It's rare that the women-only central London spa, The Sanctuary, opens its doors to men, but on Tuesday 21 May, they did just that for an exclusive evening of food, wine and spa.
Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden on Floral Street
In partnership with Restaurant Associates, The Sanctuary had invited Keri Moss (joint winner of the BBC's MasterChef: The Professionals in 2012 and now heading up The Corner restaurant at Selfridges) to host a master class. They also invited The Good Spa Guide. We were keen to go along because food is such an important part of a spa-day experience. And it is something that is so easy to get wrong.
A pretty apéritif...
After a wine and champagne reception, it was time for the main event: Keri's live cooking demonstration of a selection of her winning dishes. It was amazing to see a professional chef at work. She made the preparation and presentation look so easy, and each plate was a work of art! We were able to try each of the dishes Keri had created, and they tasted as good as they looked.
Keri Moss prepares a delicious dish
We also tried a signature dish from Sabrina Gidda -- The Sanctuary's head chef. The dish we tried of Sabrina's was her own twist on tomato and mozzarella: salad of heritage tomatoes and Laverstoke Park mozzarella with anchovy vinaigrette. It was delicious and indulgent, yet still light and healthy. It's good to know that The Sanctuary's kitchen is in such capable hands.
We then went on a tour of the spa, and it was useful to be reminded just how large The Sanctuary is. When you walk into the spa reception area from Floral Street, it looks like a tiny shop. Inside, however, are many and varied facilities, including a swimming pool, hydropool, hammam, sleep retreat, various relaxation lounges and 45 treatment rooms. It's hard to figure out how they fit them all in. (You could be forgiven for thinking you were in a TARDIS…) With the wealth of spa on offer, The Sanctuary is a perfect place to bring your girl friends for a catch up and a spot of pampering.
The Koi Carp Lounge at Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden
We were also lucky enough to be whisked away for a back massage. Since the team spend most of their days sitting at a desk (contrary to the popular idea that the Good Spa Spies spend most of their days swanning round under some swan pipes --although we do that, too), our shoulders are always in need of a pummelling. We asked our therapist for hard pressure, and she certainly delivered. It's always a good feeling when your back is relieved of all aches.
We had a wonderful evening at the spa, thanks to The Sanctuary and Restaurant Associates. It even made one of the Spies attempt some more adventurous dishes herself (and you can try some MasterChef: The Professionals' recipes here), but on the whole we're happy to leave spa-food creation in the hands of those who know what they're doing. That just gives us another reason to visit a spa. (As if we need one.)
10th April 2014
Warm floors when you put your bare feet upon them; heated treatment beds; soft towels; attention to detail, so that your treatment room looks and smells beautiful when you arrive in it.
Cold floors when you put your bare feet upon them; therapists who use your treatment time to write up a list of product "recommendations" that they hope you will purchase.
Behind the scenes