England’s New Haute Spas
Good news for sybarites: three haute spas have opened in Britain. With white-gold mirrored screens and a 72,000-pearl chandelier, the spa at the Dorchester (doubles from $572) is a maximalist’s dream. Serene and Asian-inspired, Amanresorts’ first U.K. spa, in the Connaught Hotel (doubles from $714), has a spot-on list of services, a granite pool, and five candlelit treatment rooms. The aptly named Garden Spa at Barnsley House (doubles from $419) brings the outside in: aromatic herbs hang from wooden beams and handpicked lavender is incorporated into housemade scrubs.
The Dorchester, Dorchester Collection
With a prime address on Park Lane facing Hyde Park, this grande dame embodies a posh formality that’s attracted Prince Philip (who held his bachelor party here in 1949) as well as rock and Hollywood royalty who regularly take up residence. Rooms are spacious and charmingly designed; you’ll also find excellent service, afternoon tea in the opulent lobby lounge, a smart gift shop (think bespoke bathrobes), a luxurious spa, and China Tang, David Tang’s Art Deco-inspired Cantonese restaurant and classic cocktail bar. Its 175 rooms and 75 suites are light and airy, and feature floral drapes and carpets, antique furniture and inviting armchairs, and marble bathrooms (with what may be the deepest tubs in town). For a large hotel, it’s still reassuringly exclusive.
Room to Book: One of the Junior or Dorchester suites; each has access to a tech-savvy “E-Butler,” on call daily to solve any Internet or plasma-screen-TV issues.
The 17th-century Barnsley House was recently the dwelling of Rosemary Verey, the late author and landscape architect (her clients included Elton John and Prince Charles). Now it has been transformed into a nine-room boutique hotel, with a restaurant overseen by chef Graham Grafton (formerly of the Ivy in London). Verey's gardens have remained as she had maintained them - colonnades of weeping cherry trees, a Celtic-knot topiary, and scores of mixed pots. Suites resemble stable yards, if stable yards had integrated audiovisual systems, Bose speakers, skylights, and 300-thread-count sheets. The aptly named Garden Spa brings the outside in: aromatic herbs hang from wooden beams and handpicked lavender is incorporated into housemade scrubs.
Decadence abounds inside London’s new Dorchester Spa, an ivory-and-coral-colored subterranean paradise with cream chiffon curtains and a chandelier made from 72,000 South Pacific pearls. Seasoned aesthetician Vaishaly has developed a menu of facials, administered in enormous, mood-lit double treatment suites. Afterward, wrap yourselves in oversize robes and slip past the large glass doors to the relaxation room, where you’ll find fresh lychee juice, copies of the latest glossies, and plenty of Louis Roederer champagne.