Winter is coming... Winter is coming... Winter is here. In the darkness of the coldest season, even Game of Thrones fans need a treat and a treatment that will unknot any hunched shoulders, soothe dehydrated skin, and send a spa-goer back into the world with the promise that Spring is on its way. The Sense Spa at Rosewood London is a perfect pop-in spa for a quick pick-me-up, a holiday-hotel add-on, or a hidey-haven for couples in their dedicated suite.
What's on offer
A small and self-contained spa in the basement of the imposing majesty that is Rosewood London on High Holborn. Behind the door, slate walls and wooden floors lead to rippling water features and a circular relaxation lounge, where the gold-leaf and subdued lighting offer a fast-track to tranquillity. There is no pool here, just six treatment rooms plus the couples' suite (which has its own changing room, and a double shower and steam room) and the central relaxation room.
Both male and female changing rooms contain a wooden sauna and an amethyst crystal steam room, alongside a tropical or ice-drench experience shower. The heat facilities are surprisingly large for their type, and gorgeously hot. Because they are in the changing rooms, you can go in them naked (saves carting those swimsuits about and, indeed, as there is no swimsuit whizzer-drier or plastic-bag dispensary for your journey home, you might as well).
The changing rooms are dinky but spotless. There are 16 lockers (although if you had 16 people in there, you'd all have to stand to attention). The treatment rooms each have a slate-walled shower, so scrubs and wraps can be dusted off in privacy. There were plenty of clean, white towels about, which is just what you need when you're steaming and showering and getting nicely warmed.
Treatments to try
We enjoyed the Face and Back Experience (90 minutes / £145) which includes a back-cleansing treatment followed by a tailored and targeted massage to the neck and shoulders, with a purifying facial on top. A spot-on solution for January blues.
The treatment started with me face-down on the warm and comfortable bed. My therapist, Agata, applied a warm-towel compress to my feet, pressing into the reflexology points. A good start for a treatment that wended its way from reflexology points on my soles to a workout for my scalp (always my favourite spa delight, as I find it deeply relaxing).
Agata applied a cleansing salt scrub to my back -- which felt very invigorating-- and removed the salt with warm flannels. She carried out an enthusiastic massage on my back, neck and shoulders, pressing firmly into the muscles in my neck, as I had asked, manipulating my shoulders to loosen them, and following the line of my spine down into the knots in my lower back. She was very focused and had a confident touch.
The facial that followed involved a clay cleanser with sandalwood, a tingly exfoliation, and a repairing white-clay mask, which felt gentle on my winter skin. While the mask drew out impurities, Agata treated me to more scalp massage, which I would have quite liked to go on for ever. As all good things must come to an end, Agata applied rejuvenating serum, eye-lifting gel, and a nourishing moisturiser for my face and neck to close.
Throughout, the scents of the various Sodashi products (an Australian skin care company that uses only natural ingredients) were a delight, particularly the calming rose face mist. Back in the relaxation room, with a small cup of hibiscus tea, I felt de-stressed and fresh-faced.
You can also try a range of facials, other massages, scrubs and wraps, as well as manicures and pedicures at the Rosewood London.
When we re-emerged, blinking, onto High Holborn, it was hard to believe that all this bustle had been just yards away the whole time. Sense Spa had taken us to Planet Peace.
Who would like it?
Hotel guests: If you're in the luxurious Rosewood London, don't miss the opportunity to lather on a little extra love by visiting the spa.
Singles: Sense Spa at the Rosewood London has a perfect little spa spot for you.
Couples: The Couples Suite with its own steam room allows you extra space to connect and relax.
Results-driven spa-istas: Whether you want to relax, rejuvenate or revive, Sense Spa offers the opportunity to achieve your goals in the heart of London, possibly in your very own lunchtime.
The circular relaxation room. This room is a joy: a circular room in the centre of the spa with candles and gold-plated pillars reflecting the light. There is fruit to eat, and jugs of water. Give yourself ample time to snuggle back onto a lounger, adjust your reading light and sip some herbal tea before you return to the world with a skip in your step.
Expect to pay
A fair bit. A 60-minute massage will set you back around £100; not the most expensive in the capital, but up there.