Lisa Starr, a Philadelphia PA-based wellness consultant, has worked with Four Seasons and Hilton and numerous individual properties. She believes that with more and more requests for treatments and, simultaneously, a shortage of therapists, one solution – as she stresses in her Starrcast podcast, is touchless, or unattended, treatments. Investment in lymphatic draining trousers, vibrating massage beds, brain tap sensors should have an ROI of under six months – buying a cryotherapy chamber at $100,000 or so takes longer. Cryo chambers are also not flexible. Lisa Starr urges owners and designers to make spaces flexible.
Well, cryo, as it happens, is on the menu in London at CLARIDGE’S two-day-old Spa, a 700sq m subterranean haven designed in shades of peach by André Fu. Spa Manager Hattie David-Wilkinson has been helped by Inge Theron, founder and owner of FaceGym: its usual is a 30-minute workout for the face but at Claridge’s there are also longer FaceGym sessions for Cryo Contour, or such other treatments as Radio Frequency and Clean+Lift, with vitamin shots, cryo oxygen shots and hyaluronic acid roller applications.
For hair and nails, Josh Wood. Manicure magic comes from Harriet Westmoreland (go for French tips in the hotel’s signature jade) and for acupuncture book Ross J. Barr. Choose holistic La Eva body treatments by former psychologist Louisa Canham, or creams with over 400 ingredients created by German stem-cell guru Augustinus Bader .
Overall Claridge’s Spa signatures include a 90-minute Bamboo & Silk Ritual, which ends with a nurturing facial. As shown in the image above, silk thimbles – worn on the therapist’s fingertips – hydrate and replenish the skin’s barrier, while mini-poultices are used on pressure points on the face and décolletage to calm the mind and leave you feeling restored and rested. The other signature is a 75-minute Body Detox & Sculpt that targets such areas as thighs, abdomen and upper arms (it starts with 30 minutes inside the UK’s first MLX i3Dome, to detoxe with FIR-technology to activate tissue metabolism and stimulate cellular communication and repair).
It all sounds beautifully effective, says Girlahead. There are also lovely soft touches. Arrive, and you’re presented with kimonos in soft pinks and peaches. First comes a foot ceremony. Scented water and enzyme-rich koji fermented rice soften and smooth the skin while pressure points are applied to unlock tension and encourage circulation. Inspired by Japanese temples’ Koh-do ceremonies, you choose an incense to help to cleanse your mind and aid relaxation. And if you have time, there are saunas and the like, and a heated swimming pool, framed by multi-vaulted ceiling and stone columns, with cabanas around.
Such an oriental and holistic inspiration is a reminder of another Asia-based designer, admittedly not of the same palette of colours as André Fu. But do hear Bill Bensley, here: