A Slice of Moroccan Tranquility in London
Pimlico is an area in central London that has managed to stay under the tourist radar despite its proximity to the River Thames, Tate Britain and Buckingham Palace. With streets lined with elegant white stucco Victorian townhouses, this residential neighbourhood in Westminster is an unlikely but perfect place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The opening of The Spa in Dolphin Square reaffirms Pimlico's calming atmosphere. Billed as London's only Moroccan themed spa, it claims to offer an authentic Moroccan Hamman, Rhassoul and Salt Infused steam room experience. I decided to try out its Rhassoul Ritual for a "purifying experience" after an exhausting week.
The rhassoul is a natural mineral clay from the Atlas Moutains in Morocco which has been used as a cleansing agent for centuries. Moroccans are known to combined rhassoul with water and use it to clean the skin and hair, and today rhassoul is a popular ingredient in spa treatments and skincare product lines.
My treatment started in the rhassoul room, where a staff member applied a layer of watery rhassoul clay on my back before leaving a bowl of the clay for me to cover the rest of the body, face and hair on my own. Then I sat in the chamber for half an hour and let the steam work the delightfully scented rhassoul into the skin to draw out the impurities. Finally I showered off the clay with products from Aromatherapy Associates (another delight!), wrapped up in a fluffy robe and headed for some R&R in the lounge.
Tepidarium (Photo: The Spa in Dolphin Square)What makes the rhassoul experience at The Spa different from the norm? The ambiance. The place is simply beautiful. The earth-toned decor, warm air, dim lighting and soft-spoken staff contribute to a serene setting that brings to mind a nostalgic and glamorous image of North Africa.
I especially love the tepidarium where you can sip on mint tea or just drift away on the warm stone chaises, separated by screens that do little to obscure spa-goers from one another but create a very romantic atmosphere.
I cannot fault my first experience at The Spa and happily welcome this little piece of Morocco to a lovely part of London.