There has been a whirlwind of activity going on in my life lately, and I have been more than a little stressed! My family and I found out late in March that the owner of the flat we have been living in for the past 8 months has decided to sell the flat. On top of that, I turn 40 this weekend while we’re moving- Lucky me! Turning 40 may not seem a stressful situation but I never imagined that I would be moving house instead of going off somewhere to celebrate this milestone. I’ll admit it’s more than a little disappointing. With so much on my mind and heart, I thought taking a few hours to pamper myself was in order, and I ended up getting the best massage in London.
The Best Kept Secret In London
I had read about Ushvani, a Malaysian style day spa in Knightsbridge, a number of times over the past few years. They have won numerous awards and accolades and are considered the most luxurious spa in London. There’s definitely a reason for that. From the moment the door opens to welcome you in, you know that you are not going to be experiencing an ordinary day spa experience.
Ushvani is discreetly tucked away just off of Sloane Street and one could very easily walk right by the building if they were to miss the small gold plaque that bears it’s name on the wall outside.
The building itself is a gorgeous A Grade II Listed red brick and Portland stone building that was once a hospital. Like most of the buildings in London, history is everywhere- even at day spas!
The check-in area is quiet, open and surrounded by the beautiful wooden staircase, panels and corniced ceiling from the Edwardian era.
The spa consists of three floors. A yoga studio and the men’s treatment rooms are located on the upper level while ladies spa can be found on the lower ground floor. There is also a couples suite.
Stairway To Heaven
After completing a form to provide some basic information about myself to my therapist, I was given a hot cloth scented with ginger to wipe my hands and face. My shoes were taken and I was given flip-flops to wear.
I was then lead a stairwell where we descended to the hammam, changing area and treatment rooms. The historical feel of the lobby was suddenly left behind.
The hammam consists of a warm, bubbling spa tub and steam room. It’s calm, peaceful and the perfect way to relax for a while before treatment.
Make Mine Malay
Right on time my therapist, Shelly, appeared and we walked to the treatment room. I didn’t take a picture of it- it just didn’t feel right. I will say that the room was low-lit and held nothing more than a massage table and chair. There were no oils or lotions or other clutter lying around like I’ve seen at other spas. Everything is hidden behind cabinetry, resulting in a perfect space for relaxation. I chose to have the spa’s signature Malay Massage with an added scalp massage because I cannot resist a good head rub.
The Malay massage is unique because it really is more than just a back rub- it’s more like a total well-being treatment. In addition to the massage it includes reflexology, stretching, a stomach massage and lymphatic drainage.
Shelly and I spent a few minutes discussing any particular problem areas as well any areas I don’t want worked on. I have a life-long hatred of having my feet rubbed (they’re extremely ticklish), so I mentioned that. Shelly asked me to give her a chance and I reluctantly agreed.
Shelly left for a minute as I quickly disrobed and lay down on the table. Once she returned she started my treatment by having me breathe in and out three times as I breathed in the scent of Ushvani signature oil consisting of rosemary, thyme, eucalyptus and menthol. Then she proceeded to work out every knot in my back, neck, shoulders, glutes and the back of my legs using two types of oil- a hydrating coconut and hibiscus oil and the Ushvani signature oil. Using medium pressure, Shelly found knots I never knew I had!
A New Favorite!
After my back was done I turned over, Shelly adjusted the bed so my feet and head were raised- it felt as if I was being cradled. I was so comfortable and if I would have been left alone for a minute or two I would have fallen asleep! After starting on my legs again, Shelly worked down towards my feet…now I began to get nervous. I was expecting to be tickled..but I wasn’t, because it wasn’t a typical foot massage. Reflexology is amazing! I didn’t want it to end. Surprisingly, it ended up being my favorite part of the massage. My poor feet get so much abuse- living in central London, I walk nearly everywhere if the weather is dry. Shelly spent close to 10 minutes on each foot and said she could have spent much longer because they’re so bad!
After my feet, my stomach was massaged. I know this sounds a bit strange but it was oddly relaxing. The goal is to stimulate the digestive system, but it’s also good for working out any knots from doing ab work.
Shelly finished this portion of my treatment by working on my arms and hands. By this point I was in in a total state of bliss. I haven’t felt this good in ages and it has helped to put the stress of everything going on out of my mind.
Next we moved into the scalp massage, which actually started with the neck and shoulders. My face was massaged with a kefir cleansing milk before oil was applied to it and my ears were even given some attention.
After everything was finished I went to their tea room, where I had a really lovely hibiscus tea along with a tiny slice of crystalized winter melon to end my experience.
I walked into Ushvani feeling worn out physically and emotionally and left feeling amazing after having the absolute best massage of my life. I already have my appointment booked with Shelly for June!
The Female Factor: Usha Arumugam is the founder and owner of Ushvani Spa. 1 Cadogan Gardens, Knightsbridge, SW3 2RJ. www.ushvani.com. +44 (0)20 7730 2888