I have lost count of the number of times I’ve rescinded my Friday night plan. It should be quite simple to leave work and go straight home, but it is, in fact, rather difficult. Following a tough week at work, there is nothing more appealing than a bit of self indulgence and pampering. In that spirit, I booked a massage for noon on Saturday, with the full intention of avoiding the lure of a Friday night ultimate mojito, and forcing myself to bed for a long-awaited rest.
Yet, once again, I found myself startled upright by the sound of my phone reminding me of my midday appointment, just an hour away. Not the relaxing start that I had meticulously planned.
Having raced across town, headache in tow, I found myself greeted with a smile at the door of the Sanderson, one of London’s most hip and trendy boutique hotels. This was no ordinary smile; this was a smile of colossal proportions: a lipstick-red lipped sofa that would have brought a smile to Dali’s face, as it did mine, with its inviting pout.
With its bold design statements, the Sanderson successfully overcomes the ubiquity of the Starck/Morgans Hotel Group and adds a certain level of class to the proceedings.
The Agua Spa is on the first floor, a short trip from the lobby in the glass constellation-themed elevator as though taking me on a journey through time and space. Waiting on the other side was my own white-washed heaven; white on white as far as the eye could see.
On being escorted to the changing room, the peace and serenity of this other world engulfs you; an instant hangover cure, I assure you. I dressed in my robe and slippers and made my way to the waiting room, a veritable triumph of design and ambience.
The white-washed chaises longues, the meticulously placed vibrant green apples and lemon flavoured water effortlessly replenished, the array of indulgent magazines, the bubbling water fountain in the centre of the room and the 40ft ceilings – white, of course – combined to produce an air of infinite, simple luxury.
The massages happen a short walk away, which allows one to witness the full extent of the design excellence of this spa. There are no walls or separate rooms, but a labyrinth of white, floor-to-ceiling curtains, carefully placed to form corridors and pods, within which the procedures are performed.
As I awaited the start of my deep tissue massage, I could hear the stirrings of a fellow indulger in the pod next door. Within seconds, however, I was drifting through the white heavens to the sound of the bubbling water in the distance and the utterly calming classical piano album in the foreground, both perfectly aligned with the orchestra of sensual delights that I was experiencing.
The performance itself was just what I needed to rid my mind and body of the unforgiving week behind me, the deep pressure seemingly in rhythm and tune with the music.
With a gentle and soothing voice, I was escorted back to the waiting area, but my indulgence was far from over. I could have sat for hours in one of the mini pods with its private TV and DVD collection, instead choosing to bask in the glorious solitude and palpable tranquillity of my own white-washed heaven.
I eventually returned to the changing room, ready to face a new world, but I couldn’t resist a few more minutes to myself in the steam room, a perfect end to an hour’s massage that turned into a thoroughly indulgent afternoon of ‘me time’.
I decided not to take the elevator back to Earth, but to walk down the grand, winding staircase that takes you to the hotel’s private function snooker room and bar. As I reached the bottom of this decadent world and made my way back past that smile, I was, once again, ready for an ultimate mojito.