My in-laws were down recently and offered to take care of BLC for a few days while I went about getting a few things done. One of those on the list was an afternoon of chill-out time, away from any gadgets, people and errands. My usual place of choice for this is Spa London at Bethnal Green but I’d heard great things about their newly refurbished Ironmonger Row Baths at Old Street so went there.
I’ve been going to Spa London regularly since moving to the UK many moons ago. A colleague who grew up in the area told me about it and said it’s a well-kept secret – basically it’s a very well set-out Turkish Hamman but you can also get all the regular beauty treatments, massages, scrubs there too.
I’ve not tried any of their treatments but I can highly vouch for their thermal spa experience which to me is one of the most relaxing things you can do for yourself in this city. For between £21 and £25, you pay for three hours for the use of a heated room, sauna, series of Turkish hot rooms, two aromatherapy steam rooms, monsoon showers, ice-cold plunge pool (for when you want to roll in the snow after a sauna!) a chill out room filled with comfy couches, tea, water with lemon, apples and loads of magazines. They also provide you with a super comfy bathrobe, slippers and towel.
The idea is that you move from room to room, starting with the hamman to warm you up, then 10 minutes in one of the saunas, back into the hamman where you can ice yourself down if you wish, before moving into the Turkish hot rooms, the three of which get gradually hotter as you move through them, spending as long as you like in each one. After those, you either dunk yourself into the plunge pool to get the circulation moving or stand in one of the showers where you get the choice to either pull a pail of water over your head of get blasted by a shower which comes at you from all angles (not as intense as it sounds!). Then it’s either into the steam rooms, or you can come back to them after a break in the magazine room, or repeat the process again. The point is to relax – there ain’t no smart phones or laptops appearing in these rooms!
A hidden bonus for me this time was that in their hair-drying area they have installed GHD hair straighteners so I got to leave with a nice shiny head of hair rather than the poof ball that happens if I just blow-dry it then head out into the London grey…
The friends who I’ve introduced to the experience have become regulars but we all prefer to go on our own. Why not do the same? Take yourself down to the spa, sit back and relax, and at the end, enjoy some fresh mint tea and a copy of Grazia?
Spa London can be found at a variety of locations across London, this particular visit was to Ironmonger Row near Old Street Station, but I also recommend their York Hall branch in Bethnal Green. Women only, men only and mixed session times vary so check before you book.
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