Spa Junkie at… K West Hotel and Spa

Our reporter visits a high-tech “Sun Meadow” for some light therapy to beat the winter blues

A residential Shepherd’s Bush street where million-pound properties abut council blocks seems an unlikely setting for a pampering spa. But K West Hotel and Spa’s sparkling glass and chrome façade feels fashionably edgy.

Inside, the stylish clientele mainly consists of sharply dressed, bearded men – possibly more interested in their iMacs than their glamorous partners – hanging out on large velvet sofas in front of bookshelves lined with rock-star autobiographies and walls with Warhol-inspired artwork.

The spa has six treatment rooms plus gym, hydrotherapy pool and relaxation zone, with dark leather walls, black stone floors, and headphones piping chill-out tracks. The list of treatments is wonderfully varied, with some unusual massages including the Venik, based on the Baniya tradition of flicking the body with oil-soaked Russian birch branches to ease muscle tension and remove toxins, and the Mohom Indigo Art of Healing (from the ancient art of Hmong Shamans), which uses herbal poultices for a massage using elbows.

I’m not feeling like being pummelled, so I opt for a session in the Sun Meadow, which I’m told will help me fight the winter blues and reinvigorate my lacklustre skin – just what I need. (There’s also a Snow Paradise, which gives a shocking blast of cold to boost circulation and the immune system.)

The Sun Meadow treatment involves basking in low intensity UV light that’s gentle enough for the skin to be exposed safely for short bursts every other day, yet strong enough to stimulate the skin’s melanin, helping improve conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. The light also encourages the production of vitamin D and releases the “happiness hormone” serotonin.

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I am led into a large treatment room with charming green and white plant illustrations on the walls. There’s a sizeable futon on the floor with white towels and pillows for me to relax on. I am given some eye protectors, which I put on, then lie down and press a button on the wall beside me to begin proceedings. A panel of lights in the ceiling turns on and floods the room with a bluey hue. I sink into the soft mattress and allow the warmth of the lights to caress my skin. It feels as gentle and comforting as spring sun. As the sound of birdsong and a running stream fills the room, I can understand why it’s called the Sun Meadow experience.

Feeling restored and relaxed after 30 minutes in the Sun Meadow, I retreat to the wet spa. I do a 30-minute sauna and steam session and end by floating in the large hydrotherapy pool. I lie back and stare at the twinkling ceiling lights, which change colour every few seconds, and zone out. I’m much happier here that I would have been sipping champagne as part of a Christmas shopping pit stop. That said, on my way out I notice that the K Spa shop stocks some of my favourite luxury brands… there’s just time for a spot of shopping after all.

The Bottom Line

K Spa’s Sun Meadow experience restored my sense of Zen, and really helped dispel the frantic Christmas shopping stress. Although simply lying down in a room on my own was enough relaxation in itself, the warmth of the light really did seem to pep my spirits. Next time I’d like to combine the light therapy with a K Spa signature Thai massage while in the Sun Meadow – that’ll really bliss me out.

Spa Junkie is the founder of FaceGym. She pays for all her own travel, accommodation and therapies.

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