London is a city that’s not short on hospitality, but the buzzing metropolis isn’t renowned for its sense of relaxation. In search of an oasis of calm Spabreaks.com Editor Bonnie Friend visited K West Hotel and Spa and found that good things come to those who look in the right place.
When you head to Shepherd’s Bush and hear that your place of solitude is a mere five minutes on foot from the tube station, a deep sense of suspicion sets in as to what’s in store … but set back from the main road on an unusually quiet residential street lined with Victorian houses, stands a white and glass paradigm of modern architecture – the K West Hotel and Spa.
The first thing that strikes you inside the hotel is how incredibly light it is – with the precedent set from the outside, modern design prevails throughout in various earth tones and shades of white. Although first impressions imply an aloof, ultra-chic atmosphere, the illusion is shattered when the first member of staff that you meet greets you with a broad, infections smile that remains consistent across the team. Still, discretion is clearly one of their many assets, which will explain why it is a favourite in the world of celebrity.
A rabbit warren feeding off the central elevator shaft, the subterranean spa is once again characterised by the streamlined incorporation of wooden floors and glass divides. The facilities themselves are very much geared towards relaxation and rejuvenation rather than intense exercise, robes are provided, and in amongst the glowing warmth of the main spa area there is a hydrotherapy pool, sauna, sanarium, steam room, foot spa and little booths down the side of the room that allow you to relax in demi-privacy – and frankly place you into a rather neat little box so that your mere person adds to the strength of the design. The relaxation room provides an unusual element of seclusion with beds semi-separated by screens, and with headsets attached to each one should you wish to shut out any of the surrounding silence. There is also a rather warmer, sleep inducing Sun Meadow room which features a futon style bed and bamboo decorated walls under a very gentle UV light (which is not strong enough to cause any skin damage, we are assured). Of course, no spa is complete without its treatments, so there is a long list of reassuringly unpronounceable holistic massages, facials, rituals and finishing touches all overseen by Spa Manager Vladanka Manceva and her assistant Lyudmyla Nagirnyak … what those two ladies don’t know about treatments is not worth knowing.
The first thing you see upon entering the hotel (apart from the aforementioned smiley staff) is the K Lounge – which very much has the vibe of a daytime meeting place with light bites, teas and coffees, although one imagines that as with its decorative fireplace running the length of the wall it would also make a particularly nice place for an aperitif in the evening when DJs set the scene. For something a little more substantial on the food front however, there is also the Kanteen, overseen by chef Eduart Berisha, who, in keeping with the relaxed (but of course, contemporary design) provides an intriguing fusion menu that’s also casual enough to enjoy without pomp and circumstance.
Impressively for a venue that really is only five minutes from Shepherd’s Bush tube station the location is uncannily quiet, making it supremely accessible on London’s public transport system and thus an ideal location for a day spa if you are a city resident or business traveller looking for some time out, or a weekend break if you are visiting the city and want to take in the sites or of course the retail hub that is Westfield at the same time.
K West is a bit of an urban gem to be perfectly honest, if you are looking for somewhere to relax and wind down as opposed to those looking to diminish the days stresses by defeating them on the gym floor, as it really is unimaginably tranquil for somewhere so central and the treatments are not merely aesthetic, but rather look into the history and philosophies of their practice. It is small and boutique enough that careful attention is paid to the details, but large enough that it feels like a well-oiled hospitable machine.
– Feel free to ask therapists for their advice when it comes to treatments – the list is extensive, and they have a much better idea of what will suit your mood and concerns than you do.
– You are encouraged to take some time to relax after your treatment, so do take advantage of the Sun Meadow – you are pretty much guaranteed to doze off.
– The spa is geared towards relaxation: although there is a gym in a separate part of the hotel, the pool is not large enough to swim in, so if you are not quite so adept at simply soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the temperature changes, you are best to take a book or magazine with you.
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