Many hotel spas are subterranean enclaves far removed from the general hubbub of the hotel to ensure darkness, tranquillity, and peace and quiet. But not so here at the SoSPA at the Sofitel London St James.
Spread over three floors, this luxurious spa occupies a large space spread over three floors in its original Grade II listed building in Piccadilly with tall arched windows that fill the spa with warm sunlight on those all too rare sunny days in London and give a real sense of space thanks to the exceedingly high ornate ceilings.
It was therefore with great anticipation that I headed to the Sofitel London St James just down from Piccadilly Circus, to take a break from people bumping into me whilst in their own little smart phone world and escape the ringing of phones, computers and e-mails, and take refuge in the beautiful SoSPA where everyone is treated as a VIP and the staff are utterly professional and hospitable.
I was warmly greeted at the spa reception area and offered a light refreshment as I filled in the Guest Profile Form. I was then shown downstairs to the well-appointed changing room where I donned a bathroom and slippers that were awaiting in my locker.
Having access to the spa’s facilities prior to my treatment, I decided my body needed a detox and headed to my private steam room before sitting in a relaxing Jacuzzi, which again, I had all to myself.
Totally relaxed, I was met by my charming therapist Christelle, who took me upstairs to the spa’s upper level where all the treatment rooms are located. Whilst the majority of the rooms are for single treatments, there is one couples treatment room, ideal for a mother and daughter spa day or couples.
SoSPA uses predominantly French brands Carita, Marisa Berenson and Cinq Mondes, simply extending the French feel and ambience of this unashamedly French influenced hotel, something that I particularly adore about it. However, it has recently introduced a fourth and British brand, Botanical, which is exclusive to SoSPA and based on organic and natural ingredients, designed to reconnect you with nature and enjoy the plants for their aroma and energy as well as their natural healing properties. This has introduced a new SoSPA Botanical Massage onto the spa menu, which combines freshly distilled botanicals and pure cold pressed plant oils.
Other treatments available consist of massages, facials, body wraps, manicures, pedicures and waxing, as well as their own special signature treatments which include the 60-minute So Exhilarating Body Massage, which will leave you utterly relaxed and on cloud 9 for the rest of the day and the 60-minute So Rejuvenating Facial Treatment, which is what I enjoyed. Whether it restored a youthful complexion, I can only hope, but it was certainly one of the most relaxing spa treatments I have had and the best facial I’ve experienced.
Christelle first assessed my skin type (I have dry skin) so she can apply the right masks and Carita products to my face. The first step is to clean the pores out before applying any moisturiser and that is why a good steam before a treatment really helps with cleaning out your pores.
This was no ordinary facial as it also mixed in an upper body and scalp massage which quite literally sent me to sleep. I don’t know how long I actually nodded off for, but my treatment seemed to go on for ever as I lost all sense of time with that wonderful tranquil background music adding to my sense of drowsiness.
The final part of the treatment is the applying of a Carita Patch Lisse Suprême Contour Yeax (supreme wrinkle solution eye patch) which also helps with the removal of any puffiness under the eyes and are left on the eyes for about 10 minutes for maximum effect. As they are good to use a second time, Christelle gave them to me to take home.
I don’t know about you, but I can always sense when a treatment is coming to an end, and nine times out of 10, I for one just don’t want it to end. I feel however, that if this is the case, then you have had the perfect treatment.
So, it was with a tinge of sadness that I donned my bathrobe again, hair a complete mess, and was shown to the Zen Room, where I just sat and did nothing for a while. Can’t think of the last time I did that! Much to my delight, a glass of bubbly suddenly appeared. which perked me up and I thanked Christelle for looking after me so well and bid her adieu.
Once showered, changed and refreshed, I took a wonder around the spacious spa to look at the array of products available to purchase, many of which are used in the treatments.
Some may call the SoSPA an urban oasis, I call it pure unadulterated relaxation in a crazy world, conveniently located in the heart of London.
SoSPA at Sofitel London St James, 6 Waterloo Place, St James’s, London, SW1Y 4AN
Tel: +44 (0)20 7747 2214
The Spa is located in the Sofitel London St James on the corner of Waterloo Place and Pall Mall and just a two-minute walk from Piccadilly Circus Tube Station (Piccadilly & Bakerloo Lines). So SPA is open from 9:00am to 9:00pm Monday to Saturday and from 10:00am to 8:00pm on Sunday.
Insider Tip: Make sure you arrive in good time so you can enjoy all of the spa’s facilities before your treatment begins. And if you are having a manicure, then why not treat yourself to a Martini & Manicure!
Review’s Rating: 10/10
Simon Burrell is Editor-in-Chief of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of The Sofitel London St James and by Simon Burrell