Kate O'Donnell sings the praises of Canary Wharf's glossy new spa.
As anyone who works there already knows, Canary Wharf is so smart that there are no hoodies to be seen in its shopping centre, just pinstriped suits, PDAs, and five-inch stilettos. And that's the boys (I jest, obv). This is one high-maintenance environment in every sense. But as the City girls who work there also know, places to achieve that highly groomed, high-gloss finish are awfully thin on the ground. Salvation is to be found in the slick new Six Senses Spa at Pan Peninsula, which has brought its delicious Asian-influenced holistic spa rituals to the beauty-parched denizens of E14.
Readers, I checked it out. The tone of my visit was set when a Maserati pulled up as I was walking in the front door; inside the lobby a cleaner was polishing the already impeccable marble floor; the flower displays were as tall as me. There might as well have been a sign on the door saying, "Tycoons live here". And the spa? A deluxe, third-floor, eight-treatment-room sanctuary centred round its Bio-Thermal Suite, which has the ideal facilities to soothe furrowed hedge-fund brows: an aroma steam cabin (scented on my visit with orange blossom); a laconium; a Finnish dry sauna; a hydrotherapy pool with jets and ‘air seats'; and, my favourite, a sensory shower, where I played with the dials to take the shower by turns from a jungle-warm tropical downpour to a cool rainforest mist. As I gazed out of the windows at the bamboo garden outside I felt I was in Hong Kong, or Singapore, or Bangkok - but definitely not in London.
A full menu of massages, acupressure, reflexology, wraps, polishes, facials, manis, pedis, lash tinting, threading, waxing and so on is available, using Aromatherapy Associates' and Ilya's cult products, plus a speedy ‘express' mani-pedi-grooming menu for girls in a hurry. But I recommend booking Matthew for an off-menu Thai-Shiatsu massage (in truth, every treatment here can be customised) and giving yourself over to the fusion of the yoga-like stretches of Thai massage combined with the palm-pressure work of Shiatsu. Matthew managed to persuade the knots that had taken up residence in my shoulder to leave home - and they haven't dare return.
So if you can't actually get to Thailand this year then this would be a blissful substitute. Your ‘souvenir'? Make it one of the spa's cool red-check Turkish hammam towels. At only £10, they're a beauty bargain, too.
Six Senses Spa at Pan Peninsula, 2 Pan Peninsula Square, London, E14 9HA. From £12 for nail polish. Thai-Shiatsu massage, £90 for 50 minutes (020 7531 2320; sixsenses.com).
By Kate O'Donnell