Photo courtesy of Granger and Co.
The London Wellness Guide
The wellness industry in London has found its feet—its soft, beautiful, callus-free feet—with a host of entrepreneurial women taking the lead. Experts like nutritional therapist Amelia Freer, meditation guru Vanessa Kandiyoti, and spiralizing queens Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley are writing books, hosting workshops, and opening businesses faster than you can say “turmeric latte and acai bowl, please.” And there are new collaborative havens dedicated to wellness, including the Bamford Haybarn Spa in Brompton Cross, Bodyism in Notting Hill, and Yogarise in South London, that are also springing up across town.
We spend a lot of time in the UK capital these days, thanks to our own well-being mecca—the now-permanent London goop store. We’ve compiled a comprehensive wellness black book for your next visit, whether you’re looking for a medical-grade facial or the chicest cryotherapy chambers in Europe or just craving a perfect smoothie and a plate of organic veggies. London, in other words, is basically Southern California with a lilt.
South Kensington Club38-42 Harrington Rd., Kensington | +44.20.3006.6868
In a city full of stuffy clubs for the elite, the SKC (as it's called) comes as a welcome relief. It's tapped into the wellness scene and created a cozy, comfortable, classy home away from home for the health-obsessed. Here members can drop in for a whirl around the world-class Russian baths, have a quality massage or facial, sup on avocado toast and green juice, and hit the gym after with some of the best trainers in town. (The sessions with Paola of Paola's Body Barre are our favorites.) In the evening, you can check in upstairs for a lecture on some remote part of the world, given by the Voyager Club—and you can also book trips through them to, say, the Arctic—and then head to the DJ booth for late-night drinks and dancing. It pretty much ticks all the boxes for the cool and well-to-do down in Chelsea, South Ken, Holland Park, and beyond.
Triyoga57 Jamestown Rd., Camden | +44.20.7483.3344
We were sad to see Triyoga's beautiful, Primrose Hill location go but are more than satisfied with its new airy, Camden replacement. Beyond the well-known yoga and Pilates classes—by far, some of the best the city has to offer—it's also worth checking out the infrared sauna sessions, craniosacral massage, intuitive readings, and nutritional, EFT, and CBT therapy (depending on what you're after). Additional services are offered at Triyoga locations in Covent Garden, Soho, and Chelsea.
Grace Belgravia11 West Halkin St., Belgravia | +44.20.7235.8900
The Grace is a boon to womankind as far as we're concerned: A private, women-only club in one of London's upper-crust neighborhoods, it's as great to hit for a business meeting as it is for a spa break, a green juice, a healthy lunch, or any number of holistic treatments with some of the city's most renowned healers. It's a one-stop shop for everything from colonics to IV infusions, and those who have the spare cash might consider the three- to five-day Intensive Cleanse, which includes a nutritional plan and everything from lymphatic drainage to Acqua Calda hammam treatments. It's a pretty great place to kick-start a health and wellness regimen.
The Joshi Clinic57 Wimpole St., Marylebone | +44.20.7487.5456
Dr. Joshi's clinic is one of our first ports of (detox) call in London. In addition to colonics, Dr. Joshi also offers a pretty in-depth list of other wellness-centric services including personal training, massage, Endermologie, and his signature twenty-one-day nutritional plan, which are all designed to help detox. The clinic also offers a spectacular Moroccan riad retreat for the weary.
KX Life151 Draycott Ave., Chelsea | +44.20.7584.5333
While the gym and restaurant are open to members only, the spa at Chelsea's KX is open to the (well-heeled) public who might visit for a wax or face sculpting. We would recommend heading there for a functional medicine consultation with Dr. Georges Mouton. If colonics are your thing, see Michelle Laud. Not looking for a membership? KXU, a pay-as-you-go (and wallet-friendlier) model, opened on Pavilion Road; it may not have all bells and whistles that KX Life does but features an infrared sauna, a cryotherapy chamber, massages, and rose-gold-hued changing rooms. The easy-to-use app makes it easy to book on the fly, too.
The Life Centre1 Britannia Row, Islington | +44.20.7704.0919
A haven for serious and amateur yogis alike—just check into the packed Islington Saturday morning Jivamukti classes for a taste—both Life Centre locations are also hubs for some of London's best alternative therapies: craniosacral therapy, lymphatic drainage, reflexology, Reiki, and more. While the therapy rooms are not what you get at a glitzy hotel spa, the therapists are incredible healers. The Islington location also opened up a yoga therapy clinic, where personalized yoga sessions look to address a suite of maladies from digestive to emotional. There's an additional location in Notting Hill.
Gazelli House174 Walton St., Knightsbridge | +44.20.7581.4355
While Gazelli is already known for its skin-care range developed by Dr. Zarifa Hamzayeva, you can expect the therapies offered at the sumptuous new HQ to go way beyond the surface. Membership to the beautiful townhouse on Walton Street comes with two signature diagnostic treatments. Whether you go for a facial or a body treatment, each session is completely bespoke and could include anything from microdermabrasion to radio frequency. After that, Gazelli also offers introductions to a variety of other practitioners, from life coaches to hypnotists, to get you glowing from the inside out.
The Bulgari Spa171 Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge | +44.20.7151.1055
While it's no surprise that one of London's swankiest hotels would have a bejeweled spa and gym to match, it's the treatments on offer that really make the Bulgari stand out. Cupping, Chinese Tui-Na, the Bowen Technique, osteopathy, and even emotional healing with a self-proclaimed "Modern Day Wizard" (price tag to match) are on offer here. In addition, the spa's Trend Room is home to the hottest pop-up wellness concepts and changes every few months.
Lomax293 Fulham Rd., Chelsea | +44.87.1512.0770
While the main draw here is the gym, where you can choose between fat-blasting cardio, cycling classes, or working out in the privacy of a custom fitness pod, what lures us here more often are the five treatment rooms. Developed specifically for gym-goers, the sports massages here are heavenly, while the acupuncture, osteopathy, and nutritional therapy services work to enrich the effects of your workout. There are healthy meals available, too, if you're making a day of it.
Akasha Spa at Café Royal68 Regent St., Soho | +44.20.7406.3360
Though the hotel is located right in the center of the city overlooking Piccadilly, its subterranean spa feels miles away from the bustling streets above. The space itself is gorgeous, and spending a couple of hours between the sleek and modern gym, pool, and hammam facilities makes for a pretty spectacular spa day. When you book in with some of the expert healers—a resident Reiki master, nutritionist, etc.—the spa also doubles as the most luxurious practitioner's office ever.
The London Wellness Centre14 Hertsmere Rd., Canary Wharf | +44.20.7531.4444
With a chiropractor, psychotherapist, gynecologist, and even a sports therapist and podiatrist all in the same place, the London Wellness Centre is focused on prevention above all else. With all these services available, it's also taking a completely integrative approach to health care. Co-owner and lead chiropractor Joanna Lowry-Corry is an incredibly thoughtful practitioner who takes the time to get to know her patients and is a font of knowledge when it comes to overall wellness. With locations in Canary Wharf and right near the Shard, it's hitting London's nerve center when it comes to stress-related issues.
ChromaYoga45 Charlotte Rd., Shoreditch | +44.20.3488.3219
This is how we imagine people will be practicing yoga when humans live in space. Inspired by the work of James Turrell, Carlos Cruz-Diez, and Veronica Ann Janssens, Nina Ryner’s studio uses color, sound, and aromatherapy to enhance asana and meditation. (It’s also kind of like doing yoga inside the set from Drake’s “Hotline Bling” video.) Select the type of class you want—restorative, energizing, detoxifying—and there’s a corresponding light and scent experience to accompany each fifty-minute session. The Chromatic class, which cycles through different colors to encourage the body’s natural circadian rhythm (it ends with a burst of energizing blue light in the morning and relaxing red in the evening), is especially cool.
YogariseBussey Building, 133 Rye Ln., Peckham | +44.20.3096.3158
Yoga is big in London (as it is everywhere), but there are few places we have enjoyed practicing more than Yogarise. Held on an upper floor of a South London warehouse, classes are large, but the experience feels incredibly intimate. This is no run-of-the-mill Ashtanga. Classes are taught to music that stretches from classical and instrumental to traditional Indian. The yin class, taught by Emma Peel, not only focuses on stretching out the hips and lower back but is a meditative experience unlike any we’ve had. Peel recites poetry, the music seems to ebb and flow with the stretches (which you hold for up to five minutes), and the room smells comfortingly—never overwhelmingly—of incense. Mats, blocks, and blankets are freely provided, and the relaxation area, filled with art house magazines, herbal teas, and works by local artists, is a space you could spend hours in.
Bodyism222-224 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill | +44.20.3327.4640
The positive affirmations emblazoned on the windows catch your eye first. Then the fluttering pieces of paper taped to the doorframe with words like “gratitude,” “love,” and “forgiveness” (pull off what you need—the equivalent of a wellness fortune cookie, without the cookie) lure you in. Through the Aussie-style café (an amazing spot for a turmeric latte or to plow through emails), down the stairs is Bodyism, a wellness-mecca-meets-private-members’-club. Unlike other private gyms, there isn’t a treadmill in sight; instead, Bodyism is focused on personal training and classes, teaching clients to be kind to themselves with a more low-impact routine than the often punishing cardio regimes found elsewhere. The ballet, yoga, Pilates, and boxing are taught—for the most part—by former athletes and everyone here remembers your name.
The Lanesborough Spa2 Lanesborough Place, Knightsbridge | +44.207.333.7064
A relatively recent renovation to the spa and gym at London’s grande dame the Lanesborough takes wellness to the next level. The gym is first-class and available to guests and members with a slew of Bodyism performance specialists on hand for one-on-one and class training,as well as full health assessments. Box, run, weight lift, dance, yoga you name it—it’s all available, plus a café that features nutritionist-led dishes and drinks for lunch after a workout. Highlights at the spa include Ila facials, crystal sound healing (pure sound vibrations made using a pestle and crystal bowl), and Tibetan energy healing. The biggest draw however is an energetic healing facial with the renowned Anastasia Achilleos (Achilleos has a residency on Thursdays, be sure to book early). The pool is one of the prettiest in London, and overall, the Lanesborough feels much more like a retreat than a fitness club.
EF Medispa29 Kensington Church St., Kensington | +44.20.3603.2504
Esther Fieldgrass has a few clinics around London in neighborhoods including Chelsea, Kensington, and St. John’s Wood. The clinics specialize in invasive and noninvasive aesthetic procedures, and the services and beautiful offices make them a favorite of ours for peels, laser procedures, and microneedling, as well as more-intense treatments.
Glow Bar70 Mortimer St., Marylebone
Glow Bar is a welcome one-stop wellness shop in one of the more chaotic parts of town. The philosophy centers around stress management in the form of sipping, sweating, and shopping. The café section is a calming pink and green corner with an adaptogen-heavy menu of moon milks, smoothies, and pitaya bowls to help soothe the nervous system. The infrared sauna is meant to assist with sleep and collagen production, while the shop is stocked with clean beauty, herbs, and other wellness essentials.
Blok2 Hearn St., Shoreditch | +44.20.3621.2151
More than a gym, Blok is a full fitness complex in Shoreditch, a few steps from Liverpool Street station. There are thirty-two different types of classes spanning yoga, Pilates, boxing, barre, and Blok’s own custom classes. The place is beautiful in a stark, modern way—the studios are all glass, brushed concrete, and textural woods with corridors illuminated by soft lights. The café is an ideal post- or pre-workout spot to fuel up with coffee, protein shakes, and plant-based bites that arrive in the prettiest sculptural wooden bowls. Blok’s store, meanwhile, is filled with natural beauty products and workout gear.
Cloud Twelve2-5 Colville Mews, Notting Hill | +44.20.3301.1012
This place is incredible for parents. The idea is that of a members' club, but for families. The kids take over the ground floor (with supervised activities, soft play, and a plant-based café to feed them), while the grown-ups have their own spa-restaurant-tearoom oasis upstairs. The top floor is the treatment sanctuary with acupuncture, colonics, a nutritionist, and cryotherapy chambers at the ready. Refreshingly, membership is completely nonexclusive. Anyone can join (for a yearly fee), and having children is not a prerequisite.
Sound Sebastien Sound Bath14-16 Betterton St., Holborn
A long-established wellness practice on the West Coast (as well as the Far East) sound baths are finally hitting the mainstream in London. The soothing sounds of chanting, tuning forks, and gongs are the antidote to London’s sensory overload, forcing the mind to quiet and focus only on the sound and your breath. For those who struggle with “traditional” meditation and mantras, sound baths are a joyous relief. Jasmine Hemsley—of the Hemsley and Hemsley cookbooks and café—founded Sebastien with her friend Toni Dicks, and the same calm that pervades all her other wellness ventures is equally present here. This winter’s residency is at Good Vibes in Holborn. Book in, rest your head on a lavender-scented pillow, settle in underneath a warm blanket and just listen.
Lanserhof at the Arts Club17-18 Dover St., Mayfair | +49.402.880.967.19
Several goop staffers are longtime fans of the Lanserhof’s clinic in Austria. So we were delighted when they opened their first UK clinic, across the street from the Arts Club in Mayfair. The custom-tailored programs at this medical spa and gym marry time-honored holistic treatments with modern medicine. Arts Club members and Lanserhof patients can avail themselves of the top-notch facilities that include Britain’s first cryotherapy chambers, treatment rooms for sports injuries, diagnostics with the clinic’s doctors, and a thoughtfully crafted menu of healthy food to tuck into post-treatment.
Bamford Haybarn Spa104 Draycott Ave., Chelsea | +44.207.259.4980
Carole Bamford’s latest London enterprise, the Bamford Haybarn Spa, is fast becoming our wellness home away from home in London. Tucked away on Draycott Avenue in Chelsea, the building looks like something straight off of Bamford’s own Gloucestershire farm, with its rustic white wood and signature green glass bottles full of nontoxic botanical oils, creams, and serums. Inside, you find a full wellness temple with a subterranean spa and first floor space offering yoga, Pilates, meditation, and fascinating workshops with holistic experts (like crystal healing and sound baths). The “sleep” treatment is our go-to after a long flight or a bout of insomnia. Each session starts with submerging your weary feet in Epsom-salted water while you pick your oil of choice and the music you want to drift off to. One hour is all you need to feel thoroughly depuffed and ready for bed. If you want dinner first, Daylesford Organic is blessedly around the corner, for vibrant, straight-off-the-farm food (straight off Bamford’s farm, that is).
Agua Spa20 Upper Ground, Southbank | +44.203.747.1000
A new discovery for us, Agua Spa is located under the hypermodern Sea Containers hotel (formerly the Mondrian) and designed by Tom Dixon. It’s the antithesis of a normal spa. There are no hard corners, only undulating surfaces that curve into corridors and communal spaces, and the color scheme is white, grey, and silver. The whole vibe is more akin to a spaceship or a futuristic cocoon than the usual wood/cotton/natural-light mix. The manicures and pedicures are both indulgent and blessedly efficient, but of all the treatments, the Soveral Signature Facial is one we come back to again and again. If you’re into lymphatic massage, aromatherapy, and nontoxic beauty, you won’t be disappointed. We also found ourselves in the womblike relaxation area sipping herbal tea and reading newspapers (thoughtfully left by each bed) long after our appointment ended.