Souked to the Skin: The Spa at Dolphin Square
Luxury developments offer their residents all manner of lovely things to keep them within their secure exclusive walls. But most don’t offer an instant daily visit to the blissful bits of Marrakech.
At the time of its construction in 1935, Dolphin Square’s 1,250 upmarket properties were billed as the ‘largest self-contained block of flats in Europe’ and are considered the model for modern luxury municipal living. Being five minutes from Parliament, at one time, more than 70 MPs lived and played there. Princess Anne presumably knocked on her ceiling with a stable broom handle. Today this ‘village by the Thames’ has many of the expected facilities open for residents and paying customers – but its Moroccan Spa is the one to be treasured and envied.
A perfect sanctuary away from the intense bustle just 20 feet up, the combination of Hammam purification, Rhassoul ritual and delicious North African beverages and snacks makes for a must-try experience. A very large menu of options is available – but the basic premise is always the same. Enter past the Square’s busy pool and you’re in another, altogether more souk-like world. You are then encouraged to relax in their courtyard, lose your distracting devices and enter the Hammam to steam gently at 45 degrees centigrade in salt-infused steam. Myself and my companion are given a His and Hers Cleanse and Clay treatment (the Spa forsakes a traditional Men Only option in the interests of harmonious co-existence). Taken from the steam, we’re laid out, where a lady ‘Tellak’ washes us using much warm flowing water and the traditional Kessa scrubbing glove. This is immersed in Savon Noir – a soap fashioned from olives, olive oil and eucalyptus.
Rinsed, we then apply Rhassoul lava clay from the Atlas mountains to each other’s faces and bodies, to draw out impurities. We then steam yet more. Cleaned up and pampered, there’s mint tea, cup cakes and traditional pastries. But the most important ingredient is served throughout – blissful peace. The lucky residents of Dolphin Square may have this on their doorstep. Luckily, they’ve left the door open to the rest of us. Marhaba, as they say in Pimlico.
The Spa at Dolphin Square is at Chichester St, London SW1V 3LX.
Cleanse, Clay and Tea for Two – £87 pp for 1 hr 15 minutes. Visit dolphinsquare.co.uk/spa.