When one has been twisted like a pretzel after a long haul flight, then the promise of a massage is like manna from heaven. I’m not fussed by the specificity of advertised anti-jetlag spa treatments, I just want someone to dig their fingers inside the knots in my neck, and ease the tension in my sacroiliac.
So it was with combined anticipatory glee and relief that I took the lift up to the new Bamford Haybarn Spa on the upper floor of London’s Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, and checked in for their Bamford Body Signature Treatment, the day after I flew back from my ridiculously abbreviated two day stay in Rio de Janiero.
Therapist Nathalie Hawkins gave me a gloriously effective massage with Bamford’s Rosemary Oil, which had me drifting out of her treatment room eighty-five minutes later with a lunatic grin plastered on my face. Starting with a cleansing footbath, followed by shiatsu, meridian and Swedish massage, she also includes reflexology to the feet to encourage the positive flow of energy throughout the body, and closes with a pressure point massage to the face, neck, shoulders and head. It was, frankly, incredible.
After my treatment, I wafted upstairs to the pool to sit in the sun, and eat a light spa lunch.
The pool holds particular memories for me, because this is where I shot my very first fashion story, a front of book swimsuit story for the launch issue of Conde Nast Traveller, back when I was an editorial assistant. (I’ve been looking for it this afternoon but don’t seem to have a copy.)
It is one of London’s most glorious spots to escape the madding crowd: literally perched above Knightsbridge, half the fun is the knowledge that you are far removed from the bustle on the street below.
I did not want to leave. Finally extracted from my eyrie, I floated downstairs to my waiting car, past the ravishing flower arrangements by McQueens in the lobby, and back to normality. For two and a half hours I really did feel as though my life had been suspended, and all worries gone. I call that experience priceless.
Many, many grateful de-pretzeled thanks to everyone at The Bamford Haybarn Spa at The Berkeley Hotel, London for their generous hospitality.