One of the things I love about travel is the way it lets you step into alternative lives and, just for a moment, pretend you are someone else. When I stayed at the Corinthia Hotel in London a few weeks ago, I stepped into an alternative world where I was someone fabulous. This hotel is something special, and that’s the way it makes everyone who stays here feel.
Located in a Victorian building near Embankment, The Corinthia combines London history, with superb service, elegant furnishings and a generous serving of class. Recognised as one of London’s finest 5-star hotels, it is now one of my firm favourites.
Since being purchased from the Government in 2008 the hotel has undergone an extremely well-considered refurbishment. From bespoke artwork by British artists to jaw-dropping lighting, the hotel oozes elegance and opulence in a way that feels modern yet traditional – just like the city it lives in.
The Lobby Lounge makes a dramatic first impression by housing one of the most exquisite chandeliers I have ever seen. A creation of Parisian designer Chafik Gasmi, the pioneering Full Moon chandelier consists of a staggering 1001 Baccarat crystal baubles. It came as no surprise to me to learn that the hotel has won awards for its lighting, every area has its own glorious arrangement – even breakfast is served under a bouquet of candles.
From the impressive lobby I was led to my bedroom which felt perfectly indulgent. Padding around bare foot on the heated tiles in the bathroom and sinking into the plush, purple pillows I immediately felt content. If time had allowed I would certainly have sunk into to the bath tub too – the turn down team had positioned a bath mat beside it and dimmed the lights temptingly so.
I did make time to indulge myself in the hotel’s EPSA Life Spa though and gosh am I glad I didn’t miss out. Spread over 4 floors, ESPA Life at Corinthia is award-winning ESPA’s flagship spa and absolutely the best spa I have ever visited. Boasting 17 treatment pods, a state of the art glass amphitheatre sauna (great for those who usually feel claustrophobic), steam rooms, a vitality pool, ice fountain and heated marble loungers – it is a thermal wonderland. Just stepping into the circular changing areas with its roaring fires and black lacquer dressing tables makes you feel immediately fabulous – and that’s before the incredible treatments have even begun!
Treatments, which are tailor-made, begin with the therapist kneeling in front of you in the serene treatment room and asking ‘how are you?’ Not just a conversation starter this is an actual question that requires thinking. Based on your answers the therapist (mine was the delightful Ruta) designs a treatment to suit – for me this involved focusing on my achy shoulders and using an oil that encourages detoxifying and circulation (much needed after my long flight over). The treatment room was darker and warmer than any I have been in before (the table was heated) and as the table tilted up at the end of the treatment I didn’t even have to lift myself off it. I literally floated out of there.
Completely succumbing to the serenity of the spa I made my way to the thermal floor to sample the vitality pool. Powerful jets of water directed at different problem areas washed away any remaining tension in my back, neck and shoulders.
One final indulgence lay ahead though – lunch at the hotel’s English restaurant, The Northall. Under yet another staggering chandelier of lights I dined on my all-time favourite British dish of fish and chips and mushy peas. I also let myself be talked into trying one of patissier Kimberly Lin-MacCartney’s desserts. When an immaculately presented dish of vanilla and salted caramel cheesecake (served on a brownie base with apricot puree and walnut ice cream) came out it was like all my dessert dreams come true. Tasting just as beautiful as it looked, this is a dessert I hope to repeat on every special occasion.
Contributing to the sense of luxury in every corner of the Corinthia are the incredible staff. Every single person I encountered was courteous and helpful, ever ready to help with bags or point you in the right direction. The facilities on site are also incredible and include a Daniel Galvin hair salon, Harrods gift shop and a florist so you can recreate the Corinthia’s stunning floral displays at home.
Making use of the hotel’s flexible check in and out times I was lucky enough to spend a full 24 hours living in a daydream. I’ve been dreaming about going back ever since.
For more information or to book visit www.corinthia.com/london.
Huge thanks to the Corinthia London for letting me stay.