Beauty Without Fuss

Monday 12 July 2010

Review - The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary Spa, in Covent Garden, was one of my very favourite places, and had been ever since my first visit about five years ago. I loved that it's woman-friendly without being all fluffy and pink, but most of all I loved it because it's a spectacular oasis of peace and calm right here in central London.

I used to go two or three times a year, but on my last visit there was a bit of a customer service issue (which was never really resolved by the spa either at the time, or in response to emails after my visit), so I hadn't been for a while, but when I was invited to an event recently to celebrate their re-launch of their skincare range, and to announce the opening  of three new branches (in Cambridge, in Richmond and in Bristol), I thought I'd pop along to see how things were.

During the event, I was struck by the obvious passion for the place from the staff, and was impressed by the entire operation's devotion to making the spa a real sanctuary for their visitors, and I have to admit that I was very impressed by this.  I was also happy to hear that they've changed a lot of their skincare - I have to be honest, I was never much of a fan of it, and always found Sanctuary facials to be a little disappointing in the past - and I'm delighted that they're expanding their offerings into things like eyebrow shaping, and a more medi-spa offering in all their sites.

 In fact, I was so impressed with everything they're planning to do that I went back - at my own expense! - last Friday for a day of R'n'R.  As I'm still recovering from surgery, a lot of the facilities were inadvisable (the pools, the steam rooms, massages, etc), but the setting itself is so wonderfully relaxing that I still managed to have a great day.  I started with a light breakfast in the koi carp lounge, then went to the third floor - the Sanctuary has 42 treatment rooms, an amazing number I still find hard to believe - for an express manicure and a perfectly polished pedicure. The manicure didn't quite last 24 hours, though the colour (Merlot from Jessica) is beautiful, I always go for a deep, dark nail colour when someone else is doing it, it's so satisfying seeing how neat a manicure can be! The pedicure, however, was amazing.  My therapist, Hollie, was very sympathetic to my ... er... unusual foot situation, but the callus gel they use is AMAZING, and frankly, my feet have never been so soft.  I bought a supply of this amazing elixir so I can replicate the results at home from now on!
I then had a lingering lunch in the restaurant - the food at The Sanctuary is much better than you might expect from a spa, you can eat healthily if you wish, or not if you don't!  Generally, I choose not to, and had an excellent steak and chips for lunch, followed by an iced coffee in place of desert.  Then to round off my day, I had a little post-lunch nap on one of the beds in the koi carp lounge.  I didn't miss not being able to use the pools or the steam rooms, or anything of that nature and I had a wonderfully indulgent and relaxing day, I'm glad I decided to go back.

As for the revamped, repackaged and relaunched skincare, well, for me, the jury is still out. I have some bits and pieces to try - I have high hopes for the facial oil - and I'll bring you my thoughts as and when I get around to trying everything properly.  But, one thing they've launched that I think is a great idea is the "Facial in a Box" kit, which has everything you need to give yourself a salon-quality facial at home.  In two varieties, Brightening and Youth Boosting, the kits cost £16 each, and are a great way to acquaint yourself with The Sanctuary products.

Now, this post has been pretty London-centric, and I'm aware that many of my readers won't get the chance to travel to London to try out their facilities (though if you do get the chance, leap at it, you won't regret it!), so I bought one of the Facials in a Box to give away to one of you guys.  Just leave a comment on this blog post saying what would be your ideal spa treatment, and I'll draw a winner entirely at random at the end of the week.  The prize is a Brightening Facial in a Box, and I will ship internationally.  You don't need to be a follower to enter this competition, but you do need to leave a valid email address in your entry comment.  Good luck!


  1. Ah, that sounds like a fab way to recover from your surgery. And so sweet of you to think of your readers when you should have just had your feet up!

    My ideal spa treatment would be something that I used to get in the Lowry in Manchester. They had some fierce employees who could turn an ordinary back massage into a cacophony of popping noises as they killed all the knots in my back and shoulders.

    Last time I went there I was disappointed in the Lowry spa, they had really lost their customer service too. I think they lose sight of the fact that people want the treatments to be good, and the process not to make you more stressed than you were when you arrived.

  2. Oooh! Fantastic post :)

    My ideal treatment would be a tie between a full body massage (for as long as I can get!) or an intensive pedicure.

    My poor footsies are in a terrible state, so I might look into the callus gel as well!

  3. Hmm. I would love a nice, slow massage on my back and shoulders whilst one person gives me a pedicure and another gives me a manicure. x

    I think you should be able to see my email address but if you can't I'm tousledkitten on twitter.

  4. My ideal spa treatment probably should be a pedicure. My feet are in a bad way, mostly because I hate feet and never pay any attention to them. I don't like people touching them either. But I managed to survive a trip to the podiatrist a few weeks ago, so maybe one day...

    Until I get over my foot phobia it would probably be a massage. I've never had one and they look amazingly relaxing!

  5. I would so love a massage....but part of me daren't be cause I know I'd be addicted!

    Glad you had a reffreshing day there, it looks awsome.

    sparklzandshine at yahoo dot co dot uk

  6. Sounds amazing!

    I think I would have to say a facial, i've never had one in the uk, only in thailand! Once i'm not a student, i'll be able to treat myself!

    Anna x


  7. I use some of their products, but hve never been to the spa.

    My idel spa treatment would banish the 'goose pimple' skin on my arms and legs, moisturise the dry patches, take the oil out of the oiling patches, take out all my knotted muscles, and include a full body massgae. Oh and if they can firm the wrinkles etc at the same time!!

    I dont ask for much!

    Thank :)
    computergirl2007 (at) yahoo (dot) co (dot) uk

  8. pleased you had a good day and I'm so pleased your feeling better x My ideal spa treat ment is a massage I suffer from so many pains in my muscles and joints a good massage would be the way to go

  9. Hi, #myrooskincare here. So glad you've had time to treat yourself after the op. I too had very bad customer service on my last visit to The Sanctuary, shame. My favourite up-north-spa is Seaham Hall, you must try if you get chance. My favourite treatment would be their full body massage. Perfection!

    Rachael at myroo dot co dot uk

  10. My ideal spa treatment would be a facial. I am in need of one badly ;)

    thanks for the giveaway! what an awesome treat!

  11. ive never had any beauty/spa treatment ever in my life, i love the look of the hot stones, 1 day i will i hope

  12. I've always wanted a proper massage and having looked on their website the 'Trim and Tone' wrap also sounds brilliant! I'm based in the north too. Sanctuary, open a spa up here!

  13. There's a SWING??? In the the POOL??? I must go there.

  14. I love a back massage, it's amazing hiw energetic you feel when you are all unknotted!

  15. oops I forgot to add I am @iridessa76 on twitter xxx

  16. Right now my ideal Spa treatment would be a head and neck massage! I can't get over the 42 treatment rooms, that is amazing. Is the callous gel spa only or is that part of the line they sell in Boots?

    ModestyBrown at googlemail dot com

  17. Hello. :3
    I like to pamper myself so my favorite spa treatment would be a body scrub and a full body massage. A combination of swedish and thai massage is super! It really makes my skin glow afterwards.

    I'm a follower. My email is

  18. I have never been lucky enough to visit a spa and have any type of treatment, but I would love some sort of deep cleansing facial for spotty skin, I think it would refresh my dull skin and make it brighter!

  19. Oh that sounds like such a blissful day, I feel relaxed just reading about it! Why oh why don't we have these things oop North? My ideal treatment would be some sort of magic facial that would make my skin look nice enough not to have to cake it in foundation every day. Since that ain't gonna happen, my ideal realistic treatment has to be a pedicure as my husband is far too cack handed to give a good foot massage, even when I can bribe him into it!


  20. Sounds fabulous!! A bit of you time is def what is required sometimes!!

    My ideal treatment would either be an indian head massage or a really ddep hard back massage!! Really want to get both soon :)


  21. I think my ideal spa treatment would be one of those whole body wraps and preferably one of those that took inches away with it or one that did a bum lift etc.....
    I love the chance to just take time out from my busy life which really doesn't happen often enough. Everything always seems to have to be done on the go.


  22. Oooh that sounds like a lovely way to help your recovery :)

    It's hard for me to imagine any kind of spa treatment i would enjoy because i am so shy and dislike being touched by other people. However that big, blue pool in that photo looks so inviting. So my idea (but impossible) spa treatment would be to be allowed, alone, into that lovely pool. And it would be properly warm, like a bath and infused with lovely oils so i could just fully relax and unwind :)

  23. The word 'spa' indicates pampering and a treat. So I'd choose something I couldn't do to myself at home (I can do facemasks and manicures/pedicures) so I'd love a shiatsu massage - I had one last week and it was the most relaxing thing ever.
    PS - Please may I have a treatment where they rub some cream on your tummy and it comes out flat?

  24. Dear Lippie,

    I would appreciate a head to toe oily body massage from a very naked Jon Bon Jovi. With hairy chest.

    Then I would like him to clean my house in an apron (only) whilst I watched Everybody Loves Raymond with a Double Sausage and Egg McMuffin and a cup of tea.




Thanks, I love hearing from you!

© Get Lippie | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template by pipdig