LONDON LIFE • March 2022
Step off the plane to a little self-care in the real world. For those arriving into our London airports (or any locals who might need a pamper), we’ve worked out where to find the city’s best post-flight massage spots that are ready to work their magic…
The ‘flight mode recovery package’ at Pan Pacific London, Liverpool Street’s hottest opening, is a 24-hour holistic experience that taps into your physical and mental wellbeing. When you check in, you start with a PT-led aqua bike workout – yes in the pool – to get your blood pumping for the day ahead, with a calming and detoxifying lymphatic drainage massage following later. With deep rest being the new luxury, at bedtime your room is set up to optimise your circadian rhythms with a temperature-controlling Ooler sleep sheet that you can set to your ideal digit and a weighted blanket to help you destress as you zzz.
Alight at Paddington and drag your stiff limbs round the corner to The Chilworth, a mid-19th-century townhouse hotel in a residential street that exudes a velvety charm and calm from the moment you enter. The spa is dinky, to say the least, but couples will delight in its Jacuzzi and steam room before moving on to the pleasures of being pummelled in parallel into a state of restorative bliss. The order of the day is a glorious deep-tissue massage in tandem with aromatherapy and lymphatic drainage to kick-start your jet-lagged circulation. You’re even rewarded with some dark chocolate at the end.
Duck off the Strand, enter JM Barrie’s former digs, and nip down some stairs to the underground lair that is Aire Ancient Baths. Amid flickering candles, it will drain all the stress from your limbs via a series of six pools set to different temperatures that you can enjoy at your own pace. To truly reset after a long-haul flight, add a Himalayan salt massage – an invigorating scrub with the detoxifying salt to pep you (and your skin) up, followed by a cocooning wrap to absorb all of the good stuff. Expect to emerge blissed out but raring to go.
Enjoy complimentary cava and truffles at Aire Ancient Baths using code BAAIRE. Valid on experiences booked before 14 April 2022. Subject to availability.
Turn off one of East London’s busiest streets and, suddenly, you’re in a world of calm. MASAJ – which does away with the sprawling massage menus of yesteryear in favour of five tightly curated treatments – has all the cool of a Shoreditch studio with all the warmth of the womb, each wall painted in a natural clay. Bent-out-of-shape city workers and low-key celebs make up the current clientele, but frequent fliers are cottoning on, returning for Claire’s expert knuckles and the hipster soundtrack – what other spas play Massive Attack and Nick Drake?
Lingering effects of cabin fever are sure to melt away as soon as you step foot in The Berkeley’s light, airy and very country chic Bamford Wellness Spa. An offshoot of the original Cotswolds spa at Daylesford Farm, its signature treatment is a 90-minute post-flight pick-me-up that covers all the bases. It kicks off with an Epsom salt and eucalyptus footbath to banish any altitude-induced swelling, before you fully recline for the star of the show: a firm-as-you-like-it full-body massage that combines shiatsu, meridian and Swedish techniques to masterfully manipulate knots, melt away tension and soften those areas that get particularly achy and tight after a flight. Bonus points for the pressure point head and face massage at the end.