Showered Not Stirred
Why would a real man want to spa? Asks Caroline Phillips…and finds the answer in a spa fit for OO7.
Why would a bloke want to go to a spa? Is it the lure of disposable paper underpants? The idea of spending a day in the adult equivalent of nappies (i.e. a fluffy robe)? A chance to brush your beard when there’s a hen party near your elbow? Perhaps the possibility of bumping into the finalists of the X Factor over a glass of cucumber water? Whatever it is, ESPA life at Corinthia lures more male visitors than female. Perhaps it’s the fact that it is, quite simply, one of London’s top spas and also that a lot of businessmen stay at the hotel.
The Corinthia London opened in 2011 and the first time I went there it was spanking new and for a charity ‘do’. There was a bank of photographers waiting for Mick Jagger and George Clooney. In the event, only Colin Firth showed. But it didn’t matter because who can complain about anything when Colin Firth is there and they’re in the Corinthia – a five-star hotel just nanoseconds from the Embankment, the Wolseley and the National Portrait Gallery?
The second time I go, is to the spa. No Colin Firth. But something just as good. A spa which goes further underground than a gold mine, but still manages to be pure Skyfall: James Bond terrain par excellence. (The building is, in fact, near Whitehall and Westminster and was actually requisitioned by the government in both world wars – in the Second World War, one room housed military intelligence, MI 19.)
Now instead of a meeting with the legendary secret agent 007, I have an assignation with Pussy Galore to give me a Bamboo Joint-Release Experience. This involves my lying in an egg (a treatment pod) on a James Bond couch so sophisticated that it may have an ejector button. Energy travels in circles – it’s a known fact, Pussy tells me. Hence the circular treatment pods. She rocks my body to free the mind and loosen the joints. Then she massages me with heated bamboo sticks rolled over a towel. The bamboos iron out the tension in my body. Bamboo, she assures me, represents good luck.
Outside my pod, there’s mile upon opulent mile of spa: with walls that look like pearls, screens like blocks of ice planks, towering black marble and flickering suspended fireplaces. Four floors where someone must be plotting to infiltrate a nuclear power station. I head further down into the depths of the earth to check out the pools and thermal suites. Here’s the stainless steel swimming pool and the world’s first glass sauna. (It really is from Russia with love – a sauna big enough to fit a clutch of oligarchs.) There are also sinuous, heated marble recliners – St Barts without the jet lag. And a giant marble ice station; black mosaic steam room; and targeted water jet Jacuzzi.
Why would a guy want to go to a spa? I don’t know. I’m a woman.
Maybe it’s the idea of a Rasul Healing Mud Ritual, whatever that is. (It’s listed under ‘Spa Treatments for Him’ in the spa menu). Maybe it’s ESPA’s crack squad of male practitioners. There’s a naturopath who sorts out your insides; personal trainers to the athletic elite who transform your physique in the state-of-the-art gym; acupuncturist James Mutkin who does the business with Chinese medicine; and osteopath Bhart Shemar. And maybe Dr. No.
Whatever. When I get outside, I pop very happily into my Aston Martin DBS. After all, you only live twice.
Caroline Phillips www.carolinephillips.net is an award-winning journalist and PR who writes for the better nationals and glossier glossies and specialises in luxury brands.
Look and feel your best for the beach with Summer Sparkle at ESPA Life at Corinthia. Devised and tailored to maximise your beauty this summer, the sculpting & toning package can be taken as a one-day intensive experience or over a six-week period making it the perfect treatment choice for last-minute trips or pre-planned holidays. The 6-week package is priced at £1,685, and the one-day intensive experience is £970.