In 1777, writer Samuel Johnson opined that, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” With its wealth of attractions, 24-hour nightlife, world-leading restaurants and shopping havens – not to mention centuries worth of culture to explore – you’ll be forgiven for wanting to take refuge from this bustling city in the sanctuary of a spa. Johnson never had the luxury of a hydrotherapy pool or full-body massage, but you do, thanks to these relaxing hotels with a spa in Kensington.
With so much culture on your doorstep – Kensington Palace, the storied Victoria & Albert Museum and Natural History Museum are within strolling distance – you’ll no doubt be on your feet all day and in need of respite. Enter Baglioni Hotel London and its eponymous Spagnulo and Partners-designed spa, specialising in ayurvedic therapy and boasting treatments from the organic, Italian brand INSIUM. Separate male and female steam rooms, experience showers and three therapy rooms for Natura Bissé treatments make up the rest of the space, as well as a 24-hour gym.
Le Kalon Spa at the Bentley London is a vision of gold, marble and neoclassical flourishes. It has been designed with Cleopatra in mind, with gilded trays of fresh fruit piled high next to sleigh-back chaise lounges fit for the ruler. You can even enjoy her namesake 23-carat gold facial. In keeping with the regal theme, La Sultane de Saba – which draws on the ancient rituals of the Egyptian ruler and the Queen of Sheba – holds court in the hotel’s sweeping marble hammam, which is the largest in London and the only one where you can enjoy this specialist spa brand.
Keen to get your workouts in while travelling? The Kensington offers a guide to local jogging routes, while the in-house gym is kitted out with cardiovascular equipment. If you prefer a slower pace then you can hire a vintage-style Pashley bike and head to the glorious grounds of Kensington Garden, just a four-minute cycle away, with a picnic in tow – the hotel can prepare one especially for you. Reward your efforts with a Viva Therapies massage in the sumptuous spa or from the comfort of your plush yet tastefully decorated room, available from 8am until midnight.
The Rembrandt is a popular hotel with a spa in Kensington thanks to its proximity to Buckingham Palace and Harrods, and the V&A and Natural History Museum are just across the road. While the fully accessible rooms are kitted out with key amenities, you’ll likely want to pound the pavement of Kensington or the shopper’s paradise, Oxford Circus. Once you’ve exhausted the city – or rather, the city has exhausted you – head to Aquilla Health & Fitness next door for a soak in the jacuzzi or book a beauty treatment; the bamboo massage is a post-shopping saviour.
Though the treatment menu at the Adria is succinct, the offering is expert; a range of massage options include everything from pre-natal and lymphatic drainage to the traditional holistic and reflexology treatments. Proudly British, this Victorian townhouse is ideally situated in the upmarket Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, while each of the charming rooms is named after a key figure in British history – one for each letter of the alphabet.
Waltz back to a bygone era of Marie Antoinette-level pampering, high tea and silver service at the Milestone Hotel. The Conservatory, a black-and-white funfair of a restaurant, is all about over-the-top opulence, while the Map Room and Stables Bar are similar in their dedication to making a dramatic visual statement. The spa marks a mood switch – gone are the fuss and frills, replaced with a soothing palette of ice white and sapphire. In keeping with the hotel’s old-world charm, expect traditional treatments such as full-body massages and a Joan Collins-approved facial. The pool is suitable for a few gentle laps, but you’ll want to head to the fully kitted gym for a more rigorous workout. Alternatively, the hotel can organise pilates and yoga sessions.
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