The last time I was truly excited by The Ritz was when Julia Roberts took up residence in one of its sumptuous suites and Hugh Grant sheepishly dropped by under the guise of quizzing her on behalf of Horse & Hound. Given that my office is but a stone’s throw away, however, and that I am in dire need of some end-of-week pampering, I’m eager to explore its new salon offerings. I note the use of the word salon, rather than spa – while there are hair, nail, beauty and relaxation treatments, there is no sauna, steam room or pool.
I take the lift to the seventh floor. The grandiose decor at the entrance has left me slightly giddy, but the refurbished salon is rather less overtly magnificent – pink and bijou. The house brand is Comfort Zone, which has collaborated by devising a handful of facials, a few men’s treatments, plus bodywork including deep-tissue massage and reflexology. I decide on the new 90-minute jade-stone massage.
The treatment is performed with a combination of medium-pressure hand movements and jade balls. The jade is used to balance body, mind and soul, and although I am more familiar with it as a cooling element, here the smooth balls are heated and they feel soothing as they run over my skin.
The oil used is Tranquillity, one of my favourite Comfort Zone scents. The mix of vitamin E, amaranth, vanilla, grape and rose oil is utterly indulgent. (The oil can be used for both body and bath, so a bottle of it makes a perfect present – if you can bear to part with it.) My therapist explains that the vitamin E is a “superfood” for the skin, the grape is a strong antioxidant and amaranth is incredibly nourishing.
She works up and down my body on both sides, skilfully moving between hand and ball techniques – it is wonderfully relaxing. For once I ease into the idea that it doesn’t need to hurt throughout to be effective. There are flashes of pain as she kneads into my knots, but not many, and overall I zone out and unwind. Bliss.
My treatment at the Ritz was fabulously de-stressing and left my skin smelling amazing and feeling silky smooth. However, the high standard of London’s hotel spas means the salon jostles for attention in a competitive marketplace, and if you aren’t staying here, I’m not sure I’d flag it up as a destination spa.
That said, the Comfort Zone product line is worth singing about and I’d love to try the Chrono Reverser Collagen facial.
Spa Junkie is the founder of FaceGym. She pays for all her own travel, accommodation and therapies.