Espa Life at the Corinthia | The Times Spa Guide
The Times Good Spa Guide | 18 July 2012
Espa Life at the Corinthia London
Ranged over four floors, this luxury spa is a warren of spaces to work out in and be pampered in, says Laura Ivill.
USP The Corinthia doesn’t do things by halves. When the hotel opened on Whitehall Place in 2011, a staggering £300 million had already been spent on its elegant rooms and suites, a fine-dining restaurant with seafood bar, lounges, dazzling artworks, an Espa Life spa and much more. Like the rest of the hotel, the spa is lavish yet refined, “reassuringly expensive”, as they say. Espa Life is an upscale concept in “wellness”. Over four floors, the spa is a warren of myriad spaces to work out in, chill out in and be pampered in; but it also offers alternative and complementary therapies (naturopaths, nutritionists, TCM acupuncturists, herbalists) to tackle deeper-rooted issues, such as stress, sleep problems and fatigue, and it has a sports injury and rehabilitation clinic with osteopaths, physios and personal trainers. It’s all state-of-the-art: bikes are set up with an animated display so that you can race, and four “personal training pods” give 360-degree vision to check your position all times. Feel an enveloping warmth as you enter the Thermal Floor – with its underfloor heating, heated loungers, vast sunken sauna, pool, hammam, steam room and ice fountain.
Ambience The spa is a temple to the senses – step inside, and the lounge with glazed roof and fireplace has cream leather banquets, padded leather chairs, white marble floors, curvaceous sculptures and champagne lacquered panelling. This Kinon lacquer is handmade using wire to create a subtle crackle effect. The overall impression is of an iridescent oyster. Descend the staircase to find the black pearl - the Thermal Floor. Its polished black marble and mood lighting takes you to a place of calm.
Quality of experience My therapist, Sinead, first asked me why I had chosen the hot-stone massage – an obvious question, perhaps, but not one often asked. With a two-hour treatment ahead we had time to talk about what I wanted from the experience and she brought out a whole pharmacy of Espa’s targeted products to cleanse, soothe and revitalise. Afterwards, I only realised my forehead lines were still there when I looked in the mirror and gave a look of surprise that they seemed to have gone. Post-treatment, I wrapped myself in a blanket in the dark, cosy Zen room, with its suspended fireplace and silk cushions, put the sleep pod’s headphones on and drifted away.
Food and drink Dishes are lightly cooked without salt. The poached salmon was bursting with fresh ginger and citrus peel, and sprinkled with delicate peashoots. Go healthy with freshly squeezed juices.
In-crowd Don’t be surprised to see A-listers, such as Rhianna and Kirstin Dunst, in the spa. Otherwise, there are toned couples staying in hotel, the occasional well-heeled family, and successful society and business women looking for a regular place of refuge. Well groomed Londoners mix with scruffy musicians. Less Knightsbridge bling, more smart Westminster types.