Bamford at the Berkeley | The Times Spa Guide
The Times Spa Guide | 13 December 2013
The Bamford Haybarn at
the Berkeley, London
The first Bamford Haybarn spa outside of the Cotswolds finds a luxury launch pad in SW1. By Laura Ivill
USP: The Berkeley is unique among London five-star hotels to have a top-floor swimming pool with a retractable roof – making it stand out as a relaxing summer destination overlooking leafy Hyde Park. In cooler months, light still streams in through the windows, dappling on the pool surrounded by loungers. In fine weather you can also relax outdoors in the bijoux rooftop garden, with fig trees and hydrangeas, a world away from the hubbub of Knightsbridge. This is the first Bamford Haybarn spa outside of its home county of Gloucestershire, where it sits next door to parent company Daylesford Organic, established by Lady Bamford. She has been selling organic, farm-fresh produce for 30 years, and the Bamford Body range of beauty products and spa treatments (sold here and at Lime Wood hotel in the New Forest) is a natural fit – creams are rich and powerfully scented with herbs.
Ambience: These herbs are a motif of the spa. Long planters and pretty individual pots decorate the two floors – camomile, rosemary, lavender and a wonderfully aromatic lemon thyme. A refreshing change from the high gloss and low lighting of many spas, this is sunny, homely and uplifting, with painted tongue and groove walls, stripped wood doors and lots of soft grey. It’s not especially spacious - changing next to your locker is a bit tight if there’s more than one of you - but it’s unlikely to be crowded either. A steam room and sauna do the job, but it is relaxing outdoors that’s truly memorable. I have never known time to fly away so quickly.
Quality of experience: Four treatment rooms, with names such as the Beehive and the Log Cabin, have their allocation of potted herbs too. Lying face up I had a rather bleak view of a large air conditioning unit, which wasn’t very ‘hay barn’, but I peacefully closed my eyes throughout my massage and, on a return visit, a facial. Both of these were expertly performed by knowledgeable London girls – always great to have locals, be that Maldives or Manchester. The Bamford Body Signature Treatment (85 min, £150) turned out to be a simple classic massage (minus the ‘assisted yogic breathing’), but the Rejuvenating Facial (55 min, £105) by British brand Oskia was a revelation. Banish thoughts of light fingers sending you to sleep, this was a workout for the face – precision massaging of every minute muscle I didn’t know I had, and not for the fainthearted. My therapist Sabah was utterly absorbed in the process – I could sense complete, unhurried concentration through her hands. Worth every penny.
Food and drink: You can taste the quality ingredients. Parma ham with black figs, wild rocket, mint and balsamic dressing was delicious and a plentiful snack, although at Knightsbridge prices (£15). The poached native lobster with minted courgettes, baby spinach and sweet lime dressing was light and flavoursome (£25). You need to order half an hour or so in advance. Wines are all from the award-winning Chapel Down in Kent.
In-crowd: Well-groomed Berkeley thirtysomething couples, execs on their iPads, Knightsbridge ladies who lunch, and an occasional gentile aqua aerobics class.
Wallet watch: Bamford full-body massages, from £100 for 55 min; Oskia facials from £45 for 20 min. Girls’ Day Out package £90, includes manicure, pedicure and a glass of champagne; Berkeley Morning £250 for four hours, includes an hour’s personal training, massage and breakfast. Annual memberships from £2,350.
Need to know: Bamford Haybarn at the Berkeley, London SW1 (doubles from £330) 020-7201 1699. the-berkeley.co.uk/hay-barn