A handsome, uniformed doorman wearing a top hat sets a high standard as I enter the hotel. On the approach to the cavernous (yet hidden jewel) ESPA Life at Corinthia, a soothing blend of essential oils reach my nose and I immediately feel a million miles from the bustle outside…
For my first ESPA treatment, I chose their 90-minute Age-Defying Facial, which claims to "restore youthful vitality and target signs of visible ageing" - SOLD! My treatment, in one of the 17 treatment rooms, began with a skin cleanse followed by a super professional consultation and skin analysis with state-of-the-art equipment including a skin vision UV light to assess my skin’s needs.
The products used were from ESPA’s ‘Lift and Firm’ anti-ageing range and within minutes of the therapist flexing her hands, I was in a dreamy, sleepy state of bliss. A steam machine for extractions isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but is a must for me and so it was incorporated into my experience. The scalp treatment felt suitably indulgent and a derma-roller facial massage feels like it must be doing something miraculous. Frankly, I think it did: my skin visibly snapped to life, my jawline was noticeably more defined and it looked like perhaps I spent some time with a Hollywood doctor (no scalpel required). The best thing is that you can head straight out after the treatment: my skin tone had never looked so radiant and crucially, there were no signs of the traditional post-facial shiny redness.
A week later, after a Champagne-provoked tumble from my high heels (resulting in a broken fifth metatarsal — ouch) I decided to head back to ESPA Life, this time for a personalised massage.
After a full consultation with my massage therapist, aptly named Angel, I chose a Swedish Massage, which was definitely more than your usual massage.
The treatment included controlled breathing exercises, visualisation, full body massage, scalp massage and a (one) foot massage. Given my compromised foot situation we focused on my neck, head and shoulders to alleviate tension and stress. My guardian Angel elevated my other foot (feeling sorry for itself) during the treatment and then put heated crystals on it for healing, positive energy.
Afterwards I meandered (or rather, hobbled) around the thermal floor - one of the most beautiful spa spaces I’ve ever visited. I fell in love with the feature light installation - it's like an enchanted chandelier of glow worms. The entire ESPA Life space is cleverly designed. There is a real sense of privacy and you don’t feel the presence of other guests, even when you know they are there. The glass-walled sauna is incredible for pre- and post-treatment relaxation, as are the sleep pods (a room actually encouraging you to nap — genius!). Even the changing facilities are huge and have dressing tables complete with everything you could possibly need.
In the Spa Lounge, all white, calm and futuristic, you can stop for nutritionally-conscious and delicious food. The spa menu is specially curated to provide ‘clean’ and balanced dishes, in line with ESPA Life’s overall philosophy of balance. Which was just as well because I was tempted by a glass of Champagne while having a spontaneous pedicure in their glamourous nail spa… if you need me, I’ll be here.