Step inside the new Guerlain spa at Raffles London at the OWO to discover an oasis of calm in the centre of the capital.
Featuring an expansive 20-metre swimming pool, indulgent spa suites and high-tech gym facilities, you’ll quickly discover why this newly-opened hotel (in what was Winston Churchill’s Old War Office building in Whitehall) has become one of London’s hottest tickets for luxurious rest and relaxation.
WHAT TO PACK
In a Grade II listed building bursting with history – it was once home to legions of spies and codebreakers during the Second World War – the first Guerlain spa to ever open in the UK lays claim to being one of the largest spas in the capital. The expansive offering is set over four floors and spans an impressive 27,000 square feet. On a grand scale it may be, but the renowned interior designers Goddard Littlefair have also created a calming and cocooning space, with soft, creamy beige and gold shades complemented with touches of mahogany panelling. There’s also more than a hint of a nod to Guerlain’s iconic Abeille Royale skincare in the colour palette too.
Designed as an urban sanctuary that takes holistic wellness to the next luxury level, the space boasts dedicated floors for different facilities; there’s a floor for treatments, a floor for the pool and sauna, and a floor for the fitness studio. Aiming to give your mind and body a full rejuvenation MOT, this is a spa that helps you take an immediate step towards inner relaxation whether you want to do laps in the pool, indulge in some spa therapy, or build a comprehensive workout plan with a personal trainer.
When you set foot in the Guerlain spa, it’s like entering your own personal wellbeing bubble; one specifically designed to help separate you from the noise and stresses of everyday life. Each of the nine treatment suites is impressively large, including one beautifully designed for romantic couple moments; with a cosy, padded treatment bed in the centre of the room and a traditional brass bath tub for the spa’s signature bathing rituals, you won’t want to leave for a very long time. That’s likely to help seal the deal for non-members and non-hotel guests, who will need to book in for at least a 90-minute treatment in order to gain access to the full facilities.
To mark its UK debut, Guerlain has also designed three new signature treatments for the London hotel, which you won’t be able to experience anywhere else in the world. The 90-minute ‘Spirit of London’ treatment is a particular highlight for busy minds and stiff bodies, using a clever combination of high-tech devices including LED light therapy, holistic healing with crystals, and deep tissue massage. For those looking to leave the busy city far behind (at least for an hour), the ‘Coastal Escape’ is an invigorating massage that transports guests to the UK coastline with the help of a calming soundtrack, while the ‘Royal Glow Tech Facial’ utilises the very finest Guerlain products and facial techniques – including microdermabrasion and photobiomodulation light therapy – to guarantee you emerge with incredibly glowing skin.
You’ll find yourself lingering post-treatment in the soothing relaxation room too, for as long as you can bear being away from the pool (and your emails). The weighted blankets, fruit teas and mood music make completely sure of that. And, just the sight of the spa reception has a way of slowing down your heartrate and your footsteps, starting your journey to boosted wellbeing from the moment you arrive.
Finding a good swimming pool in a London spa has been notoriously tricky for years. They tend to be small (and therefore fairly crowded) which is why it’s pretty spectacular to walk down the winding spa staircase at Raffles London and be met with the hotel’s 20 metre pool – one of the largest in the capital. You can tell the pool was central to the design of the whole spa, with plenty of room to ensure that anyone wanting to do fitness-focused laps can peacefully co-exist with more leisurely bathers. Cosy loungers are lined up around its edge, ready to be curled up on while wearing your signature branded dressing gown, between regular trips to the vitality pool for some hydrotherapy bubbles. Tucked away to help you unwind in true peace and quiet are the co-ed sauna and hammam too, which act as the finishing flourish to the chicest of spa day experiences.
Pillar Wellbeing – founded by elite performance coach Harry Jameson – is on a mission to transform the once humble hotel gym. It’s no surprise, then, that Pillar Wellness The Health Club at Raffles OWO is no tiny room with some weights in the corner. Featuring state-of-the-art Technogym equipment, a movement studio, one-to-one coaching opportunities and the latest sports technology, Pillar’s performance coaches deliver a highly-personalised and data-driven fitness experience.
You don’t just have to jump on a treadmill or yoga mat either (although both have incredible views over the pool). Sessions can also include assisted stretching, percussion therapy, breathwork and compression therapy, plus the addition of nutrition consultations to truly transform your wellbeing. Indeed, with a health and fitness ethos built on three pillars – Movement, Nutrition and Recovery – Pillar Wellness is bringing the hyper-personalised approach used by high-performance athletes to the modern working professional. By the end of the year, the fitness offering will also incorporate Pillar Kitchen on the hotel’s ground floor. Here you will find menus that have been specially created to restore balance and maximise energy from morning to early evening, including an abundance of healthy sweet and savoury breakfasts, as well as lunch dishes, snacks, fresh juices and smoothies, coffees and dishes of the day.
The Little Extras
For anyone with a little less time or money to spend, the ground floor of Raffles London is now home to the L’Atelier Guerlain. Acting like a mini (and incredibly luxe) beauty salon, non-members and hotel guests can enjoy express beauty treatments, including makeup top-ups, masterclasses and express facials. A curated selection of Guerlain’s top products are also available, but the standout experience is the ‘Bespoke Fragrance Experience’, which allows guests to create their own fragrances. A word of warning though, a visit to the L’Atelier will only make you want the full Guerlain spa experience even more.
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