummus and mint tea, how regal.
3. Duck and Dry
In a bustling city like London, it can be difficult to find time to unwind between running for the Tube or jostling along the high street. Sometimes a blow dry is the ideal way to bring pampering into your everyday life and find some alone time, and there are few things more comforting than having your tresses smoothed and styled.
Jen and Georgia dropped into Duck & Dry, one of the leading blow dry bars and up-do stylists. Its combination of bright and inspiring interiors, vibrant energy and focus on what's on-trend, makes it a truly modern hair spa and a must-visit destination for any spa weekend.
Choose from their menu of blow dries to find the one that fits you the best, with everything from beach waves and voluminous curls to their "Classic Duck" style. To make the absolute most of your weekend away, let down your hair in their prosecco bar*.
4. Floatation Therapy, The Floatworks
Arguably the most soothing and luxurious part of a spa trip is the unbridled alone time you get to enjoy. In a dimly lit room with gentle music playing and the scent of rose or lavender, you are worlds away from the daily stresses of work, home or children.
Floatation therapy is possibly the most distilled version of this available, as it offers you your own private pod where you idly drift in water to the sounds of gentle music and glimmering lights. The pods are generously sized, so don't worry about feeling claustrophobic. A powerful way to combat stress, it also works wonders for pain relief and releases large amounts of dopamine.
Said to induce a meditative state and a sense of deep happiness, this treatment is like drifting in your own deep space: intimate, comforting and private. The most astounding part, however, is often the profound thoughts practitioners find themselves having. You may find yourself pondering a career change, or making a significant life decision while safe in your pod.
5. Face Gym
How can you combine exercise and pampering in one effective and enjoyable treatment? London has an answer, of course, and it’s Jen-and-Georgia tested.
While exercising might not be your idea of a fun activity for a weekend away, this is different. The Face Gym prides itself on offering not facials but workouts, using cutting edge technology and techniques to sculpt, rejuvenate and tone faces without the need for surgery.
Whether you're feeling a little droopy after a long slog of work, or just want to re-energise your face, The Face Gym is one of the most unusual pampering experiences out there.
Designed to provide mini facelifts without the needles, with results possible within hours, it’s a rigorous regime that leaves you feeling refreshed and energised, just like normal exercise. This is an ideal treatment to enjoy while on a mini-break to London, as it is completely non-surgical, non-invasive and leaves you relaxed.
Aer Lingus is proud to sponsor the new series Jen’s Weekend: London. Just like Jen, you can enjoy great four-star service on your weekend away to London with Aer Lingus. Choose from up to 50 flights departing daily from Dublin, Cork, Knock, Shannon and Belfast. Fares are from €27.99 one way. Smart flies Aer Lingus.
Watch Jen’s Weekend now on RTE Player.