Let’s be real: London can be a stressful city to live in, no matter how much you love it. Sometimes we all need to escape for a day or two. But when time is tight, or you just don't have the energy, a trip to a day spa can be a pretty dreamy way to recuperate and recharge.
Our list of London’s best day spas range from the ultra affordable to super luxurious, and offer treatments from the classic (massages) to the alternative (ice fountain anyone?). So block out your calendar, leave your phone in the locker and let yourself drift off in one of London’s best day spas.
Check out our video of 10 of the best spas in London:
Dreamy day spas in London
It may be just a few seconds walk from that noted oasis of calm, Piccadilly Circus, but once you’ve dodged the crowds to retreat inside Akasha’s heavy wooden doors, you really wouldn’t know it. Everything about Akasha is really rather magnificent, from the wood-panelled reception to the clean lines of the changing rooms. After navigating the labyrinth of cool marble walkways, you soon reach the centrepiece – a gorgeously lit pool.
Facilities: 18-metre pool, sauna, Hammam, jacuzzi, gym.
Cost: £165 (Mon-Fri) 60-minute treatment and access to the spa and gym for the day (£95 for day pass only).
A shiny, monochrome labyrinth of treatment rooms, steam rooms and pools, ESPA Life is thoroughly lavish, modern, low-lit and windowless. It's the ideal place to shut the door on reality. The spa's main area, the Thermal Suite, is a black-marbled oasis which houses a glass-walled sauna amphitheatre as its centrepiece.
Facilities: Gym, vitality pool, sauna, steam room, ice fountain, relaxation area.
Cost: £325 (Mon-Fri) 60-minute massage, 30-minute facial, light lunch, Champers and day access to spa.
While located beneath the Connaught Hotel in less-than-relaxing Mayfair, once you’re being massaged in oils from the continent of your choice in the heavenly Aman Spa, ensconced in hot towels on a heated bed, and being murmured to in hushed tones by your barefoot therapist, you won’t believe you’re not in a Malaysian beach spa.
Facilities: Relaxation area, 60-square meter pool, steam room, gym.
Cost: £150 60-minute holistic massage (plus an additional £100 for a spa day pass).
An impressive steam room, great treatments and striking middle-Eastern statues make this one of central London’s most tranquil hotel spas. Spa-goers are encouraged to lounge in the relaxation area post treatments as well as indulging in the stone oven sauna.
Facilities: Steam room, sauna, experience showers, ice fountain, relaxation room, gym.
Cost: £125 half spa day, including two hours in the spa, 30-minute treatment and lunch/afternoon tea.
St Pancras Spa boasts five luxurious treatment rooms and a couples' suite, where treatments include the Ko Bi Do facial that incorporates ancient Japanese massage techniques, the Udvartana Ayurvedic slimming ritual from India and a dreamy aromatherapy full body massage for serious relaxation.
Facilities: Gym, sauna, steam room, relaxation pool.
Cost: 60-minute treatments from £110; spa day pass for two from £60.
With its small but perfect open-top swimming pool overlooking Hyde Park, this spa, a favourite with celebrities, wins points for its location. But the treatments are also impressive with emphasis on facials and a strong selection of men’s treatments, such as the Hydra Performance Facial for men featuring Swiss glacial water.
Facilities: Open-top pool, gym.
Cost: £80 30-minute massage; £265 half-day pass, including massage, facial, manicure and pedicure, and breakfast.
This latest opening is London’s first luxury Chinese medicine centre and touted as the hottest ticket in town. Stepping in for its signature Chuan Balancing treatment, you fill in a form to determine what element you are (we’re earth, apparently) before being whisked off for a sublime massage, which stimulates the body’s pressure points to relax and detoxify.
Facilities: 16-metre pool, steam room, sauna, relaxation room.
Cost: Massages from £90 (for 25 minutes); facials from £95 (30 minutes).
Hint: if your therapist asks how you’d like the curtains at the Four Seasons Hotel spa, the correct answer is open. As well as a posh Park Lane postcode, each treatment room offers floor-to-ceiling windows with killer views over Hyde Park. After your treatment, head to a dimly-lit relaxation pods where you can have a steaming cup of tea and some nibbles, while you slip on a pair of headphones and let the calming effects of your treatment really sink in.
Facilities: Sauna, pool, relaxation area.
Cost: £145-£195 60-90-minute signature massage (plus 15 per cent off all treatments Mon-Thu, 10am-4pm).
The entrance may be more Rodeo Drive than zen garden – a large shop, then a leopardskin chair next to a lion’s-mouth fountain – but this Mayfair spa delivers one of the best massages we have experienced. ‘It’s Swedish aromatherapy with a bit of shiatsu thrown in,’ the therapist told us on a recent visit, before smothering us in balm and digging out every recalcitrant knot with the vigour you always ask for but rarely get.
Facilities: Steam rooms, relaxation room.
Cost: Massages from £36; facials from £63.
You're about as likely to find a cheap spa package in London as you are a unicorn. Unless you go to Spa Experience in Bethnal Green. These guys are offering quality relaxation at a price us common folk can actually afford. Whether you just want to hang out in a steam room for an afternoon or get the full works, Spa Experience will have something to suit your budget.
Facilities: Steam rooms, Turkish baths, sauna, ice fountain, plunge pool, Hammam, relaxation lounge.
Cost: Entry only from £10; massages from £38; facials from £15.
With its opulent surroundings, the Mandarin Oriental lives up to its reputation as one of London’s most luxurious day spas. Arranged over three levels, the dark wood interior highlighted with oriental blooms, water features and stone sculptures, is impressive.
Facilities: Steam room, sanarium, vitality pool, relaxation area.
Cost: Massages from £145; facials from £80; packages from £195.
The elegant redstone facing Marylebone station is London’s last grand Victorian hotel (it opened in 1899, just two years before Queen Vic passed away), and it’s home to the pristine The Spa at The Landmark London. The haven of relaxation is run in partnership with Germaine de Capuccini; one of Europe’s leading skin care houses, hence the pampering massages and body care therapies will use these top skincare products.
Facilities: 15-metre pool, jacuzzi, steam room, sanarium, relaxation area, gym.
Cost: Facials and massages from £105 each; day/half-day packages from £245.