Posts filed under spa

St. Andrews | Afternoon Tea at The Old Course Hotel

On my last work trip before this baby arrives, I headed up the East Coast of Scotland for a long weekend trip to St. Andrews and beyond. While we were headed to some lovely sites outside of St. Andrews, I have to be honest; I was the most excited about this portion of the trip. I absolutely love St. Andrews, and have gone through silly trains of thought that have nearly made me relocate there just for the sheer pleasure of residing in that sweet coastal town in Scotland. (Okay, Tyler wouldn’t really ever let this happen… but if I weren’t married to him, who knows where I’d be.)

Since the group that I’m with is all females, we opted to have afternoon tea at the Old Course Hotel with them. At £20 per person, this is one of the most reasonably priced teas that I know of… and it’s setting in the airy conservatory along the golf course with the sea alongside it is just, well, perfect.

The conservatory is slightly ethereal and the crisp design of the space makes it feel extra special. The actual afternoon tea is really yummy, too. Warm scones, fresh jam, homemade cakes and pastries crowning the plates of little sandwiches just feels perfect. The hotel also boasts some great teas to choose from, too. 

After the tea, my colleague and I tucked into the hotel’s incredible Kohler Spa. Ever since staying at the hotel when I was first pregnant with the twins, I’ve been dreaming of trying out the spa. (It was fully booked when we stayed at the hotel!) So a week in advance, I called in and got us treatments booked for after our afternoon tea. 

The spa experience there was all I hoped it would be- with Kohler owning the hotel, the water fixtures are impeccable. Every aspect is perfectly done- because they have such great water fixtures. Expect fantastic showers, expansive pools and steam rooms, a rooftop hot tub overlooking the golf course and relaxation rooms to sit in all along the way

I had the NEOM pregnancy treatment.  It was a massage + body scrub for 80 minutes. It was only £90, which felt like a steal compared to the prices for luxury hotels in London. The treatment was lovely, and is something I’d definitely recommend to all my pregnant friends. (Find their complete listing of services and treatments here).

After my session, they brought me into the Deep Relaxation Room and tucked me in (literally) on a little reclining chair with a cosy blanket, got me a drink and some nibbles and left me to it. I spent another two hours in the spa- relaxing there, taking a long shower and lingering doing extraneous grooming that I never have time to do at home (like shape my eyebrows and shave above my knee). It was glorious and I felt entirely unrushed. It was how all spa treatments should be, in my opinion.

So while the spa at the Old Course Hotel in St. Andrews is one that is a bit too far away for me to enjoy on a regular basis, I can definitely say that it is completely worth visiting when you make it to St. Andrews. Not only was it one of the best pregnancy massages I’ve had, the entire spa experience made it feel even more enjoyable.


A FEW TIPS 

Book in advance of your stay to avoid disappointment. You can email to book at reservations@oldcoursehotel.co.uk

.

Bring a swimsuit. The spa has so many great rooms, pools, sauna/steamroom- you really miss out if you don’t have a swimsuit to enjoy them.

 

Give yourself a good buffer of time before and after your treatment. You’re going to want to enjoy the spa for all it has to offer.


Pregnant and feeling like you need a spa break? (You probably do!) Find my reviews of other great UK spas here:

FOUR SEASONS  |  BAGLIONI HOTEL  |  COWSHED SPA  |  ROSEWOOD LONDON


Follow Aspiring Kennedy on Bloglovin


*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

My London | Cowshed Spa at Clarendon Cross

In both of my pregnancies, my hips hurt really badly in the last months. I was constantly on the lookout for a great pregnancy massage in London to relieve some of the stress. I would google "Best Pregnancy Massages in London" endlessly as if I would find newly released information... but sadly, I could really ever only ever find spas own sites. 

I thought it might be helpful if I shared my spa experiences here, so that when you find yourself in that desperate moment- you'll have some real comparisons available to help you find the best London spa for pregnancy treatments.


COWSHED SPA, CLARENDON CROSS

unnamed-3.jpg

Tyler got me a gift voucher ages ago for Cowshed Spa. I got too busy in the fall with work to use it and then, to my dismay, had to wait past the first trimester to book any pregnancy treatments. Sigh. Oh well... life in the First World did continue, don't be alarmed.

When I finally got booked in, I was 18 weeks and still hardly showing. As in, I looked more like I had that post-pizza-buffet-glow than expectant-mother-glow. None the less, I was ready for my formal introduction to this classic London spa and couldn't wait for my appointment. 


SETTING & VIBE | Nestled in the quiet heart of Holland Park, Cowshed is definitely aware of its clientele. With an airy entrance that is casually posh, Cowshed makes coming to the spa feel as social and casual as meeting a friend for coffee.

STAFF & SERVICE | Every employee- from the booking line, reception staff, Cafe waitstaff and therapist- was exceptionally kind and made me feel so welcome. Can't say anything but praise for how I was treated from start to finish.

TREATMENT RECEIVED |  Udderly Gorgeous Pregnancy Massage (60 min, £80) & Cowshed Facial (60 min, £80),

TYPE OF PREGNANCY MASSAGE TABLE | If your heart is set on a massage table with a giant hole for your belly, this isn't for you. However, despite my initial disappointment- how they worked around this actually felt great and I'd recommend it to a friend. It involves a comfortable leaning setup for the back massage portion that can only sound odd,  but in the moment felt really relaxing. The rest of the massage was performed on a cozy and huge massage table.

SPA FACILITIES | When I first walked in, I felt like I had arrived at yummy mummy Mecca. I checked in, was directed to the communal table by the cafe and eagerly waited to be shown to the locker room where I could take a quick shower before the massage started. I browsed the newspapers sitting out and peeked at the food options from the cafe.

By sadly, I realised that there were no locker rooms. When my therapist arrived and took me downstairs to the room, my hopes of unwinding in a plush relaxation room with tea and a long shower with Cowshed products wasn't going to happen.

The treatment room was in the basement and fairly non-descript, but the massage bed was big and extremely comfortable. 

THINGS I LOVED | The massage table was fantastic. The products used left my skin feeling amazing. The facial was exceptionally helpful and something I wish I could do every few weeks to keep my face in good condition. (Alas, I'm not that lucky!) I'd love to go back and have breakfast or lunch with a friend before getting our nails done. The staff was also incredibly kind and warm.

THINGS I WISHED WERE DIFFERENT | I did feel a bit cheated that the experience started and ended in the treatment room. I would have loved to spend a bit more time relaxing in a robe somewhere, but that's probably splitting hairs. Still, for the sake of comparing spas in London, it's worth noting so that expectations are met.

COWSHED SPA, Clarendon Cross | 119 Portland Road, London, W11 4LN 




*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

One Chance. Two Weeks. Four Seasons London.

I always feel like I need to explain things that I get to try and do as a blogger. First because I think it's fair and ethical to state what was given from a professional standpoint. When I say I recommend something, I want people to be able to trust that.

The second reason is because I think it's fair for everyone's sanity sake to know that some things are gifts or freebies or whatever. Otherwise, it's easy to think that everyone has buckets of cash sitting around their house to spend all day on fun things... and you might not. (Or is that just me?)

Anyway, all of that to say.... I was invited to get a facial at the Four Seasons London by my friend, Georgie. She is their PR head and a total Queen of coming up with fun, seasonal pop-up concepts in the hotel. If you ever see one that they are doing, it's a must for anyone living in London. They are so different and fun... and just really perfectly done. She's very talented!

Knowing her talents for making these special events, I knew it'd be good, but I didn't expect it to be THIS good. (And the price, too!)


FOUR SEASONS MOTHERS DAY URBAN POP-UP SPA

I'm going to make this post quick. Since this pop-up only runs through April 2, you really can't waste time doing silly things like reading blogs. You've got to get moving to book a space for yourself.

Here's what to expect:

When you get to the hotel, go straight up the elevator to the 10th Floor. Sign in, have a quick drink as you fill out your paperwork overlooking London below, and then head back to change your life... erm, I mean clothes.

unnamed-14.jpg

You'll get a robe and locker in the luxe locker room. From there, you head straight into the pool area for a leisure lounge on their in-water beds or hit the sauna & steam room. Or you be like me and take the worlds longest shower and shave every inch of your legs because you have the time (and a good Italian shave kit) to do so.

Work your way to the relaxation room for a drink and a magazine read for a while before your treatment. It's so relaxing and when else can you perch up somewhere so glam?

When it's time for your facial, you'll be escorted into the special suite. While the view is stunning, the garden-esque feel that the Chelsea Physic Garden has put together will take it to the next level. Fresh flowers and classical music with Hyde Park hundreds of feet below you make approaching that big fluffy warm feel somewhat like a dream.

Now, I have to say... in that environment and for the amazing price, it would be easy to expect a basic facial with mediocre products. I'd probably still be happy with the overall experience, but... the facial was incredible.

The pop-up is hosted between Four Seasons and the Hungarian skincare line, Omorovizca. All of the products used in the 30-minute treatment were from the line and smelled so botanical and fresh. And they weren't just cute.... with items like a rose-scented gold mask,  neck cream with white truffle, you know it's a lush experience.

About half-way through, Nancy (the therapist) brought these two glass ornament looking things out of a bowl of ice water and massaged the cream into my face. It was a crazy feeling.... but I am desperate to have it done again. Incredibly relaxing and refreshing!

At the end of my treatment- about the time you get a list of all the products you need- Nancy told me my skin was nice. ("I love your big cheeks." Hah!) Then she went on to tell me that it wasn't just dry... it was really dehydrated. I agreed- it's miserably dry. She said I was doing too much. I need to let it breathe. I need to stop putting moisturiser on it day and night. It needed to just do its thing for a while.

No products pushed. No treatments recommended. Just honest truth from someone who actually got my skin after thirty minutes. It was incredible.

The experience and the facial will be, undoubtably, a great experience... and for a special price of £50(!!!), you'd really be silly not to grab a space before they are gone!



Looking for other great spas in London? You may be interested in my visits to The Rosewood Hotel and The Baglioni Hotel.



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

*visit gifted. Opinions are my own.

Posted on March 28, 2017 and filed under london, my london favourites, spa.

To A Tea | Baglioni Italian Afternoon Tea + Spa

You know those places that you pass everyday in your normal errands that you always notice, but go years without taking a foot inside of them? Well, I have passed the Baglioni Hotel a squillion times as it is so close to our flat, but had never actually been inside until today.

And I'll just go ahead and spoil the ending: I'm planning on going back all the time now. The End.

But in case you want to read the chapters in between my entrance to the hotel and the conclusion, here you are. (I could probably write a small love story about our day here.)

The Baglioni is part of the Baglioni Hotels- an Italian chain of luxury hotels. Their London property sits on an amazing location just at the end of Kensington Church Street across from Kensington Palace. While everything around the hotel is very, well, British, the Baglioni has just the right amount of Italian flair to make it a distinct destination. 

It's not different in an obnoxious way... instead, it's more like English with an Italian accent. :) Case in point: the Baglioni Italian Afternoon Tea.

 

 

While the concept, setting and flavors are predominantly standard for an afternoon tea, the Baglioni has added in some special Italian touches to it: Bellavista instead of Champagne, traditional scones served with jam, cream AND nutella, mini paninis stuffed alongside traditional finger sandwiches and Italian treats like cannoli and tiramisu for dessert.

We had a few guests make a cameo during our visit.  

Of course, they were both hungry, too.

 

But that giant dish of Nutella wasn't even the best part.

The Baglioni has an offer for a Spa Day that combines the Italian Afternoon Tea with a 50 Minute Massage in their luxe spa for £105. Relaxation? Deep Tissue? Hot Stone? You name it- they are all included in the offer. And you can trust me, you are not going to find that combination for that price anywhere in London! All the details can be found here... and giddy Instagram selfie taken in the spa below. 

 


The hotel spa is definitely not an afterthought. The facilities are gorgeous, the treatment rooms are stunning and the showers and steam room are worth a trip to the spa themselves.

What an amazing day- thank you, Baglioni, for making my dreams come true. And thank you to my friend, Nancy H Gibbs, photographer extraordinaire, for taking such gorgeous photos.



Find more of London's best afternoon teas here.



 

*images by Nancy H Gibbs

*This visit was hosted by Baglioni Hotels. Opinions are my own.

 

 

La Vie en Rosewood | Prenatal Spa Bliss

I've had the opportunity to stay in some really gorgeous places around the world. Most of the time, I'm traveling for work or on a budget doing my best to hit a £100 per night budget- but sometimes, I find myself in some surreal surroundings.

As a Dallas girl, the name Rosewood is no stranger to me. (We have the Mansion on Turtle Creek, which is "the" original Rosewood property and the funnest place to meet for breakfast in the Lone Star State.) Since the Rosewood London opened last year, I've had a few excuses to get up to the STUNNING hotel and every time, I am so impressed... and enamored.

As a veteran pregnant lady to the city of London, I've been asked repeatedly where to go for a pregnancy massage... but much to my displeasure- I hadn't ever had one. So with the kindness of the Rosewood London's Sense Spa, I got to try out their amazing spa for my inaugural prenatal massage.

Like hotels, my spa knowledge is quite, well, varied. I've had everything from massages overlooking private wildlife preserves in Africa to getting rubbed down in a flooded motor home on the beach of India. (In fact, I found out I was pregnant with the girls in a Chinese massage parlor.) The Rosewood's Sense Spa easily falls in the category of the exclusive type of spa that pampers you in every way- from the plush facilities, to the treatment itself and all the way down to the fruit infused water and fresh tea in the relaxation room.

But while I'm no stranger to spas, I was new to the experience of a pregnancy massage. Holy moly. In my next life, I'll be a kept woman who gets one regularly during pregnancy. Kim Kardashian may make millions for each baby she births for Kanye, but I would trade my womb for such massages.

Some spas have tables with a cut-out hole for your belly to go through, but here it was just a standard (heated and deliciously threaded) massage table. However, Laura (the masseuse) had me lie on my back and sides. After months of walking through the city, hauling a toddler around and being pregnant, I can't tell you how good that hour of relaxation felt.

Or how good the hour I spent following in the relaxation room drinking tea and reading travel mags felt, too. 

And then the hour after where I showered and straightened my hair... well, I think you get the jist.

Tyler might have wondered if I was ever coming home. And to be honest, it was touch and go for a while if I would. I wasn't in any hurry to hand in my fluffy robe and slippers.

If you're looking to pamper a friend who is expecting- give her a gift that she will never forget. In fact, she may have to name the baby after you. (Especially if it is a mom who already has a kid and all the gear to go with having a baby... what a sweet gift to acknowledge her without adding to the "stuff.") Or if you are looking to pamper yourself with the best pregnancy massage in London, no one will judge you for giving yourself 60 minutes of bliss.

For more information (and gorgeous images), check out the Rosewood London's Sense Spa.

 



 

 

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

*spa visit hosted by Rosewood London