I WAS desperately in need of some pampering, and that’s putting it mildly.
A day spent racing between appointments at opposite ends of London already had me somewhat vexed, so when one of my trains was cancelled it was like someone had thrown a gallon of petrol all over the glowing embers of my irritability. Having to rely on public transport is trying at the best of times, so I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I arrived at my final destination and found it actually lived up to my expectations (unlike the services of TfL).
My therapist, Sophie Andrews, leads me to the relaxation area and takes away my bags while I fill out a ‘new client’ questionnaire. When she returns she gives me a look that seems to say, "We better start stress-busting.’"
The Aromatherapy Associates brand has been much vaunted in the press over the last year. Open the pages of any lifestyle magazine and you’re likely to find one of the company’s products staring back at you, its virtues extolled in the kind of eager editorial most beauty brands would kill for. So it’s no surprise to find that the company has decided to build on its success, recently opening their first boutique and treatment rooms in the heart of Knightsbridge.
They've been blending oils since the seventies, so you might say the new salon and shop have been a long time coming. The company’s entire product range is now available to explore, and all within a flagship store that's worthy of the brand’s reputation: here you’ll find an enticing mix of bath, shower and body oils, fragrant creams, tantalising skincare products and high end gift options.
The salon itself is stunning, a match to its Knightsbridge location. Every lotion, potion and life-affirming elixir is presented amid surroundings of tasteful, tranquil elegance and as I discovered when I staggered, stressed out and exhausted through the doors, the interior alone goes a long way towards restoring mental harmony. Neutral tones blend with discreetly luxurious gold trimmings while gently curving lines encourage the eye to glide gently across every surface. In one very nice touch, there’s even a chandelier that emulates the brand’s iconic bath and shower oil bottles.
A good start then, but soft lighting and a tranquil ambiance can only soothe you so much: what about the treatments?
My therapist, Sophie Andrews, leads me to the relaxation area and takes away my bags while I fill out a ‘new client’ questionnaire. When she returns she gives me a look that seems to say, ‘We better start stress-busting.’
In order for us to do so, I need to select an essential oil; once I’ve chosen, we get going, with Sophie concentrating on areas that I feel are particularly tense or tired – namely my shoulders and feet.
The therapists at Aromatherapy Associates understand how important it is to take every client’s individual emotional needs into consideration, and that seems to be the salon’s strong suit – there’s a real belief that the treatments here can help to promote better health by improving clients’ awareness of the connection between physical and psychological wellbeing. True to form, Sophie quickly identifies a weakness in my lower back and attributes it to a spinal misalignment – something that has never been picked up by any previous masseur.
The weak spot doesn’t cause me any more trouble than a very occasional moment of sensitivity, but Sophie tells me that it might be worth seeing an osteopath, just in case there are exercises I could be doing to prevent pain later in life. It’s this kind of attention to detail that makes the salon’s treatments so different to those elsewhere: not only have I enjoyed a fantastically luxurious massage, I’m also no longer in the dark about the long-running sensitivity in my lower back.
So if a beautiful environment is just as important to you as the treatment itself, and if you like your stress-busting served up with a reassuring side order of physiological insight, Aromatherapy Associates will not disappoint. For the ultimate in bespoke therapy, you can even book a one-to-one, hour-long consultation in which you’ll develop a personalised, hand-blended combination of oils which will then be packaged, engraved and sent out to you within four weeks. Longer-lasting indulgence? Count me in.
Aromatherapy Associates Boutique & Treatment Rooms
5 Montpelier Street
0207 838 1117
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