Every girl needs a little pampering now and again don’t we ladies? What makes it even more of a special treat is when your other half decides to surprise you with a 60 minute massage at your local spa. Well it’s more of a salon than spa, but all the same it’s still such a lovely gesture. So last Friday night when everyone was leaving work ready for a night out on the town, I popped into the Angelica Retreat for my “What’s Not To Love” 60 minute bespoke body massage (#granny).
This ‘spa retreat’ is tucked away on the cobbled streets off the main roads of Islington. I arrived a few minutes early and was greeted by a friendly face who offered to take my jacket and bags and also offered me a complimentary hot herbal tea whilst I waited. From the menu I decided to go for the fruity option; a fusion of echinacea and raspberry. But before my tea had a chance to arrive, I was whisked downstairs and into one of the massage therapy rooms by my therapist. There I filled out the standard questionnaire whilst I sipped on my herbal tea. The therapist was very professional and asked me a few questions on what kind of massage I was expecting, any areas of concern and the kind of pressure I preferred. Then she left the room whilst I made myself comfortable on the bed (which was heated by an electric blanket may I add- genius!).
*Cue mellow tempo, relaxing music* The therapist started off with my back, making sure to pay extra attention to the knots and tension I had mentioned in my upper back, neck and shoulders and boy were they big, stubborn ones. Then she moved onto my feet and legs, working to sooth my muscles and rid them of the aches and pains, before I flipped over onto my back. Fast forward an hour later, the massage came to an end and I was slowly raised up to a seated position by the electronic bed (heated and electric!) whilst given a glass of water to help flush out all the toxins. The therapist left the room whilst I slowly tried to come round from a near massage- induced coma. I felt so relaxed that I think I almost floated my way home.
The “What’s Not To Love” bespoke massage is a combination of acupressure, shiatsu and Ren’s deep, slow massage technique (all the therapists are trained by Ren). In terms of massages, it’s definitely more on the slow, gentle and relaxing side. It’s not the best I’ve had but that in no way means that it wasn’t a good one. I’m definitely one who prefers the pressure to be amped up, which usually means that I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus the next morning. This wasn’t the case at all and probably a good thing (but they do say no pain, no gain right? does that apply?). At £55 for a 60 minute massage, I’d say that the price is very fair considering it’s location.
The Angelica Retreat is a small, humble spa/salon which has two massage therapy rooms downstairs and also a beauty room for your more intimate treaments like waxing, tanning etc. Upstairs they have an area for your Essie manis and pedis and a huge display of Ren skin care and body products (I asked whether the spa was owned by Ren but apparently they just work with Ren and as mentioned above, all the therapists are trained by the brand). There’s a small seating area where you can flick through magazines whilst you wait and enjoy your complimentary herbal tea.
One of the things I love is the simple, yet chic decor. It’s predominantly white but think less clinical and more homey as you can probably tell from the photos. The furnishings and fittings are all slightly distressed but in a casual and cosy manner; cupboards are painted white haphazardly so that the actual wood underneath can still be seen and wooden crates are cleverly used as shelving units mounted to the wall to house photo frames and vases, all adding to that cosy, home feeling. My only (small) gripe is the creaking floorboards. It’s difficult to really let yourself go and completely relax when you can hear every footstep and movement from upstairs. Having said that, the building was not built to be a spa ( the building was formerly an interiors store) so I guess they’ve made the best with what they’ve got. Apart from that, if you’re ever in the Angel area, stop by and treat yourself to a 30 minute back massage (£35) or a speedy pedicure (£28) when you’ve had enough of traipsing around the shops and just want to sit down and catch your breath. You might as well do it in style.
What are your favourite pampering haunts?