Travel

Southbank

Establishment neighborhood
Alexandra Soveral
20 Upper Ground, Southbank
After a long, dehydrating flight or an intense week at work or really any other time, come to think of it, there are few things we love more than a massage at Aqua Spa in the Sea Containers hotel (formerly the Mondrian). Skin specialist Alexandra Soveral’s Signature Treatment is manna to your visage. A deep clean is followed by an intense lymphatic-drainage massage. Hot and cold stones are dipped in fragrant oils and rolled over the face, taking care of puffiness and smoothing out fatigue lines. Soveral’s organic, nontoxic products are made from botanicals grown on her family farm in Portugal—and they smell heavenly. Pick up a jar of Angel Balm, a miracle in a jar that you can cleanse with or smear on as a hydrating mask while up in the air or overnight in bed. You can also book in with Soveral herself at her Maida Vale London clinic.
Agua Spa
20 Upper Ground, Southbank
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.
Sea Containers London
20 Upper Ground, Southbank
Originally built by American architect Warren Platner to be a hotel, this building instead became the headquarters for a sea containers company that eventually went broke. London's designer of the moment, Tom Dixon and Universal Design Studio, completely revamped the building, with plenty of nods to Platner and the building's nautical past, including a copper-clad reception area resembling a ship's hull and the aptly named Sea Containers restaurant. Plus, the subterranean spa is incredible (the Alexandra Soveral signature treatment is a game-changer), and the plush,thoughtfully turned-out rooms boast views of the Thames, something that no other London hotel can claim.
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