Originally published on Wednesday, 31st August 2011
September always makes us want to start buying satchels and patent loafers in a back-to-school style, and this year we feel like getting virtuous too: organising our wardrobes, getting our workout routine in gear, and stocking the fridge with smoothies. It’s not that mooching on rooftops with cocktails isn’t fun – it’s just that after a summer of that (and with evenings getting colder) spas, facials and endorphin-packed personal training sessions are sounding pretty good. Here are some of our favourite health and beauty treats for A/W11:
Raw Fairies’ five-day nutritional cleanse
Uncooked carrots aren’t generally our idea of a good time, but we did feel amazing after a week of this delivery service. You get all your super-healthy raw meals and supplements delivered each morning, with menus that outline what you are eating and a juice fast in the middle. We can’t say we weren’t craving cake (omlettes, sushi, anything!!), but after a summer of indulging it made us feel much lighter on our feet, and with pre-chosen meals it was easy to stick to.
Podular training and food to go at Lomax
On those days when you want the energy boost of an exercise class, without sweating in front of strangers, you should head towards Lomax , the boutique gym near Buckingham Palace with its own health food bar (we like the salmon and sweet potato, washed down with coconut water) and signature Blast Classes. It’s a fun (in an exhausting way) strength and cardio workout, and each person gets their own ‘pod’ stuffed with equipment and a bench just for them. Plus we’ve got a special deal for UJ readers: the first Blast Class is free, and if you book a second session for £12.50, you’ll get a Lomax Cleanse Lunch Box delivered to you at work (in London only), for free. Please quote: UJLBC1. Offer expires on 30th November 2011.
Choose the right delivery service for you
We hit a bump straight away with this programme as it only delivers between midnight and 6am: great if you have a doorman, private entrance or 24-hour security at work (they do have a large celeb clientele, figures), not so good if you work in a Soho townhouse and live in a flat. The food was good though: frittata for breakfast, nutritious salads for lunch and snacks of nuts and fruit to keep you going (the best was a banana and peanut butter fool that was eaten at half-past midnight on delivery day.) Plenty of choice, too, from weight loss and detox programmes to training support and pregnancy diets.
CLOSE TO HOME
Champagne and pedicures at St.Pancras Renaissance
Next time you get on a train to Paris, stop off first (no, not at the champagne bar this time) for some beautification at the spa at this Gothic London landmark. Not only is it a treat just to see the sweeping staircases and gold leaf ceilings, there’s a hot stone massage that’s meant to stimulate natural detox processes. That’s our excuse for it anyway – it feels delicious. Or, to make a day of it, go for the “High Time for Tea Time” package, which includes a pedicure, tea and champagne.
Get away in style at the Hotel Missoni
Now Edinburgh’s quieting down after the Fringe festival, it’s a good time to check out the spa at the city’s ultra-stylish Missoni Hotel, which opened this summer: expect bold colours and clashing prints, Nespresso coffee machines and iPod hookups in every room. Go for the O2 Awakening facial, recommended for frequent flyers and city dwellers, which includes an oxygenation massage. And when you’re completely relaxed, head to the hotel’s gourmet Italian restaurant Cucina. (A Basilito in the bar afterwards can’t hurt either).
Sun, sea and health spas in Croatia
If anything is going to tempt us to live a wholesome life, it’s being pampered in a spa overlooking the Adriatic Sea, where all the treatments are made of natural ingredients foraged from the nearby countryside. Occo is the latest addition to the five-star Radisson Blu Hotel, and we recommend the Black Sand Scrub & Ocean Massage Ritual before you hit the pool: it will have you bursting with energy, with glowing skin. This hotel may lack a bit of personality, but the price is right, and so is the location.
Take up cycling with H2 Bike Run
There are some of our team that think battling through traffic on a bike is worth it for the healthy (read smug) glow that comes with it, but there’s always the problem of arriving at the office feeling a little sticky. So we got interested when this gym for cycle commuters opened up around the corner: for reasonable monthly rates you can lock your bike in their secure bike park, use their showers, hair dryers and changing rooms, and there’s the option to add on spin classes and use of their basic gym (weights, mats, a treadmill) too. We’re not sure about cycling and then hitting the stationary bikes, but Bike Run definitely looks like a solution to helmet hair.
Tailor-made facials at the W London Hotel
At W London’s new-this-year Away Spa, there’s no set menu when it comes to facials – everything’s tailored to your own skin and what you want. Tell them you’re in detox mode and they’ll whip you into skin-tingling shape in either 25, 55 or 85 minutes (£40-138). Hit the Detox and Refuel relaxation area afterwards for a healthy snack. We love the all white oasis here, as well as the welcome shots (healthy ones, come on), Ren products and ceiling to floor windows in the gym. The unisex lockers could use a bit of a re-think though.
Take years off your skin at Beauty Works West
It’s easy to get skeptical about the claims made for beauty treatments – especially when they’re throwing around words like “toxins” and “antioxidant” – but we trust the scientific techniques at this much loved Notting Hill spa. West Londoners swear by the Oxygen Plasma Facial (£160), which involves serums being penetrated into the skin with an ultra-sound machine, and the “Intraceuticals Rejuvenation Infusion” (something to do with pressured therapeutic-grade oxygen), also works wonders.
Detox while you’re in the tub
This delicious-smelling bath oil from Elemental Herbology (we love) turns a soak in the tub into a whole new experience. With grapefruit, juniper berry, rosemary and geranium oil extracts, it’s also meant to invigorate circulation and shift toxins. They call it detox, we just call it a treat.