The best spas in London
An indulgent spa day can be just what you need to rest and recuperate, and even a busy, thriving capital such as London has pockets of calm. Whether you're looking for a particular treatment or just a simple day of indulgence, we've selected the very best spas in London.
Aire Ancient Baths, Covent Garden
BEST SPA IN LONDON FOR: A TOTALLY UNIQUE AND SOCIAL EXPERIENCE
It’s rare for something at once so seemingly historic and so fresh to open up right at the heart of London, a city renowned – like its people – for having seen and tried everything at least once in its long and fabled lifetime. But candlelit, sultry baths inspired by Greco-Roman spa traditions, located in the basement of a 17th-century building (incidentally the former home of Peter Pan creator JM Barrie) just off The Strand is new even for this old dame. With outposts everywhere from New York and Chicago to Barcelona and Copenhagen, Aire turned on the taps in London in June 2021.
At this first British destination there are five baths, each the size of a small pool, to wander between in a robe at your leisure: the warm, 36ºC Tepidarium, the huge bubbling Balneum, the Vaporium (a steam room with aromatherapy), the Red Sea-esque saltwater bath known as the Flotarium, and the not-so-appealing Frigidarium (a cold bath of 14ºC and ice bath of 10ºC). There is also the pièce de résistance: a heart-shaped tub filled with alcohol-free Spanish Ribero del Duero red known as the ‘wine bath’ – ideal to wallow in post-massage. Look past any ‘faux distressed’ details and the fact it isn’t truly, truly ‘old’ in the typical London sense – Aire Ancient Baths offers a wonderfully fun and relaxing new experience in the capital, for both locals and tourists.
TREATMENT TO BOOK
The Relaxing Massage 30 package includes as many dips as you can handle and, as the name suggests, a 30-minute almond oil, just-firm-enough massage in a separate low-lit room upstairs (reached via a low-lit lift), followed by herbal tea sipped while reclining on warm marble stone. It will leave you feeling as fresh and sleepy as a baby after bathtime. Don’t plan to go raving afterwards.
Book a late-afternoon or evening visit and head into one of the many Covent Garden restaurants nearby offering a pre-theatre menu beforehand, for excellent food at a fraction of the regular price. Becky Lucas
Address: Aire Ancient Baths, 2-3 Robert St, Covent Garden, London WC2N 6BH
Telephone: +44 20 80 77 5356