Antara Spa at the Chelsea Health Club
Chelsea, London, SW6 1HS
Has a pool
Has thermal facilities
7 treatment rooms
Antara Spa is a holistic day spa within the Chelsea Health Club, a luxury health club in London's Stamford Bridge complex, the home of Chelsea FC. Antara Spa is a haven of calm and tranquillity, with Ayurvedic therapies delivered by experienced therapists. To make use of the health-club facilities alongside your spa-time -- including the spectacular swimming pool and spacious gym -- choose a treatment costing a certain amount or book a spa day. This smart, classy spa is perfect for men and women alike. No blue and white, just immaculate, well-designed space and a sense of exclusivity.
Antara Spa is deep inside the Chelsea Football Club complex in south-west London, just a short walk from Stamford Bridge tube station (or you can drive and use the underground car park). You enter past security and go alongside the rounded edge of the famous stadium with huge pictures of Premier League stars. The scale of the place is slightly awe-inspiring, even for non-football fans.
The Chelsea Health Club & Spa is at the far end of the grounds. The entrance and reception is spacious and light with floor-to-ceiling windows. Turnstiles lead into the open-plan, L-shaped members' bar, which has comfy velvet-upholstered chairs and sofas, and tables for food and drinks.
The main feature is a view of the fabulous 25-metre pool on the level below, and giant images of swimmers diving underwater.
Antara Spa is in the far corner of the lounge and offers a very different feel, with flickering candles and dark wood panelling.
Antara means "balance from within" and the emphasis at this spa is on holistic treatments. Dr Palitha is Antara Spa's resident ayurvedic doctor; he can do one-off treatments or plan a longer-term course of therapy.
Antara has a hammam suite with its own steam room. The dedicated Thai massage room has a large futon on the floor. The huge steel bath in the couples' treatment room is big enough for two to soak and relax.
The health-club facilities are all down the large and light glass stairwell. The 25-metre pool is non-chlorinated and the lanes make the pool perfect for serious swimming. Private swimming tuition is available if you wish to work on your technique. If you prefer your spa time more relaxed, rest undisturbed on wooden loungers with cushions around the edge of the pool, or in the hot Jacuzzi poolside.
The changing roomssauna and a steam room separated by a small, deep plunge pool
As you might expect in a setting that revolves around world-class athletes, the fitness facilities are excellent. A suspended AstroTurf running track loops around the edge of the building at first-floor level: ideal if you don't want to risk your life running on London roads.
The large gym has Technogym equipment and personal trainers on hand should you need help or advice.
Antara created a bespoke package for us which cost £250. I had a consultation with the ayurvedic doctor followed by an abhyangam massage with marma facial and head massage (70 minutes), then a Sweetness body polish with aromatic steam bath (20 minutes plus steaming time). Our package also included unlimited use of the health-club facilities and a warm meal.
Dr Palitha met me in spa reception and took me to a small consulting area behind a glass screen at the back of the spa. He asked about my lifestyle, diet and energy levels before taking me into the treatment room where I lay face-down on the couch.
For the abhyangam massage, Dr Palitha applied warm Narayan Thailam -- a sesame based oil -- to the crown of my head. In ayurveda, the crown energy must be pacified before you work on the body.
Dr Palitha uncovered my left leg, applied the oil and made firm and repeated strokes up and down. Throughout the treatment, all the movements were like this: repeated fast and up to ten times. The warmth of the oil plus the heat generated by the movements was extremely soporific, and I was soon very deeply relaxed. I observed as if from a great distance as Dr Palitha worked on my legs, moved on to my back, then asked me to turn over and worked on the front of my legs and arms. Finally, he sat behind my head and massaged my neck, scalp and face. I was enjoying every second and really didn't want the treatment to end. When it finally did, I sat for a while in an oily daze. Eventually I managed to get off the bed and into my robe. Outside the room, my next therapist, Roberto, was waiting.
Roberto took me to the hammam. I gasped when I walked in and saw that it was entirely lit by candles with tiny multi-coloured lights in the ceiling. So beautiful.
Roberto left me to change into the two-part paper underwear set. I lay down on the heated stone bed; the hammam was very warm and I didn't need any towels to cover me.
Roberto returned and applied a salt-based scrub to the back of my body. I was already very oily from the massage so the scrub glided very easily over my skin. Roberto asked me to turn over and rubbed the scrub into the front of my legs, arms and abdomen.
Once I was fully scrubbed, Roberto asked me to get into the steam room within the hammam and stay there for at least ten minutes. The steam was fantastically hot and completely lit with candles, like the rest of the hammam.
Eventually, I came out of the steam, put on my robe and walked back to the changing rooms to shower. Ideally, you should leave the oil on as long as possible after an ayurvedic treatment but it would be a brave and hard-core spa-ista who walked out into SW6 dripping with Narayan Thailam!
Antara Spa offers CACI facials and a range of oriental and ayurvedic massages but they really specialise in bespoke packages. Tell them what you want from your spa day and they will put together your perfect menu. If that seems daunting, choose from ready-made packages. The full-day Absolute Serenity at £600 is a pamper treat for couples. Your treatment room will be lit with candles and scattered with rose petals. Your treatments include an aromatic steam ritual, body polish, 90-minute aromatherapy or deep-tissue massage and a 30-minute Refinery facial for him and rose facial for her. You also have full access to the fitness facilities and lunch.
A full-day Pamper Retreat costs £150 for an individual or £250 per couple and includes three hours' use of the club facilities, lunch, 90 minutes of treatments and an express manicure or pedicure.
For £100, you can have a 60-minute treatment plus lunch and two hours' use of the health-club facilities which seems good value for spa-ing in central London.
You can eat lunch in your robe in the spacious café area immediately outside the spa entrance. If you are on a spa package, you will have a table reserved in the members' lounge where you can choose a warm meal from the spa menu.
The spa lunch menu is short and offers light and healthy food. Our chilli, lime and ginger salmon with stir-fried vegetables was spicy, perfectly cooked and totally delicious. The huge, freshly squeezed juices will make you feel super healthy.
We loved the pool: a full 25-metre non-chlorinated pool in London is a rare treat for any serious swimmer.
We loved the blue silky-soft robes: super cosy!
We didn't love the lack of a relaxation room in the spa. After treatments this good, we really felt the need to lie somewhere dark and quiet and drift away for a while. Your current post-treatment options are to lie on the poolside loungers, or sit in the two chairs behind the frosted-glass screen in the spa. (This is also where spa consultations take place.)
Football widows: Antara Spa is a great place to spend time indulging your passion for spa while your other half indulges a passion for the beautiful game.
Anyone who wants to spend a day spa-ing with their partner: Antara spa has a great selection of packages for couples.
We gave Antara Spa a Good Spa Guide rating of 5 bubbles. Antara is a classy spa that offers top-quality treatments alongside fantastic health-club facilities. Antara is the kind of place where the sky is the limit in terms of budget for creating the perfect spa package. However, with the £100-per-person deal (treatment plus lunch plus health club), some of us can live a bit of the WAG dream at Chelsea FC for an afternoon.
Super Spy visited in October 2014 and awarded it 5 Bubbles
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Fulham Road, Chelsea, London, SW6 1HS
Healthy lunches included in spa day packages are served in the Chelsea Health Club restaurant.
Monday to Friday: 6am - 10pm; Weekends: 8am - 8pm
There are no offers for this spa.