Despite the number of hotels I’ve stayed and worked in over the years I’ve never had a spa treatment in one until I visited So SPA at the Sofitel London St. James a few weeks ago. Massages work wonders for me and I feel like a new person after having one so I booked to have a 60 minute Ayurvedic massage described in the menu as a thousand year old ritual where warm Ayurvedic oil is massaged into the body relieving tension, restoring energy and improving vitality. Just what I needed.
As with all great hotels they listen to you and personalise your stay accordingly, and at the Sofitel this is also true of their spa. When I arrived I was offered tea and a hot towel by Tunde, the So SPA butler, and asked to complete a form with my preferences towards aspects of my treatment such as music, room temperature, bed temperature, aroma, and room lighting, which were all noted and in place when I entered the treatment room a few minutes later. I also had the opportunity to select the pressure of my massage.
I was shown to the changing room where I was given a locker with a robe, slippers, water, and a towel. Once I was ready I took a seat outside the treatment room and already felt a million times more relaxed then before I arrived. There’s a very calm and quiet atmosphere in the spa which does wonders for the mind and soul, especially in a fast-paced city like London.
Before the treatment began my therapist Marina explained what the massage entailed and the oil that would be used. It was a full body massage and in addition to different pressures being placed on different parts of the body there was also stretching involved. I was slightly concerned about the stretching part as at this point I had quite small disposable pants on but decided to just go with it and hopped under the big fluffy duvet ready for the massage to begin.
The massage started at my feet and worked up to my head, and there was indeed stretching of the arms and legs in certain directions. I tend to carry all of my tension in my shoulders so when Marina started massaging the knots out of these areas it hurt a little but it was the good kind of pain and such a relief. I could have stayed there for hours and with the combination of the music, the smell of the oil, the warmth of the room, the low lighting, Marina’s soothing voice and the pressure of the massage, I was verging on being sent into the deepest and most relaxed sleep imaginable.
Be under no illusions, a full body massage covers the full body. It comes very high up and goes very low down so if you’re not comfortable with that this type of treatment probably isn’t for you. Perhaps stick to a back, shoulder and neck massage. The first time I had a full body massage I left more tense than I was going in but if you know what you’re going into and you’re happy with that then you’ll feel like a new person after it.
Once the massage was finished I chilled out in the treatment room for a little while before gathering myself and making my way to the main area of the spa where rose tea with honey was waiting for me. Something that really stood out for me was when I asked Marina a question about the oil used and its scent, she passed the question on to Tunde who showed me the products and explained a bit about them without trying and sell them to me. I was left to decide whether I wanted to buy them without feeling pressured into doing so.
The members of staff were so accommodating and showed me around the spa, setting up rooms and allowing me to take photos. So SPA is spread over 3 floors and has the feeling of a small European village with its high ceilings, dark wood furnishings and sporadic bursts of rich colour.
The Ayurvedic massage is £95 for 60 minutes or £130 for 90 minutes. I got a 20% discount through Our Man on the Ground bringing the total to £76 which is expensive but you get so much more than just the massage. The staff was kind and caring in ensuring the treatment was as perfect as possible, and the surroundings and vibe were so relaxed and luxurious if felt like the capital was a million miles away.
So SPA offers a plethora of treatments and I can’t recommend this place enough. If you need pampering and the soul soothed So SPA is the place to go.