You can’t get much more in the heart of the action than this. The London Marriott County Hall Hotel sits in one of London’s finest landmark buildings, under the watchful gaze of the London Eye and Big Ben on the banks of the Thames with the lively South Bank on its doorstep. It is, however, an oasis of calm.

London Marriott County Hall Hotel

London Marriott County Hall Hotel

As you enter under the old archway, you’re hit by the building’s stature and traditional elegance. Enter the lobby – all dark wood, purple hydrangeas and floating lilies – and you leave the bustle behind and take in the imposing Spa Of The Month London Marriott County Hall Hotel scale of the hotel. But as grand as it is, it’s certainly not stuffy or impersonal.

In order to fully appreciate the spa’s detoxing benefits, I first indulge in a delicious meal with wine in Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar. The atmosphere is relaxed, with lots of couples and tourists enjoying the impressive sunset over the Thames and views of Westminster through the large windows. Service is efficient but not too in-your-face, and the bar is the perfect retreat post-dinner, with its art-deco-style furniture and extensive drinks menu. Retiring to my room, my eye’s drawn again to magical views of the London Eye and Big Ben, now lit up and twinkling after dark.

The Spa

Next morning, it’s time for another type of indulgence. The Spa at County Hall is a perfect mixture of elegance and sophistication. Plum, taupe and dark woody tones soothe you in the relaxation room as you await your treatment. The facilities are excellent and the staff welcoming and proficient.

The hotel is pecfectly placed for amazing sunset views over the River Thames

The hotel is pecfectly placed for amazing sunset views over the River Thames

If you want to earn your spa time, you could first check out the fabulous pool and gym facilities in The Club – the largest hotel gym in central London. Personal trainers are on hand and guests can enjoy complimentary use of the Club’s facilities.

The Treatments

Everything you can think of, from waxing to massage, nail treatments and facials, plus a host of body treatments, including detoxing scrubs and wraps, are on offer here. Using Murad and Decléor products, the ethos of the spa is one of natural, but effective, beauty care. For a pre-Christmas boost, try Decléor’s Relaxing Massage ($124 for 55 minutes). You’ll enjoy a gentle exfoliation, followed by a warming massage, to leave you de-stressed and with beautifully radiant skin.

You couldn’t be staying closet to some of London’s most famous sites

You couldn’t be staying closet to some of London’s most famous sites

The Consultation

You have to fill in a questionnaire about your medical history and general health, before having a one-to-one consultation to help choose your treatment. For example, if you’re having a facial, the beauty therapist will consider your skin type and skincare. All the natural therapies start with an in-depth health consultation.

Due to the fact that my complexion’s slightly irritated and inflamed, mainly from environmental factors and a bad week’s sleep, I opt for the Dr Murad Facial (from £85 for 60 minutes). This is an hour of absolute heaven. Beginning with a deep double cleanse, my therapist Daniel then applies a layer of Murad Sensitive Skin Soothing Serum to restore lost hydration and elasticity while reducing the inflammation and redness. Licorice and peppermint extract work to calm irritated skin and the tingly sensation is a bonus! My skin feels extremely deep cleaned afterwards. While the serum gets to work, I’m also treated to a wonderful arm, shoulder and neck massage to work out some office-desk-induced knots. I feel rejuvenated after the treatment and my skin looks plumper, with the majority of the redness removed. Afterwards, I’m happy to face London make-up free for the first time in ages!

Who Should Go

This is a treat for women looking for a city break in the heart of it all. The opulent grandeur combined with the sophisticated and relaxed atmosphere make it a perfect base for a group of girlfriends to relax, unwind and have fun after a day around town. Couples will also enjoy the hotel’s old-world romanticism and, with the unbeatable location, it’s ideal for a short city break.

This is a treat for women looking for a city break in the heart of it all

This is a treat for women looking for a city break in the heart of it all

The Package

We reckon the ‘Shop in the City’ package would be a lovely treat for you and your friends or mum. How about a spot of Christmas shopping or a dash to the sales, then a session in the spa to unwind? Between Saturday December 1 and Friday December 28, 2012, you’ll pay $557.9 per room, per night and enjoy tea and crumpets on arrival (if you get there in the afternoon!), accommodation in a River View room, in-room breakfast the following day, complimentary use of the relaxation areas in the Spa at County Hall, plus $80 of John Lewis vouchers to kick off your shopping spree.

Must-have product

Luxury Body Oil

This glittering body oil from Acorelle gives a subtle, shimmering gold radiance while thoroughly nourishing your skin with certified organic jojoba and ylang ylang plant oils. The dry oil formula means it soaks in quickly and won’t leave oily marks on your clothes. Perfect for the festive party season! $24 for 50ml; mypure.co.uk and Wholefoods.

Fresh-Faced Facial

We tried the Antipodes Luxury Facial at appuru Beauty Boutique & Urban Spa, London.

My 30-minute facial begins with a deep cleanse to rid my skin of make-up and London grime. My therapist uses the Antipodes Hallelujah Lime & Patchouli Cleanser. The gorgeous lavender and rose scent instantly relaxes me, and I have to fight the urge to drift off to sleep. Next, my skin’s treated to the Aura Manuka Honey Mask, designed to combat blemishes and leave skin glowing. As the mask works its magic, my hands and scalp are massaged using the Organic Heavenly Body Oil. The pièce résistance is the Hosanna H2O Intensive Skin Plumping Serum which, in trials, was found increase collagen production by 72 per cent. I walk away with skin that’s squeaky clean and super toned. antipodesnature.com.


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