Wake Up And Smell The Aroma-therapy
For those of us who have melted under the tender hands of its expert Asian practitioners in such exotic locations as Thailand, Vietnam or the Maldives, some good news. Six Senses, the unique holistic and organic spa/lifestyle experience, has arrived in London’s Canary Wharf, so a stones throw rather than a plane ride to unadulterated heaven.
Truthfully though? When the good people at Six Senses called me up to invite me I said, of course, but then they told me where. I mean, Canary Wharf? I’d struggle to find the place on a map, let alone go there and the old Millwall Docks are hardly the South Seas but whats a girl to do? Someone has to do the dirty work. Managing to push my prejudices aside (I was Captain of the Lacrosse team after all) and after Parker had finally managed to guide the Rolls through the Cretan labyrinth of one-way streets, I was overcome with the sensation of having time-travelled back to Monte Carlo – Daddy had been in a spot of bother with the taxman in the early 80s. I suppose it is the similarity to the way the buildings rise up, like on the La Condamine but obviously here, without the Mediterranean backdrop. Do people really live and work here? The Skyscrapers, what an ugly word that is, all looked rather gauche and rather empty, as if an architectural competition had been held to see who could come up with the most bland and every entrant won.
Despite the distinct lack of sophistication of the location, my conclusion is, somewhat surprisingly, that Docklands is an inspired location. The Six Senses philosophy could not be more incongruous in its new, urban home but, surely, this is the point, to get aid to where it is most needed? The poor souls imprisoned in those dreadful glass office blocks certainly looked as if they could do with some cheering up. Most of them look on the point of unemployment, that or they’ve been forcibly relocated from Watford. They could certainly do with slowing down and enjoying the range of treatments a Six Senses Life Journey has to offer. Ensconced on the third floor of the Pan Peninsula building, great lengths have been gone to transport the spa from its drab, urban surroundings. Natural materials, muted colour shades and simple design have been combined to soothe the constant stress-ridden angst that living in the noughties has incurred. With the commencement of my Indian Head Massage, I soon found myself in an induced state of Sixth Sense nirvana; an all-encompassing sense of well-being and security that remained with me, gloriously, for the rest of the day.
At the end of my experience and a testament to just how good my masseuse was, I was literally picked up and dropped seamlessly into my dressing gown which left me wondering just how they do that and where did I go in between? The Six Senses at Pan Peninsula is no ordinary spa; it’s certainly not a check-in/check-out establishment that I’m so often forced to endure. In fact, as my host grandly and gently told me, time does not exist here. Existential claptrap of course but I was more than willing to believe him and spent far too long, one tends to do that if time doesn’t exist, in the Thermal Suite, submerging in the Hydrotherapy Pool, languishing in the Aroma Steam Room and braving the Cooling Mist Shower. Arrive early so that you can experience the Thermal Suite; this is a must, being amongst the best in London and, remember, you will need to clear your calendar for the rest of the day.
For those unfortunates on a timetable, the Spa offers express treatments which can be tailored to your lunch break. All your usual beauty treatments are on offer but if you have the chance to tailor a Life Journey I’d insist on it and to hell with the boss. You will be a renewed being, I can assure you and, after all girl, you deserve it. For those of you who are interested or are converts to the Sixth Sense Experience, you may like to know that in their endeavours to share their life philosophy, Six Senses have recently launched their book, SLOW LIFE (Slow-Local-Organic-Wholesome-Learning-Inspiring-Fun-Experiences).Written by Kate O’Brien, with photographs by the acclaimed photographer, Jurg Sundermann, the book aims to give an introduction and guidance on becoming a more conscious being. Printed on 100% recycled paper and using soya ink, it tells you everything you need to know about Six Senses resorts worldwide and their community programmes. SLOW LIFE encourages us all to take better care of ourselves. Just how difficult can that be?