A hybrid spa experience that goes far beyond the usual shoulder press and back rub, editor Sophie Ritchie ‘scrubs up’ for an afternoon of trying the rejuvenating new Shodhana Massage at Taj Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences
Segmented into different buildings, the courtyard itself of the prestigious Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences in Victoria is a feast for the senses. On a sunny day, it feels much like a watering hole (except instead of animals, gaggles of chic guests surround the flowing water with frothy cups of coffee and wine glasses). A pretty butterfly installation currently hangs from the sky, twirling gently in the sky to add the enchanting ambience.
The J Wellness Circle building sits almost directly underneath the hanging artwork, in an almost symbolic message of transformation. The hotel’s on-site wellness spa, J Wellness Circle welcomes both residents and external spa worshippers to its sultry cave-like ambience, reached via staircase.
Offering a unique fusion of Indian wellness philosophy and luxury British innovation, the spa features a unique concept born out of a collaboration between Taj’s award winning J Wellness Circle and the British lifestyle brand Temple Spa. The result? A windowless affair of calm, serenity and lavishly pampering amenities.
Far from feeling foreboding with the lack of natural light however, I feel welcomed with open arms as soon as I sit down in reception and find myself settled in with a hot pot of detox tea. My spa therapist gives me a short tour of the impressive facilities before inviting me to change out of my civvies and into an unusual golden spa robe. The changing room is equally luxe, offering oodles of space, complimentary toiletries and Dyson hair dryers to enjoy post-treatment.
Plus, with the spa’s dreamy on-site pool, steam room and sauna available for use (arrive 30 minutes prior to your treatment to savour the facilities) J Wellness Circle feels like a 360 degree world of hidden sanctuary. There’s also a petite fitness centre for those that getting sweat on outside the sauna too.
One of a handful of newly-launched Holistic Healing Therapies, the Shodhana Massage utilises a combination of exfoliation and massage for a rejuvenating detox. “Expect a featherlight touch,” my therapist tells me after I hand her back the patient form.
We start with a gentle foot bath and a delicate foot scrub, before she asks me to lie face down on the massage table in the dimly-lit room. My legs, constantly worn out from running, walking and general lack of stretching, would probably welcome even a JCB rolling over them at this point – but I’m immediately impressed by how nimble yet revitalising her hands feel as she works her way across my muscles, moving up and down my body in a repetitive motion.
Curated to leave a wellness lover in an optimum state of well-being, the exfoliation part of the treatment is performed using supple silk gloves to stimulate the circulation of blood, lymph, and energy. The detox blend incorporates Lime, Ginger, and wild Turmeric with expert lymphatic drainage techniques to help revive even the most sluggish of bodies.
Far different to the usual deep tissue massage, this treatment is designed to detox the body through the clever exfoliation to eliminate toxins from the body. I’m fairly sure they could be pouring out of me at this point, after several months of a processed diet, lack of routine and work stress – but anything designed to balance the nervous system will always get my vote.
Whilst highly calming and relaxing, it’s worth noting that this treatment involves the therapist pressing lightly on the stomach area to help aid digestion and detoxification. If you’re squeamish in this area or simply feel self-conscious of all things le tum tum, ask in advance if you’d prefer this area to be avoided.
Post-treatment, I’m glided out of the treatment room towards a lounger back in the main wellness area – where a large platter of fresh fruit and more tea awaits me. I could easily linger here for hours and play princess, but alas, the to-do list beckons me like a hissing unfed snake from within the changing room’s lockers (but not before a Dyson blow dry, of course).
The Wordrobe Verdict
This unique treatment is ideal for a hybrid spa experience that goes beyond the usual shoulder press and back rub. Both effective and rejuvenating, I would highly recommend booking the new Shodhana treatment for a mini reset. Regardless of how busy or chaotic your week has been, you’re bound to exit this secluded spa feeling both pampered and purified.
Make it happen
Where: Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences, 51 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6AF
Wallet: 120 minutes, £300.00.
How: Find out more and make a booking via taj51buckinghamgate.co.uk
Words by Sophie Ritchie, editor