In the shadow of 17th-century St Paul’s Church lies the cobbled Covent Garden, an extension of Theatreland that thrums with a festive air all year-round. A heady mix of street performers, regal restaurants – The Ivy and Sushisamba both call the area home – the Royal Opera House and a European-style piazza come together to create this creative yet historic hub. Stay close to the charms of Covent Garden with these relaxing spa hotels in the cultural heart of London.
The Savoy, an English institution on the Strand, harks back to a bygone era of cocktail hours and operas. This famous establishment, in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, is as famous for its art deco entrance and ritzy Kaspar’s restaurant as it is for its starry roll call of guests – from Golden Era Hollywood icons Marlene Dietrich and Frank Sinatra to modern-day A-listers like Rihanna. Flooded with natural light, the jet stream-fitted swimming pool sits within an atrium that’s circled with a sauna, steam room, fully equipped gym and treatment rooms. For a more debauched indulgence, head to the American Bar – Britain’s oldest cocktail bar – to find a snifter in homage to these lauded names.
Rooms at The Piccadilly London West End follow a bumblebee palette of marigold, vanilla and onyx – a fitting touch for a hotel in the buzzing heart of the city. Out of towners won’t know where to start with tourist hotspots and fabled attractions all in close range. Think Leicester Square, Oxford Circus and Covent Garden, along with Harry Potter-esque Cecil Court, Daunt Books and the Instagrammable Infinity Chamber. Take refuge from the crowds at the calming Beauty & Melody Spa, which is fitted with three treatment rooms, a sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and fitness centre, or opt for an in-room treatment and indulge in Thalgo therapies and shopper’s relief massages.
You could easily live in the Corinthia, an impressive presence between Southbank and the Strand, and still stumble upon stop-you-in-your-tracks hidden features. The hotel’s facilities include six eateries, an ESPA spa with a coterie of clinics – 17 to be precise – that sweep across four floors, a Daniel Galvin salon, nail studio, high-tech gym, in-house florist and more. The thermal floor of the spa, which is ESPA’s flagship retreat, is fitted with an indoor pool, vitality pool, amphitheatre sauna, ice fountain, heated marble loungers and private sleep pods. Opt for the Royal Penthouse – complete with a personal butler and access to a private wine collection – which is almost within touching distance of the London Eye, with a wrap-around terrace that leans over the Thames.
One Aldwych’s Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar, the low-lit restaurant by three-Michelin-starred chef Eneko Atxa, is the kind of place you can imagine Truman Capote holding court – in one of the gossipy red booths, naturally. The writer, who thrived in the hubbub of high society, would no doubt appreciate the hotel’s proximity to the theatre-thronged West End, Southbank, Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden. Meanwhile, the Robert Angell-designed rooms are bright, airy and charmingly inoffensive, which, much like the celebrated restaurant, are destinations that Truman’s Swans – Babe Paley and Slim Keith – might’ve enjoyed. By contrast, the Spa Health Club is awash with bottle-blue light and industrialist pillars that belie the soothing treatments on offer, such as Natura Bissé’s City Stress Buster massage and facial pamper pack, as well as the relaxing sauna, steam room and chlorine-free pool.
The five-star W London hums with electric energy. Opt for the splashy Extreme Wow Suite, which stays just the right side of Austin Powers, with comically large Union Jack furnishings – red, white and blue scatter cushions around a conversation pit and a lacquered flag backdrop – in case you forget what country you’re in. Elsewhere, there’s no excuse for missing a workout with the aptly named FIT, a light-filled energy space trimmed with punchy Marcel Van Der Vlugt graphics, Technogym equipment and on-hand personal trainers, all with the added benefit of overlooking the city below. Soothe tired muscles at the neighbouring AWAY spa, where celebrity therapists and pre-party pamper packages are the order of the day.
Despite being moments away from the tube and the thriving Theatre District, Rosewood London ensures a peaceful stay for its guests. The rooms are Zen-like in their minimalism – though kitted out generously with DIY cocktail kits, robes and slippers, and indulgent toiletries which vary between rooms and suite – while the jazz-era-style Holborn Dining Room, with its intimate red leather booths and marble columns, is glamour personified. A glitzy mood reverberates around the gilded hotel, and nowhere more so than the dizzying Mirror Room, where you’ll find the Champagne Bar tucked away; head here after an extended stay in the spa, where Hollywood favourite Face Place has an outpost. You’ll also find that Sense, the holistic specialists, EviDenS de Beauté and personal trainer Harry Jameson have set up shop in this spa and health centre, which comes kitted out with an extensive treatment menu from different pioneering beauty brands and a full fitness suite.
Settled into London’s storied Bloomsbury area – made popular by the literary set who lived here in the early 20th century – NYX Hotel is minutes from tourist traps such as Oxford Street and Leicester Square. Swerve the comical M&M World and its hordes of visitors and head straight to the Roman splendour of Covent Garden. Similarly, the in-house spa is fitted with a Roman-style swimming pool – bordered by towering stone pillars which contrast the Jackson Pollock-style artwork around the hotel. The Greco-Roman style extends to the sauna and steam room, while the range of massages, facials and scrubs focus on traditional therapies.