The Way We Live Now: Spa pavilions

If you can find a bigger Higher Purpose for a room, you can add value to everything: to your house, to your life – you're an altogether more evolved person. It's worked for kitchens, re-thought from utilitarian galley to main entertaining room, heart-of-the-home, all that. Or a secondary bedroom that becomes a home office and develops a rash of shelving and a mass of cable management. There'll be enough computing power to have served a Nineties City broker, and enough presentation equipment for a Nineties ad agency.

Bathrooms have been refigured and reformatted too. For the 21st-century rich, a bathroom shouldn't look like a hygienic box with a few standard fireclay and enamelled street fittings. It could be a wet-room, an integrated experience positively hewn out of really expensive stone. It could be a big smart room in its own right. But above all, it could become a spa. Spa means The Waters, it means therapy and stress management and escape. It means kindly young women from far countries padding around in flat shoes, carrying towels and scented massage oils.

Bathrooms that aspire to the condition of a spa have to be extra big. They need a free-standing bath to make the point that this is the place for long soaks and New Age experiences. And you need all that space for the rest of the kit: things stored in profligate multiples, specialist furniture for lying on. Not only bigger and better fitted, a spa room needs a sybaritic, distinctive style, or a Spartan one. The Spartan ones are self-consciously rough-hewn wood and stone combos; sybaritic ones look like the Sanderson Hotel with sheer curtains, clever lighting and soothing colours.

This urban bathroom, with its sweep of gloriously wasted space, is designed to create Altered Images and swirly-whirly moments. But unlike the conventional spa, there's absolutely no contact with the outside world here, no springs or salts, no encouraging weather. Instead, occupants will be thrown in on themselves as the natural centre of the universe. This is a room where a woman can lie around in white towelling, spending what the Duchess of Windsor called "a day on hair and nails" or, later, the brilliant Vidal Sassoon and the then Mrs Sassoon called "a year of health and beauty". Bathrooms like this are designed to provoke that thinking.

There doesn't look to be any natural light. Why should there be? This isn't the cool-as-a-mountain-stream spa. It's more the dug out from the natural clay of South Kensington at great cost variety. It's the secret refuge of one rich woman variety. There's a warm glowing quality to this bathroom. It's the delicious prelude to something. And absolutely everything says that it's for you because you're worth it.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Commonwealth games
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Biomass Sales Consultant

£20000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Company...

Java Developer

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My Client are a successful software hous...

Senior Analyst - Financial Modelling

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This really is a fantastic chance to joi...

MS Dynamics NAV/Navision Developer

£45000 - £53000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: **MS DYNAMICS N...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game