Which spa will offer an approach to the pre/post natal bump whilst incorporating the right products to suit your skin type safe for you and the baby?
The timing could not be more suitable enough as we have one such expectant mother at the Sybarite HQ who has managed to short-list spas in London offering maternity treatments taking into account the environment, location and uniqueness that each treatment offers.
None is quite like the other and we found that these shortlisted spas provide mummy-to-be with the best maternity pampering sessions in London.
The Experience: Thai Square Spa is made even better in that they have a range of pre and post maternity treatments to choose from, and as someone that is expecting not only does one crave for a proper pampering session but choices are just as crucial. We have come to find that in London, only a few Spas’ offer a choice of maternity treatments and Thai Square Spa is one of them.
I tried out the Pre-Birth Essential Treatment at 32 weeks, perfect for the expectant mother who needs some serious reliving of fluid retention and sore muscles. The experience? Before treatment began I was led to the relaxation area where you could lie down whilst sipping on a cup of freshly brewed tea. After about ten minutes I was led to one of the beautifully adorned treatment rooms. For the entire hour, the hustle and bustle of London escaped my mind whilst lying comfortably to one side, as my therapist used special massage techniques to soothe and relieve tension. Needless to say, dozing off was without question as the massage pressure was light to the touch and exactly what is needed when carrying all that weight around one's belly.
The focus was on the back, thighs, lower legs and arms before finishing off with a light head massage. The pressure was light and circulatory leaving one to doze off into tranquility.
The verdict: Not only a great treatment for the mind but beneficial if the treatment is done more often. My therapist advised me on returning a month before delivery of the baby, as she noticed a lot of fluid retention and aimed to prevent blood clots from forming. The care by my therapist, the location being within close proximity to Charring Cross Tube Station and the Zen-like sanctuary makes Thai Square Spa a haven that we’re sure to return to for our next maternity pampering treatment.
The Experience: One of the most unique maternity treatments was at The House of ELEMIS – despite only two maternity treatments available, the Peaceful Pregnancy Face & Body Experience, was in my opinion, well worth a try and one in which I highly recommend.
The treatment began by filling in a comprehensive questionnaire via I-pad, which asked all the precautionary questions prior to a spa treatment, before being led to one of the treatment rooms. Our very hospitable therapist introduced me to what I would be expecting during the treatment and how I was to position myself on the comfortably laid out beanbag – yes, a beanbag. As someone used to having treatments done on a treatment bed, the beanbag came as a surprise. Told to lie on my side unclothed, I got onto the beanbag and instantly felt – for lack of a better word – relaxed. I was given a rolled up towel to hug whilst another wrapped up towel was propped between my legs, which made lying on the beanbag much more comfortable, especially as this is how you would normally lie (with heaps of pillows) during pregnancy. I really enjoyed how focused the massage was especially on the achy bits located on the lower back of my body. For someone that prefers more added pressure during a massage, this was perfect, as I really felt the tension lift away. Both sides of my back were tended to using ELEMIS’ Japanese Camilla oil before my legs and feet were given a massage using their Instant Refreshing Gel. Turning sides on the beanbag was unexpectedly easy compared to a treatment bed; perhaps the softness and plushness of the beanbag made it so. Wishing the treatment would last longer despite it already being two hours, I was left lying on my back with a comfortable eye bag to cover my eyelids whilst being prepped for a mini facial and scalp massage. This was the cherry on top of the treatment – feeling fresh-faced with body and mind completely at ease – just the way you’d want to leave a spa.
Verdict: I highly recommend House of ELEMIS for a truly focused maternity massage treatment – using their in-house products, the focus and concentration on parts of the body that are aching as well as the amazing benefits you wouldn’t expect from lying on a beanbag made the experience unforgettable. I can promise that you will come out of their feeling heavenly and really feeling like you deserved that treatment. At the end of your session, your therapist will pour you a glass of refreshing water and a shot of juice whilst explaining the products that were used on you during the treatment. All in all, a very maternity-focused treatment that makes mothers-to-be feel special for the methods and products used to relieve water retention, aches and pains and I admit, the beanbag.
The Experience: What’s in a setting? A comfortable, all-white and wood-washed interior decked out with a communal table, retro television sets facing what looks like oversized recliner chairs surrounded by yummy mummy’s who are obviously at the premises for some serious girl-chat and downtime. That’s Cowshed at Clarendon Cross for you – feeling almost transported to a luxurious rustic setting. The Cowshed atmosphere really does bring a warm welcome and sense of ease as you step into its Clarendon Cross Spa – the smell of coffee and freshly baked muffins coming from its kitchen as you are surrounded by a cottage-esque interior sets the tone for the treatment that is about to commence.
I was warmly greeted by my therapist who led me to one of the treatment rooms located downstairs of the spa. A dimly lit room and this time a special treatment bed especially for expectant mothers, was covered in plush towels. Beside the treatment bed, a special chair for the expectant mother to sit on before a warm foot soak and back massage. A rather good idea to have the back massage done sitting, as one can prop their arms against the plushy toweled pillows with body leaning forward against the treatment bed. I let my therapist know of areas in where I felt strain and she worked her way into the area using light pressure while I slowly and calmly whisked myself away into full relaxation mode.
The back massage was followed by a leg and thigh massage where this time I had to get myself onto the treatment bed. The bed was lowered for me so I didn’t have difficulty propping myself comfortably onto it, lying on my back this time. This position is usually uncomfortable when you are already at the 33-week mark, however as this bed was adjustable, my therapist made sure that I was in a position that suited me. Perhaps the best part of the treatment was the products used on my body (the Udderly Gorgeous Stretch Mark Balm made with sea Buckthorn Oil - found here) so much so that I ended up making a purchase. The scents and smells of the products used are all natural and befitting of the Cowshed concept.
The treatment ended with a light tummy massage (optional) before a quick facial and head massage to end this Udderly Gorgeous treatment.
Verdict: Cowshed Spa has 8 outposts in the UK, with 6 of them located in London, making this aspect convenient for mums-to-be as you have the option to choose based on which area is easiest for you to reach. I was told that each Cowshed Spa maintains its own aesthetic individuality and so each outpost is unique.
I recommend coming here if you have more time on your hands, as this is the place where one can spend a worthy afternoon not only by indulging in its treatments, but the nutritious dishes served at its kitchen. I am a big fan of the integrated café concept and would definitely return with a friend. Cowshed Spa is one of those places that bring warmth and comfort, reminding me of large sofas with the fire going, sipping on a warm beverage as I chat shamelessly with a girlfriend.
The Experience: Located on the 10th floor within the Four Seasons at Parklane, I found myself enjoying the expansive views of Mayfair before undergoing my maternity treatment.
Most spas in London (especially those of hotels) are located on the lower ground floor, but with the Four Seasons at Parklane, they’ve taken wellbeing to the top floor, providing a different perspective where one can relax and bask in one of London’s most iconic addresses, which is actually quite refreshing for a change.
Upon entering, I was given a shot of pear juice and water, accompanied by a warm towel as I filled in a simple questionnaire sheet detailing any concerns or allergies that I might have. After about a good five minutes, I was led to the spa’s changing area, which I found very delightful. The space and interior is all whitewashed, giving one a sense of calm and ease before going through to the relaxation area where one can sip on tea and munch on dried fruit preserves, although within no time your therapist may already be greeting you through the treatment room doors.
The spa doesn’t seem to waste any time at all into getting one pampered and that is why they advise trying to arrive 20 minutes prior to treatment so as to enjoy the spa amenities (hydrotherapy pool, sauna and steam room). I was led to my treatment room (they have a total of 9, all floor-to-ceiling windows) where my therapist explained what I would be expecting during my session – some light breathing techniques, a bit of stretching of the legs and a focus on the area where I felt tension (my lower back again). The treatment lasted for an hour but felt much shorter and instead of starting from the back, my therapist began from the head down so that the session ended with a focus on the area of the back all the while lying comfortably on the treatment bed with a most comfortable duvet. Like other maternity treatments, you are also given the option of whether or not you want your therapist to lightly massage your stomach, which I said yes to as I feel it provides the little one with some comfort! In terms of what products were used on me, a heavenly scented lavender and chamomile (organic) oil, which The Four Seasons has chosen especially for pregnant women.
You have the choice of having the curtains shut or open, and I of course chose for the curtains to be shut in order to fully relax. Needless to say, I did doze off!
Verdict: Recommended for pregnant women wanting to relieve water retention and aches in a much different atmosphere where one can look out into London’s skyline. I found my therapist really applied the pressure I wanted when conducting my session, but I would definitely recommend a longer session in order to focus more on the legs and back.
What I liked most and found different at Four Seasons is its interior aesthetic and how they purposely chose to locate the spa at the top floor, for a more refreshing perspective. I can see myself returning should I feel the need to relieve more water retention, aches and pains.
The Experience: Last but certainly not the least, we have the Aman Spa belonging to the much reputable Aman Resorts. It is actually the first outpost situated in London and heading to this tranquil escape, you are indeed transported into another space and environment. When booking an appointment at Aman you are advised to come at least 15 minutes earlier so as to enjoy their 60-meter swimming pool, which is a perfect treat in itself for mothers-to-be. The swimming pool is chlorine-free, ionized with a “natural ionic solution using a UV system that is both environmentally friendly and safe”. Perhaps the only aspect pregnant women need to be aware of is the overly warm temperature within the confines of the pool area – do keep hydrated with the refreshments available.
After my 15-minute swim, a most hospitable therapist led me into one of Aman’s 5 treatment rooms. I was given a light foot soak and massage as she detailed what was to be expected during the treatment. My therapist, I found was different from other therapists I have had during a treatment – she was truly passionate and meticulous throughout every aspect of the treatment – as a pregnant women, this is perhaps one of the first maternity treatments that really took me on a relaxation journey like never before.
I tried out Aman’s ‘Nurture’ treatment, which is made up of a foot soak, body exfoliation, body massage and a facial. All products used are of organic ingredients and plant-derived, however your therapist will carefully explain products to you before the treatment and will also tailor products based on your skin condition.
For the body exfoliation, you are to sit comfortably whilst leaning forward against specially propped up pillows. As you find your comfortable seating position, the exfoliation begins, to encourage circulation, remove dead skin and to literally just relax. I told my therapist the areas in which I felt strain, namely my lower back as usual and she really spent time to focus on the area. After a good exfoliation I proceeded to the treatment bed and again, treatment did not begin until I found my optimal position. The body massage commenced with me lying on my back, focusing on legs first before moving to the arms and subsequently the stomach (this is optional as some women may feel uncomfortable with this), which was an altogether soothing, and light-as-a-feather circulatory rub for baby and myself.
Finally, to end this otherworldly journey a facial and a head massage. Needless to say, this was a memorable if not perfect maternal treatment.
Verdict: I highly recommend Aman Spa at the Connaught for mums-to-be. Although they only offer a few treatments, I really do feel that each maternal treatment is unlike any other at The Connaught. Perhaps it depends on who your therapist is - to my surprise, my experience was more than what I expected simply due to the level of focus and attention that my therapist gave throughout. It is the perfect treatment in preparation of birth – you land in a sanctuary where for a few hours you’re truly taken care of by the Aman team. What makes Aman Spa different in my opinion, are the therapists, the environment and the carefully chosen soundtrack to accompany the treatment. This is the place if you want a little luxury and in dire need of refreshing that maternal mind.
Inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ashmira Botanica focus on the concept of "treating your skin from the inside out", and have created a bespoke whole-body experience to help you achieve that 'glow' the winter weather has dulled.