The Bulgari Spa
London, United Kingdom, SW7 1DW
Has a pool
Has thermal facilities
11 treatment rooms
The Bulgari Spa is a beautiful mixture of Europe spa with gentle Asian influences, right in the heart of Knightsbridge. Descend beneath the hotel and you’ll find a stunning 25-metre swimming pool, golden vitality pool, thermal facilities and divine treatments. The Bulgari Spa focuses on overall wellness and offers programmes based on treating the outside in order to harmonise the inside. Ensconce yourself a poolside cabana and you’ll be transported to a place of peace.
A two-minute walk from both Harrods and Harvey Nichols, The Bulgari Hotel and Residences is a modern building with a pale stone exterior and floor-to-ceiling windows. Valet parking is available if you arrive by car, or the Piccadilly line stops just around the corner. The spa facilities are subterranean, but light is used very cleverly; the pool feels almost like dawn on an exotic isle.
The wood-lined spa reception area sets the tone with minimalist sofas and chairs, a wall of products, and white stone pillars and floor. Friendly receptionists greeted us, and gave us a cup of tea and a consultation form. They took us on a mini-tour and showed us through to the changing rooms.
The changing rooms are carefully divided, so no one area feels too large or public. The two changing spaces (one with a private cubicle) are also wood-lined with stone floors; they have full-size lockers, a vanity area, shower and bathroom areas, and a white marble steam room The showers are stocked with shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. You'll find all of the accoutrements you need to pamper post-spa in the three vanity tables.
The pool area is the wow factor at Bulgari Spa. The 25-metre pool sits alongside a wall of textured Vicenza limestone (a motif throughout the spa). The green water and golden lighting warm up the space so although it's underground it doesn't feel dark. There are seven poolside cabanas draped with cotton to give a sense of privacy, each with a full-length lounger, big fluffy towel and a small table with a call button if you want to order food or drinks. A gold-leaf vitality pool has various water features: lie back on the air beds, dip under the waterfall, or take a throne in the bubbly chair. The only mixed-sex thermal room is also poolside; rinse off in the waterfall shower then step into the marble steam room – large enough to seat eight comfortably.
Upstairs are two separate fire-and-ice experiences; one for men, one for women. Each has a traditional wooden sauna, white marble steam room, an ice chute, and two showers. Both heat facilities would comfortably fit eight, but there was never more than one other person present during our visit. The back wall is lined with green onyx which reflects beautiful colours and light into the space.
The relaxation room has seven loungers covered in soft, grey towelling fabric, divided from each other by light cotton curtains. There is also a flickering vertical fireplace, water station, a variety of nuts to nibble on, and a fridge full of coconut water as well as plenty of magazines if you want to read while you relax.
You can hire the private Onyx Spa Suite for two or three hours. The suite has changing facilities, a steam room, showers, a double treatment room, and a large dual bath with two recliners next to it. If you're set to impress, or are a couple who prefer a little privacy, the Onyx Suite is the icing on the cake.
At the end of your spa day, you can have a manicure, pedicure or blow dry at Neville Hair and Beauty. The space has honey-coloured wood with black leather chairs, large mirrors and vintage magazine covers on the walls. In the gentleman's grooming area, you can have a wet shave, mini nail treatment or haircut; the space is more masculine with limestone, wood, black leather and chrome.
We tried the Mauli Surrender treatment (120 minutes, £330) and the Georgia Louise Cryo Rejuvenation Facial (80 minutes, £600).
Coco, my first therapist, met me in the relaxation room and took me through to our treatment room. She asked me to take a seat and soak my feet in hot water. The Mauli Surrender is based in Ayurvedic tradition, so we talked about my lifestyle, how I felt and what I wanted to achieve from the treatment. Coco dabbed two oils onto my hands and I chose the Serenity Pitta Oil with bergamot, lavender, lime, sandalwood and rose. She held up a towel while I de-robed and settled on the warm and wide treatment bed.
Coco started the treatment by vigorously exfoliating my skin with Himalayan healing salts; she started from my toes and went all the way to the top of my neck. She applied a gentle radiance exfoliant to my face, wrapped me up in a towel and led me to the shower. She re-set the treatment bed while I showered off the salts. When I was comfortably re-settled, she came back into the room and started the massage element of the treatment.
Coco is originally from China, and this influence came through in her massage technique. She used lots of long, pressured strokes, rocking, stretching and frictions across the knots in my back and shoulders. She moved over my back, neck, shoulders, arms and legs before asking me to turn over to repeat the process on my front.
Coco managed to get past my typical English reserve and I genuinely felt cared for. "Surrender" feels a very apt description; she took away the stress and for 90 minutes, I just let go.
Laura was my therapist for the Georgia Louise facial. Georgia Louise is an Upper Eastside Manhattan facialist, and trained the therapists at Bulgari. Laura talked me through each element of the facial, iterating that if anything was uncomfortable to tell her straight away.
The treatment started with a triple cleanse. Laura then painted on a gentle enzyme mask and used the cryotherapy machine on a hot setting to massage it into my skin. (Picture a small circular metal plate with hot or cold water running across it.) She then removed the mask and mixed up three different gels to help hydrate and detoxify my skin. She painted these on then used the machine again, this time on the cold setting: minus 15 degrees. Because the machine was constantly moving, my skin didn't get cold for long. After Laura removed the gels, she massaged my skin using lots of lifting and pinching movements with her fingers and a butterfly-shaped stone.
Laura used a micro-current machine to stimulate the muscles under my skin, then applied a skin tonic and an LED mask. The super-bright light rotated between white, red, pink and blue, plumping up my skin and encouraging cell renewal. Once my eyes had readjusted to the normal room light, Laura applied a freezing mask, which tingled with menthol, and massaged my scalp while the mask worked into my skin. To finish, she applied moisturisers. My skin felt tighter and plump without being overloaded with products.
To finish my day in style, I also had a manicure, pedicure, hair wash and blow dry. I was picture perfect and ready to head out into the city.
The Bulgari Spa offers traditional ESPA facials, massages and body treatments. Try a manicure, pedicure and beauty finishing touches. The treatment menu also includes more in-depth body treatments (such as the Mauli rituals), advanced facials, reflexology, osteopathy, cupping, naturopathy and even emotional healing. There are options for mums-to-be and men, too.
If you visit The Bulgari Spa for a day, you can order salads, sandwiches, juices, shakes, smoothies and indulgent desserts by the pool. We tried the Greek salad which was colourful, fresh, and just perfect for a relaxing spa day.
If you want something more substantial, you can find fine-dining options and afternoon tea upstairs in the hotel.
We loved the pool: A 25-metre pool lined with cabanas feels rather special in central London. We had the pool entirely to ourselves at several points during our spa day.
We also loved our treatments. Coco was very intuitive and knew exactly what needed care and attention. Laura was very knowledgeable, and gave me confidence with the different machines.
The understated elegant design. There's no need to be flashy when you have beautiful materials, fixtures and fittings.
There isn't much to not love about Bulgari Spa but different people will have different views on the single-sex thermal areas. Some will love the privacy of women- or men-only steams, and saunas. If you're visiting for a romantic spa day, though, you won't be able to heat it up together anywhere other than the poolside steam room. That could be your excuse to book the Onyx Suite, of course...
Offering dried fruits as well as nuts to nibble on in the relaxation room would be a great addition for those who suffer from nut allergies.
Bulgari Spa comes with a price tag; we saw well-heeled Londoners and quite a few international guests on our spa day. Regulars also come back time and again for the advanced facials.
To add to the more European flavour, there were quite a few men in the spa when we visited. The grooming area is a great space for men who want to have a swim, a wet shave and a cigar!
If you're not a Kensington local or international traveller, Bulgari is a special treat. The spa is perfect for a birthday, anniversary or other celebration when you want to have the very best.
We awarded The Bulgari Spa a Good Spa Guide Rating of Five Bubble Luxury. The facilities, design and customer service are all top end. The menus (both treatment and food) are beautifully pitched to make you feel both virtuous and indulged.
Summer Spy visited in March 2016 and awarded it 5 Bubble Luxury
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London, United Kingdom, SW7 1DW
The Bulgari Hotel has several bars and restaurants to choose from, offering breakfast, light lunches, afternoon tea and dinner.
85 rooms and suites at the Bulgari Hotel.
SPA OPENING TIMES
Monday to Friday 06.30 – 22.00
Saturday and Sunday 07.30 – 21.00
SPA TREATMENT TIMES
Monday to Friday 08.00 – 21.00
Saturday and Sunday 09.00 – 20.00
There are no offers for this spa.