London’s Best Luxury Spas

London’s Best Luxury Spas

Planning an indulgent weekend away? Then why not consider resting and recuperating within one of London’s luxurious spa establishments! Whether you prefer facials or massages, herbal compresses or acupuncture, listed below are three of the most decadent and exclusive spas that the British capital has to offer;

1 – Espa Life (Embankment)

Situated within the Corinthia Hotel at Embankment, Espa Life is one of the capital’s most prestigious spas. This innovative restorative retreat is spread over four floors and consists of seventeen exquisite treatment rooms, an indoor swimming pool, an amphitheatre sauna amongst other decadent amenities. Guests are also granted access to individual sleep pods in place of conventional day-beds.

Renowned for their broad spectrum of personalised Espa Life massage and facial treatments, this luxurious spa offers a range of age-defying facials, detoxifying cleanses and deep tissue massage treatments; all of which are administered by a team of professional osteopaths, personal trainers, naturopaths, traditional acupuncturists and herbalists. Even the architecture of Espa Life has been specifically designed to reflect the calming flow of energy through the body; with all of the building’s hand-cast resin corridors styled in a waved finish to eliminate any semblance of sharp edges!

2 – The Bulgari Spa (Knightsbridge)

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From its onyx marble and smooth oak interior to its extensive selection of opulent treatments, the two storey Bulgari Spa complex in Knightsbridge has been heralded as one of London’s best spa retreats for many years. In addition to their vast array of steam rooms, saunas, ice showers, micro-needle therapy sessions, massage centres and lymphatic drainage treatments, the Bulgari Spa is also equipped with a 25 metre swimming pool as well as a professional hair and beauty salon!

Regardless of whether you are travelling from abroad, or returning from an international vacation, you can rapidly reach the serenity of the Bulgari Spa in Knightsbridge via the Heathrow Express. Travel experts 1Cover recommend that this service is the quickest and most comfortable way to venture into Central London; taking merely 15 minutes. Upon arrival, the staff at the Bulgari  Spa promise to immerse you within “an urban oasis of experiences that soothe the mind, invigorate the body and revive the senses”. What more could you ask for?

3- Ushvani (Chelsea)

Combining the best aspects of Thai, Balinese and Malaysian holistic therapies, the Ushvani spa retreat in Chelsea epitomises the best of Asian restorative treatments and offers a range of sessions which promise to rejuvenate the soul, body and mind.

All of the products used within this decadent spa retreat have been made by Ushvani‘s team of practitioners. These seasoned holistic experts have spent the past nine years perfecting their own brand of Ushvani products which incorporate a unique combination of hibiscus flowers, mangosteen, fenugreek, ginger, turmeric and kemiri nuts. Combine these home-made beauty products with Ushvani‘s luxurious range of deep back bend treatments, shoulder manipulation and hip rotation sessions, as well as their innovative acupuncture and herbal compress treatments, and you will be guaranteed to leave Ushvani feeling energised, revitalised and invigorated!

Photo:Huffington Post/Bulgari Spa

A special day in London’s China Town

 

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London’s China Town is a fascinating place to visit at any time of the year. Enter through the arch and penetrate deeper and deeper into the narrow streets, inhale the scents and look at the countless displays in shops and restaurants and you may well forget that you are actually in the middle of a major capital in the otherwise rather unexotic UK.
The annual high light which attracts thousands of visitors is the famous Chinese New Celebration and parade, but, this month, there is another festival to add: On the 19th of July, China Ton stages a family day. Stages being the key word here, because center piece will be two stages where such marvelous things as fan dancing and magic shows will be presented, in addition to a performance by the one and only Chinese Elvis!
The streets will be alive with lion dancers, fire eaters, jugglers and stilt walkers and kid can even participate in calligraphy classes.
And that’s only the entertainment. If you think, Chinese food is just about spring rolls and Peking duck..think again. London’s China town is home to over 100 restaurants which offer 17 different Chinese cuisines. Some are no more than glorified holes in the wall but the food smells emanating from all of them are just irresistible. You are well advised to come with an empty stomach for a full day of exotic fun suitable for the entire family because that’s after all the theme: China Town’s Second Family Day Festival.
For more information please consult: www.chinatownlondon.org

Putney – where I chose to live in London

SW15 – for the London insiders – has been my address for nearly 10 years in the 80s and early 90s of the past century. How that sounds – past century – but it’s true. In a few words, I would and even might some day, return without hesitation because I absolutely love the suburb.
Even if I visit London and have no business in Putney, I still choose a B&B there and commute by bus 14 or 22 or by the District Line tube to central London. The tube is much maligned because it’s not very frequent, but I just love it because it’s sooo London and very convenient coming from Heathrow. One change at Earl’s Court and it’s a straight run.
As soon as I step out of the station in Putney, I know why I like it so much, Despite the proximity of the city and a lot of modern development along the river, Putney still has a distinct village feel to it.
First order of the day is a walk across Putney Bridge. Watching the Thames flow underneath is priceless, barges, pleasure craft and rowing boats making up plenty of river traffic. The shores are wooded and at the Putney High street end, turning left, you can follow a very romantic river walk. Pub after pub along the way of course, to recharge batteries if needed. A great place to be of a Sunday morning.

Putney Bridge

Putney Bridge

And then, I go shopping. The Putney Exchange is a lovely little shopping mall, with a big enough Waitrose and smaller shops including an exquisite jeweler, at two levels. Daylight comes in from the glass roof and musicians and other artists often perform in the middle of the atrium, captivating the shoppers to the extent that they forget their shopping, sit down for a coffee in Costa and just watch and applaud. Including me.
Anything else you might need you find along Putney High Street including a second hand clothes shop specializing in designer gear and a charity second hand bookshop. I once got a silk Valentino dress for all of GBP 50. Admittedly, the High Street is a bit dirty and more than once did my shoe got stuck on something I preferred not to submit to closer inspection. But, so what? It’s London after all which is not the cleanest city in the world.
Putney Heath and Putney Green more than compensate for a spot of dirt on the High Street. Green lungs at their best, popular with joggers and mums with strollers. I know, there was a terrible murder many years back, but so were suicides off Putney Bridge and duels in Putney Heath. Famously in 1809 between Lord Castlereagh and George Canum with the latter getting shot in the thigh and, due to lack of knowledge, not being able to fire his pistol at all!!
In centuries past Putney Heath was a hangout for highway men. In 1795 Jeremish Abershaw was caught in the Green Man and subsequently hanged.
The Green Man is still in business and hopping in the evenings and on weekends.
Putney has a lot of history too and more than one famous person connected to it, from Thomas Cromwell to Pitt and Sir Richard Branson. Therefore it took me quite by surprise when some of my colleagues at the law firm I worked with when I first moved to London, looked down their noses at me and declared I had chosen to live at ‘the wrong side of the river’ as opposed to Fulham and Chelsea, I suppose.
For me, Putney is absolutely at the right side, more than confirmed by being the starting point for the yearly University Races and many other rowing events. Standing on the bridge or along the river bank and cheering them on is fun not to be had anywhere else in London.
And lastly, I like to go to Piccadilly by the 22 bus. It rides along the King’s Road, past my favorite, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Sloane Square. The best sightseeing tour you can have.
I shouldn’t have written this post; now I’m feeling nostalgic. But, nothing prevents me from visiting again.

50 Berkley Square, London’s most haunted house

Perhaps it’s because of the movies and books, but when ever I think about haunted houses ( a subject I’m quite fond of), images of desolate landscapes, moors, maybe wind beaten cliffs, spring to mind. Certainly not one of London’s poshest and most elegant areas, residential Mayfair within walking distance of New Bond street’s designer shops and smart restaurants. But, it seems, that Poltergeister also have a taste for glamour and luxury and sometimes prefer to wreck havoc in elegant town houses rather than medieval castles or isolated country mansions.
Much to my surprise, none of my London friends knew about the city’s most haunted house, 50 Berkeley Square, so I was quite pleased to be able to tell them the story.

50 Berkley Square

50 Berkley Square

I have to admit, I went in broad daylight and made my way along Bond Street, then turning left into Burton Street which takes you right to Berkeley Square. There was another purpose to that route because I wanted to revisit one of London’s most peculiar pubs, a quaint triangular building, much like a mini flatiron of New York and Toronto fame, incongruously wedged between the much newer and quite unremarkable building at either side, or rather, remarkable for the shops they house.

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When Burton Street meets Berkeley Square you come out right opposite number 50 with the beautiful, green little park in between. If you don’t know what you are looking for, you would never guess. There is no plaque or sign, no strange light emanating from the windows, no ghosts whistling or chains clanging.

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The premises are today occupied by renowned antiquarian booksellers Maggs Bros. The plain Georgian façade belies the grandeur of the interior with sweeping staircases, marble fire places and chandeliers as well as thousands of books which can clearly be seen through the windows.

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Famously haunted is a room at the top floor. The chamber is supposedly charged with supernatural forces which are so horrible in appearance that they have caused people to go insane or die of shock. Stories of screams in the night, flickering lights and strange noises were an every day occurrence during Victorian times and the rumors were such that the building remained unoccupied during long periods of time.
There are at least two stories which try to explain the ghosts haunting 50 Berkeley Street: one refers to a Mr. du Pre who had a lunatic brother who was so violent, that he had to be locked away in the top floor and could only be fed through a hole in the door. When he died, his soul refused to find peace and haunted the building ever since.
Another story refers to a Mr. Myers who had leased the house as the marital home for himself and his bride to b,. On the day of the wedding, the lady jilted him and he became a recluse, locking himself away in the top floor and roaming the rest of the house at night by candle light. Then there are stories of a little Scottish girl who was tortured and died in the house and of two sailors, who spend the night in the then abandoned house, not knowing that it was haunted. One of them was found the next day, terrified and disorientated and his companion had jumped out the window to his death rather than confronting the terror which occurred during the night.
It seems that the ghosts and spirits are active to this day. In 2001 an employee of Maggs Bors, reported that she sat in the haunted room and suddenly saw a brown mist moving across the floor and a customer had his glasses snatched off his nose by no one as he was climbing the staircase.
I didn’t go in and I didn’t touch the building either to see if it is true that a strange energy has seeped into the very structure. Whatever it is, it didn’t extend to the pavement in front but you are free to let your imagination run riot and I think that Maggs Bros and everybody working there, are very brave souls indeed.

Discover the Cultural Side of London

I’m  pleased  to publish this nice guest post by Tony Buchanan:

Discover  The Cultural Side of London

As many would say it, life is not all beer and skittles. However, it is never bad to enjoy the little things the world has to offer. These ‘little things’ include the majestic city of London. Discovering its beauty firsthand should be everybody’s dream. However, how can you make the most out of your trip? This article will help you see, hear, taste, and enjoy what London has to offer.

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Take Pleasure Walks

Instead of using a cabbie, you should walk during your stay in this city. Besides, the whole city plan for London promotes walking. All the hidden courtyards, tucked away passageways and narrow alleyways are designed for walking. Most of London’s famous people have done the same thing. Just imagine stepping inside buildings where Shakespeare used to visit, or strolling along the foggy streets that sets a new Sherlock story. You can only enjoy these little things if you travel by foot. However, if you want to enjoy your walks, you should have a professional guide with you. Talk to one beforehand.


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Stay in a London Hotel

Stay away from populous and famous hotel places. If you want to see London in its barest form, you should rent a flat or a room in a hotel. Visiting Venere, you can find the best hotels in London. This site lists all the types of accommodations that would suit both your taste and your budget. As such, you have complete freedom as to where you shall stay in London.

If you have the budget, you can go on and stay in a fancy London room. However, there are accommodations that are as cheap as chips. Local flats can help you experience true English living without spending much. Rent a flat that is nearest to all the iconic places. You would have a better chance of doing so if you rent a place in the City of London. Hostels in the boroughs of Greater London can also work, but most of festivities happen in the core: the City of London.

Take the London Tube

Apart from walking, riding the London Tube can also be a great experience. This should expose you to underground London. If you must, you should try the Tube in the rush hour  to experience what Londoners do when they commute. As usual, you should take precautions. Discovering the culture of the Underground should not result into a missing wallet.

Oyster cards are the primary ticket in the London Tube, or in virtually any public transportation. Before enjoying the train ride, secure yourself an Oyster.


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Savour Every Minute of It

Your trip shall be complete rubbish if you stress yourself during your stay in London. Obviously, you cannot just pick a random London must-see during the actual stay. The Westminster Abbey, The Buckingham Palace, The British Museum, The London Eye, The Tower of London: the list of possible destinations goes on and on. To lessen the burden, plan ahead. By doing so, you can simply enjoy the colourful and vibrant city of London.