Seeing one client at a time, Belgravia’s House of Kalmar is probably London’s most exclusive treatment space. And, as Neil Davey finds out, it’s a truly unique experience.
In this line of work – or, as my air quotation-wielding friends refer to it, “work” – I’m no stranger to a spa. Destination trips frequently take you to luxury hotels with spas. Hotel visits often incorporate a treatment or two – a literal softening up of the visiting journalist. And no, it’s not the worst way to make a living and yes, actually, my friends probably do have a point.
Anyway, while my opinion on other areas of the beauty and wellness arena are not worth your or my time, I can, and do, appreciate a good massage when I have one. And, frankly, the massage at The House of Kalmar is one of the more interesting, stimulating and relaxing treatments of my life.
I won’t reveal too much of the process, the intent behind the treatment, because the slow revelation, the discussion of what you hope to achieve and how, is part of the pleasure of this particular experience. Essentially, though, you’re looking at reaching your choice of state – calm, joy, love or peace – and you’ll achieve that through a mix of massage style and House of Kalmar’s range of scented oils, a treatment that involves multiple senses. For me, given the state of the country, the last two years? I’m trying to regain my calm.
After a fascinating discussion with my… massuesue? therapist? and an exercise that forces you to make quick decisions / trust your instincts (and thus get to the heart of what state you should be looking to achieve), things get underway. And, for my choice of target state, what follows is an interesting mix of guided meditation, general conversation, deep tissue massage, stretching, stress-removing pressure… I lose all track of time, occasionally almost all sense of who I am, and find myself talking all sorts of nonsense: for me, the process felt like a mix of therapy and massage therapy but, if that’s off-putting, it’s not a given. I just like a chat and the process relaxes me to a level I wasn’t quite expecting.
Do I feel calmer at the end? I do, actually. Cynics can argue that 90-odd minutes of being away from your phone / screen of choice will have a similar effect and maybe so, but how often do you do that? Ridiculously, it’s frequently so much easier to give yourself that time off when money has changed hands and you’re committing yourself to someone else’s expertise. And, trust me, with House of Kalmar you’re in – and under – very good hands.
The House of Kalmar can be found at 27 Eaton Mews South, London SW1W 9HR. For details and bookings, take a look at their website here.