You know how when you go to a spa, they are normally incredibly self-effacing places; all understated colours, roughly hewn organic surfaces, and superhumanly serene staff padding noiselessly round in rubber-soled slip-ons, reverently making you cups of lemongrass tea?
Well, the new spa at The Dorchester is just the opposite. This is possibly the very first spa-as-hedonistic-temple-of-indulgence - and we predict it's going to launch a bit of a trend. The high-luxe tone is set by the 75,000 South Pacific pearl-chandelier hanging in reception, and continues with the walls draped in floor-to-ceiling curtains the colour of clotted cream; snow-white polished-marble floors in every direction; a manicure suite whose Perspex walls are filled from floor-to-ceiling with bottles of Essie nail polish like a sort of subversive Damien Hirst; and a relaxation room that, with its purple-blue lighting, and polished chrome detailing, looks as if it could be a nightclub in Monte Carlo. After a suitable period of post-treatment chilling, guests can repair to the adjoining Spatisserie for cocktails and canapes. As the hotel says, this is a spa where you can have your cake and eat it. And then have some more. No painfully good-for-you wheatgrass shots here, guys. It's all about indulgence.
But if its design recalls the shimmer and sparkle of Thirties London, its spa menu is bang up to date, showcasing lower-profile (read: not overexposed) beauty names such as Vaishaly, Carol Joy London, and Kerstin Florian. Vaishaly's clients include Nigella, Sophie Dahl and Elle Macpherson. The Dorchester clients include George Clooney, Nicole Kidman and Dita von Teese. Everything about The Dorchester spells maxed-out glamour. And now its new spa does too. Make sure you come suitably attired.
By Kate O'Donnell
The Dorchester Spa, The Dorchester, Park Lane, London, W1A 2HJ (020 7319 7109; thedorchester.com).