The Mandara Spa is an Asian-inspired sanctuary in the heart of tourist London. The spa has a restful indoor pool surrounded by loungers, a sauna, steam room, relaxation room and nail lounge. Mandara Spa offers Asian-style massages, results-driven facials by CACI and Elemis, treatments for men and mums-to-be, and beauty finishing touches. This petit spa would suit solo spa-goers, couples or the business traveller who is looking to fit some RnR.
- XXL robes available
- Family swim times
- 15m heated indoor swimming pool
- Steam room
- Manicure and pedicure area
- Seven treatment rooms, including a couples’ suite
- A relaxation lounge
- A private VIP relaxation lounge
- Fitness centre
- Spa boutique
Our Spa Spy review
The approach to Park Plaza Westminster Bridge on London's South Bank is a tourist's dream; the modern hotel overlooks some of the city's most iconic attractions including Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. Go through the rather corporate entrance, follow the lines around the circular staircases and the elevator will take you down to the Asian-style subterranean spa.
What's on offer?
While the Park Plaza leisure facilities are very contemporary -- think cool greys, blues and straight white lines -- Mandara Spa softens the atmosphere with a touch of Asia.
The main reception for both the spa and the health club has a set of comfortable white sofas and is lined with glass displays of products including Mandara Spa's own range. You can catch a glimpse of the pool through heavy, Asian-style doors. Staff warmly welcomed us to the spa and gave us a tour of the facilities.
The changing rooms are broken up into different areas, so you never feel exposed at the centre of a large room. There are plenty of half size lockers (which weren't quite big enough to fit our winter boots and coats), shelves full of fresh towels, and three vanity stations with hairdryers, mirrors and Elemis body lotion. The showers were well-stocked with shampoo and conditioner, and the loos were tidy. The area is clean and well-designed but, with a high footfall, things are beginning to look a bit worn.
The star of the wet and thermal facilities is the perfectly heated 15-metre swimming pool. The gently-lit area is painted soft grey with bamboo and large white flowers decorating one edge. Along the other side are wide poolside loungers, a table with plenty of magazines, and a water dispenser. There's very hot traditional wooden sauna, a slightly-cooler dark mosaic-tiled steam room, both of which would comfortably seat eight people. Try the waterfall-style shower when you're ready to cool off.
Check in for your treatments at the second reception area; this is where the warmer atmosphere really starts. From an orange-lit bamboo and glass forest at the entrance, to Japanese Shoji screens in the relaxation area, the Asian motif will follow you throughout your spa journey.
The low-lit, taupe relaxation area has pods of comfortable seating arranged in twos or fours, lots of magazines to read, and water and sweet snacks to help yourself to. We went with the more virtuous fruit, but could have tried the biscuits or even Turkish Delight. A spa assistant brought us a Camomile and Ginger Mandara Tea. An intricate shell curtain separates the relaxation area and manicure and pedicure area which has two pedicure and three manicure stations. The spa is so quiet, it's easy to forget the hustle and bustle on the streets above.
If you fancy getting active, try the well-equipped gym in the leisure facilities.
Tell us about the treatments
We had the Balinese Massage (50 minutes, £90), a full body massage designed to relieve tension and calm the mind.
My therapist, Lottie, collected me from the relaxation area and led me to a darkened treatment room with deep burgundy textiles, dark wood accents, and flickering candles. I settled on the heated massage bed and Lottie cleansed my feet with steamy hot towels and walked the palms of her hands down my back and legs -- reminding me of the tension in my back. She started the massage with long strokes on my legs, stretching the muscles and easing tension. Lottie moved up to my back, kneading my shoulders and neck, using her thumbs and the palms of her hands when she found knots.
Lottie asked me to turn over and placed a pillow underneath my knees, another behind my head, and a lavender pillow over my eyes. Lottie used long, deep massage movements on my legs and arms, then flowed up to a pressure-point scalp massage and blissful neck stretches, releasing all the kinks and tension in my shoulders. I felt utterly relaxed.
Lottie rang a prayer bell to signify the end of the treatment and I brought myself gently back into the room. The massage left me feeling deeply relaxed and calmed. The gentle stretches made my limbs feel supple and light.
Mandara Spa at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge has an Asian-influenced treatment menu with la variety of different massages including warm bamboo massage, Asian head massage and Ayurvedic massages. Try results-driven Elemis or CACI facials, manicures and pedicures, or treatments for men and mums-to-be.
For lunch, you will need to dress and head to one of the restaurants within the Park Plaza Hotel. Brasserie Joel offers classic French-influenced bistro dishes, while Ichi is a sushi and sashimi bar. You can also try afternoon tea in the 1WB Lounge and Patisserie overlooking Westminster; we tried the colourful afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, scones and delicate patisserie.
We loved / we didn't love
Our skilled and welcoming therapist: Lottie was very caring and my treatment left me feeling relaxed in body and mind.
The Asian theme that runs through the relaxation area and treatment rooms: It feels authentic and a real escape from city life.
We didn't love
Having to dress for afternoon tea: When you reach such a state of Zen, it's a bit of a rude interruption.
The slightly worn changing rooms and pool: The facilities have been well-designed but there's some staining on the floor and the steam room was a little stale.
Who do you think would like it?
Mandara Spa is relatively small, so it would suit solo spa-goers or couples. It would be great for the business traveller who is looking to fit some RnR around meetings.
With such a good mixture of massages on the menu, even the most experienced spa visitor will find something lovely to try
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded Mandara Spa at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge a Good Spa Guide rating of 4 bubbles. The customer service was attentive, the atmosphere was warm and welcoming, and our authentic treatments were a delight. Mandara is a real sanctuary in the heart of tourist London.
The Hotel has a number of dining options. Brasserie Joel has two AA-Rosettes and serves classic french Cuisine, 1WB Lounge & Patisserie serves light bites, teas, coffee and cake. The Ichi Sushi and Sahimi bar overlooks Big Ben and guests can watch their sushi being prepared.
Park Plaza Hotel on Westminster Bridge has 1,019 guest rooms, suites and Penthouses, some of which offers views across the river to Westminster.
Spa: 9am - 9pm (Minimum of 16 years old)
Pool: 6am – 10pm (Children only between 8am – 8pm)