With the challenge of organising a relaxing girls weekend for mum-to-be Helen and I, my search focused on finding somewhere not too far from home (so my chances of being an unintentional birthing partner were reduced), that had everything we needed on the doorstep, and a touch of luxury thrown in for good measure.
With that brief in mind I was suggested the One Aldwych hotel near Covent Garden as the perfect spot for our pampering staycation, and with several glowing recommendations from friends, I had no hesitation in booking us in.
One Aldywych is a hotel I have passed many times on my way to the Delaunay or out and about during fashion week, yet surprisingly I have never been inside, so I was excited to get the full experience.After kicking off our weekend of indulgence with a pedicure at the new Cowshed in Primrose Hill, we made our way into town to get settled in to our home for the weekend. When I say home, I really mean it, as One Aldwych couldn’t have felt more welcoming or homely, and it had every creature comfort we could possibly wish for during our stay. Despite there being over 100 rooms, the hotel still retains a very boutique feel and the service we received during our weekend really was faultless and very personal.After a speedy check in, we made our way to our room, which despite being a standard was extremely spacious and featured a super comfy king size bed, which Helen had no hesitation in testing out.The room décor was minimalist, but elegant and had a timeless feel with its large windows which looked over London’s bustling theatre land.
One of the things I noticed straight away was the abundance of my favourite orchids everywhere; they filled the lobby and were even placed in every room and bathroom which was a gorgeous touch.As well as the style aspect, function had not been forgotten either. Each side of the bed had 3 plug sockets and all the light switches built in, which was so convenient for the numerous pieces of technology we had carted along with us, and something so often forgotten by hotels.The bathroom was also of a slick yet classic style and had both a power shower and luxuriously deep bath complete with TV, perfect for a relaxing pre dinner soak. The fluffy robes and PlanTation toiletries were a lovely addition, as was the thoughtful ‘travel pouch’ that arrived at turn down service; the details really were not forgotten.Having unpacked and with an hour to kill before our spa treatments, we decided to head down to the lobby bar to grab a quick snack.The menu offers a selection of little plates to accompany their vast cocktail list. Not wanting to overdo it before our spa trip, we ordered a couple of things to share, which proved the perfect amount, whilst enjoying the buzzy atmosphere of our glamorous surroundings.Fed and watered we made our way down to the spa area in preparation of our treatments. We had the whole pool area to ourselves so we got changed into swimsuits and robes and took advantage of the peace and tranquillity of the loungers before braving our way into the water.
The pool is large enough for ‘proper’ swimmers and has a giant screen at one end which was showing an underwater diving expedition with sharks. I have to admit that I found this a little bit disconcerting in the deserted depths of the atmospherically lit area, however if you aren’t a bit of a wuss with a wild imagination like myself, you will be absolutely fine!As soon as I found out that the One Aldwych spa used Nature Bisse products, there was never any doubt that I was going to book in for a facial. Their products are renowned for their results (and price) in the beauty world, and I had yet to put the hype to the test. The treatment began with my therapist analysing my skin by touch. She quickly diagnosed my problem areas and recommended the Extreme Glyco Peel to give a thorough exfoliation, ahead of deep level nourishment in the form of their oxygen mask.
As one of my concerns was congested skin, my therapist recommended extraction techniques, which involves squeezing the skin to unblock the pores. I have to admit, this is pretty painful, but the subsequent arm and hand massage helped to alleviate any reminders of the uncomfortable few minutes and within moments it was forgotten.
An hour later and the treatment had sadly come to an end; my skin feeling squeaky clean and firm. Once the redness had gone down from the extraction, it was definitely clearer than before and whilst I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this treatment for relaxation, I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is looking to get results from their facial, as the effects were clear.We were booked into the hotel’s Axis restaurant on Saturday evening and after some further lounging and making ourselves look more presentable, we headed down there for dinner.The restaurant offers a six course tasting menu, as well as an a la carte selection which proved quite tricky to order from as everything sounded delicious. I opted for the chilled tomato consommé to start, which had loads of flavour and was perfectly light – ideal for balancing out the volume of homemade bread I had already devoured.I followed this with the pork fillet and miso glazed belly, which was tender and extremely filling, whilst Helen opted for the lamb which looked equally appetising. The hardest decision of the evening came in the form of desserts, where everything on offer would more than satisfy our sweet tooths. We had narrowed it down to the banana tarte, poached rhubarb crème brule and the Valrhona chocolate tasting plate, and before we knew it the chef had sent all three of our picks to the table. All three were pretty amazing; however the variations of milk, dark and white chocolate in the Valrhona dessert were my idea of heaven!
Feeling fit to bursting point, we made the short journey up to our room and were asleep within moments.One of my favourite things about our whole staycation experience at One Aldwych was the breakfast set up and the fact that in room breakfast is offered as standard, which is oddly quite rare in hotels. After rolling back to our room after an epic dinner the night before, we didn’t have the stomach to order our breakfast for delivery, so resigned ourselves to going down to the restaurant in the morning, if we had made any room for it by then.
We woke up quite late on Sunday morning after the best night’s sleep I have had for ages and despite still being pretty stuffed, we thought we would see if there was any way we could have some fruit and coffee in our room rather than having to rush downstairs for it. This turned out to be no problem for the always helpful staff, and before we knew it we had been tempted by a plethora of things on the menu, including pastries, boiled eggs & bacon, chocolate milk and the intended fruit and coffee, which were promptly delivered to our room and devoured within minutes!Making the most of the phenomenal location (and walking off all the food), we went for a stroll around the local area. Covent Garden and the Piazza is 3 minutes walk in one direction and the Thames path along embankment is 5 minutes in the other, as well as plenty of transport links and numerous theatres all in close proximity.The finale of our weekend staycation at One Aldwych was afternoon tea. A favourite past time for both of us, indulgence in cakes and tea is pretty much a given when we meet up, however what Helen didn’t know is that a group of our close friends were also joining us. Keeping this as a surprise became like a military operation and all the hotel staff were more than helpful (and enthusiastic) about helping me sneak the girls in, with Helen oblivious to it all. The One Aldwych tea experience warrants a whole post to itself (coming soon), but I thought I would leave you with a few photos from our lovely afternoon, which proved to be the literal icing on the cake for a fabulous weekend at a fabulous hotel.For more information on One Aldwych hotel, visit their website > http://www.onealdwych.com
The Luxe Life was a guest of One Aldwych