Carola Long: 'The idea is that after being slathered in face creams in the spa you then fill your face with creamy cake'
Saturday 18 July 2009
Anyone who is allergic to green tea and faux mysticism will love the Thirties Hollywood feel of the London Dorchester's newly refurbished spa. It's like stepping into Ginger Roger's dressing room.
The cherry on the spa's cake, so to speak, is the "Spatisserie" tea room (open to non-salon-goers, too). With its boudoir-style pink and white chaise longues, silver framed mirrors and glass tables, it is the kind of place it's impossible not to linger in, flicking idly through magazines and wondering how you will look on screen when they bring in colour film. The idea is that after being slathered in face creams in the spa, you slip next door to fill your face with real cream. They serve a selection of cakes – each different confection looks like an Art Deco sculpture, and their signature creation is a white chocolate pot containing fillings that vary with the seasons, such as anti-oxidant-rich mixed berries. That's alongside an impressive range of teas, cocktails and champagne.
There is a choice of areas in which to relax and let the recently applied unguents sink in, such as the plush navy, velvet lounge with doors adorned with silver moons, or the reception area with its huge chandelier festooned with strings of pearls.
One of my favourite things about the new spa (you may have guessed by now that I loved it) is the name of its resident "hairdresser to the stars", Royston Blythe. It brings a 1970s New York glamour to modern London.
The treatment rooms have a slightly retro-futurism, '2001: A Space Odyssey' feel, but with elegant touches such as a silver clothes hanger with a dedicated watch tray. Facials include the Vaishaly Signature Facial (£95) which involves gentle extraction (no golden-age glamourpuss would do this herself) and craniosacral massage. Sometimes, body massage can be too gentle to really pummel out knots, but the Deep Tissue Massage (£100) was sufficiently firm; in fact just the right side of brutal. For the globetrotting Dorchester customer, there is the Jet Lag Remedy (£145) which aims to revive circulation after hours cooped up in first class.
Dorchester Spa: 020-7319 7109; cakes from £3.50, Champagne Afternoon Tea is £42.50
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