If there’s one thing that I really crave when life gets quite hectic, it’s some good old-fashioned me-time.
And things have definitely been more than a little rushed of late – what with work, keeping up with the London foodies and just generally making the most of summer in London (before heading back to Bombay for a bit).
So last week, I made the concerted effort to take the day off for myself, to rebalance and to recharge. The plan: yoga, followed by an overdue facial at the spa at the InterContinental on Park Lane. Both experiences were something out of the ordinary…
For a start, the early a.m. yoga session took place outdoors at the iconic Victoria and Albert museum, and was hosted by my favourite athletic retailer, Lululemon, to celebrate the opening of their concession at Harrods (my favourite retailer, period).
I’ve been lucky enough to practice yoga in some rather scenic settings (including at sunset on a beach in Dubai, looking out onto the Burj al Arab!), but this has definitely been the most surreal of them all – surrounded by the museum’s nature-inspired, futuristic summer installation, which stands strikingly against its red brick façade.
This intricately-woven canopy has been fabricated entirely by a robot, and is a tribute to these ‘unsung heroes’ of design, responsible for creating and shaping the built world…
The theme of our yoga session centred on gratitude too, albeit of a different sort. Through a series of age-old asanas, we became more aware and appreciative of our own bodies (which I confess, I’m guilty of taking for granted more often than not).
Did I mention that there was a live harpist throughout, to help us relax? Her hypnotic rendition of the Game of Thrones theme song will stay with me long after the show finally (and sadly) comes to an end.
Needless to say, I was in an altogether relaxed state by the time I strolled down Hyde Park, turning into the InterContinental on Park Lane…
… and the stunning floral arrangements in the hotel’s lobby, only served to add more cheer to my day!
The InterContinental is actually one of my favourite hotels in the area, not least for its warm service, lively yet discreet tone and of course its many culinary attractions, from Theo Randall’s restaurant to an afternoon tea spread that’s almost too pretty to eat!
An #AfternoonTea simply too pretty to eat… A heavenly Saturday spent indulging in the #ScentsofSummer experience @ICParkLane. Can't wait to share the floral-inspired celebrations on the blog soon 🌸🍾 #IntercontinentalParkLane #InterContinentalLife #AfternoonWellSpent #TopLondonRestaurants #TopCityBites #TheFoodieDiariesLondon
On this particular afternoon though, I was here for some much needed spa-time… virtuously opting for herbal tea and freshly cut fruits in the hotel’s urban (yet very zen-like) retreat, as my therapist talked me through the BIOTEC facial, which I was about to experience.
Finding that perfect facial has always eluded me, so I was incredibly excited to learn about this newly-introduced range from Elemis – one of the few skincare brands that I am comfortable using.
Spanning a menu of eight different types of treatments (each designed for specific concerns), these facials are innovative in that they use a first-of-its-kind BIOTEC machine, which combines ultrasonic, micro-current, oxygen, light and galvanic therapy, to push active ingredients deeper into the epidermis of the skin. The promised result is an enhanced boost of cellular energy, with the facial working to rejuvenate and radiate…
… All of which sounded like exactly what I’d been needing, as it’s my skin which seems to have borne the brunt of my busy lifestyle recently.
Of course it doesn’t help that we live in the Big Smoke, and so as any good facial would, this one started with a double-cleanse to thoroughly remove any lingering bacteria. However, the machine-led steps that followed were very different to any other facial I’ve tried before, even if some of the principles behind it were universally-accepted ones such as toning and exfoliation (to lift dead skin and boost a tired complexion).
I started to feel fresher after just the first Tri-enzyme mask had been applied (to rebalance the skin’s pH), with a tingly, almost zinging feel enveloping my skin.
The Dynamic Resurfacing mask was then applied in conjunction with light therapy, with my therapist first gliding a red light across my face to help heal any blemishes, redness or scarring; and then a blue light to combat any dehydration, fine lines or wrinkles. The mask has been clinically proven to improve skin smoothness by 43% after just one treatment – and having felt its effects first-hand, I’m quite keen to purchase it on its own, to use whenever in need of that little pick-me-up!
I had a taste of the O2 therapy too, with long bursts of oxygen pumped into my skin (and shorter bursters around the eyes) to restore and lock-in moisture and collagen.
And finally, my lovely therapist applied a soothing eye mask to stimulate circulation and address traces of puffiness or dark circles (#BloggerProblems); before evenly spreading a day cream from BIOTEC’s signature range, for a final re-energising touch.
In case you’re trying to visualise how it all worked…
So how did my skin feel after?
In a few words: astonishingly smooth and more even-toned, not to mention plumped and glowing…
All I needed later that evening was a touch of lip gloss, before dashing off to to see my friends for dinner ahead of my flight back to Bombay the next day. Speaking of which, the facial did wonders in keeping my skin hydrated throughout the long-haul (nine-hour) journey, something I otherwise usually struggle with.
It had been a wonderfully rejuvenating day, which made me promise myself to make the time to regularly enjoy more of!
Spa InterContinental at InterContinental London Park Lane.
I was a guest of the InterContinental hotel, but all glowing opinions are mine and mine alone.