You would think that months of leaning over computer screens, hunched up in the corner of the bed – as Netflix asks you for the eleventh time that Sunday if you’re still watching – has caused us to flock to the spa for some stress relieving treatments. If I’m honest, it hadn’t occurred to me post-lockdown that I could, in fact, go for a massage. Fortunately, my visit to Kensington MediSpa both unearthed and immediately quenched this thirst in one, fell, beautiful swoop…
Kensington MediSpa is situated at The Royal Garden Hotel, near the entrance to the park on Kensington High Street. Open for just a year pre-lockdown, their reputation preceded them… before they had to shut up shop for five months. I was elated to hear that they’d reopened and incredibly keen to try a treatment before tier 3/ the apocalypse!
The salon offers a multitude of treatments, from massage to Hydra facials, from fillers to Strawberry Lifts (face lifts without the surgery!). I’m there to try an Elemis Deeper Than Deep Hot Stone Massage, which the website describes as follows:
‘Balinese stones bathed in the Frangipani Monoi Body Oil are worked deep into the muscles, getting into areas of tension. The result is sparkling vitality with the added bonus of intensely hydrated skin.’
The Spa is in the basement of the hotel (which is currently closed a la lockdown). To the right of the entrance there is a sign above a lift, which I’m eventually directed to by a passer by. Once I get down there, the space is light, with a gorgeous flower wall behind me by a seating area. It’s a simple design, with Elemis products proudly on display, and if you ask me it’s a good sign that the energy has gone into the treatments, not the frills. I’m met at the reception by a friendly member of the team, and I meet another customer who is on a first name basis with her beautician, another very good sign.
At the start I’m asked to fill in a form about why I’m there; I tick muscle tension and stress release. I tend to opt for sports massages as I find lighter processes a bit unsatisfying, so I was very intrigued to be offered a chance to try a hot stone massage, something that claims to get deep into the muscles using heat, not pressure.
I was offered water at the reception and as I enter the spacious treatment room I see that in pre-covid times they have a pretty looking jug and glass available to you as you enter, a nice touch. The rooms is clean, warm and already smelling of the Elemis Frangipani Monoi body oil that my masseuse informs me she’ll be using on me today. Some classic spa music is playing, and it sounds to me like an amalgamation of epic Blockbuster movie soundtracks, which makes me smile.
My masseuse doesn’t ask any questions, but allows me to relax and checks for tension up and down my body. I was expecting the stones to be placed on me, but I’m told I’ll be receiving a mix of treatments today. The result is the after-feeling of a deep tissue massage but without the discomfort. The added heat of the stones, which become extra hands in the process, warms my tense muscles and gets into the particularly tough places with ease. I can feel some tough knots in my back begin to loosen as I sink into the bed. Sometimes, when I go for a massage, I feel like I can’t relax completely, but in this space I am so relaxed that I could quite easily stay a few hours more and nap underneath the layers of blanket that I’m left with as my masseuse departs.
A hot stone massage claims to relieve muscle tension and pain, reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep and boost immunity. I can’t say for sure about the immunity part, but I feel lighter as I’m walking out of the building, and breathing somehow feels a lot easier. I have very soft skin from the Elemis oil for the next 24 hours and I sleep like a baby. I can’t wait to try all the other treats that this company has available.