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Latest News - Times Online Review

The Good Spa Guide - Therapy, East Dulwich, London

Some of the best spas in the capital are tucked away off a high street near you.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/travel/good_spa_guide/article4254468.ece

USP

Destination spas are all very well, but they make two big assumptions. The first is that you have the time to travel there and spend the day being pampered, and the second is that you have the money to pay what are often high prices for the pleasure. This is why, sometimes, local is the way to go.

Tucked away, just off the high street, the local spa is easy to ignore when magazines and newspapers focus on the more expensive variety. I'm not talking about the wax and tint merchants, whose cubicles resound to the yelps of their clientele and the smell of nail varnish.

Instead these spas offer massage and facials in the privacy of a proper treatment room. There might not be a plunge pool or a steam room, but scented candles, relaxing music and expert therapists abound. I didn't know I had a local spa until last week, when, certain that there must be something in the area I looked online and discovered it hidden away.

AMBIENCE

Just off the main high street, on a quiet side road is Therapy. The shop-front belies a labyrinth of treatment rooms running off a darkened corridor, lit by tea lights and scented candles. Small relaxation areas of comfy chairs and magazines make the most of the space.

EXPERIENCE

I had the de-luxe facial which was given expertly and with no fuss. The therapist knew what she was doing and with an assured touch applied the organic Living Nature products. It was not one of those facials when the therapist leaves you with your own thoughts for 20 minutes after applying the face mask, instead I was given a foot massage.

The facial, which lasts an hour and 15 minutes, also includes a wonderful neck and back massage. And, for once in my life, a facial seemed to actually make me look better. When my husband returned from work he commented on how well I looked, twice!

IN CROWD

Other tired, time-poor, cash-poor locals. East Dulwich is full of mums, who have probably started working part-time so have less money than they're used to, and a lot less time. The spa even operates a mother-and-baby scheme at certain times where you can bring your child with you while you have essential maintenance done.

WALLET WATCH

£55 - amazing value and I will definitely be returning. A 35-minute body polish is £36, an hour of reflexology is £47, and a three-hour absolute indulgence packet is £128.