A few months ago, I discovered the holy grail of facials: the Biotec range from Elemis. So with summer (and the season’s string of social commitments!) around the corner, I didn’t hesitate to book myself in for a much-needed treatment at the Spa at InterContinental Park Lane, followed by the ultimate pick-me-up… High Coffee.
The hotel is actually one of my favourite go-to’s in Mayfair for its welcoming air, matched by a lively yet relaxed tone… Not to mention its many culinary draws, from Theo Randall’s winning Italian restaurant to the Frida Kahlo-inspired Ella Canta.
Then there’s the in-house spa. Operated by Elemis, the urban retreat is something of a hidden gem, far removed from the rush of surrounding Park Lane. I can’t help but instantly switch off from the moment I walk in.
Rooted in advanced technologies, Biotec’s range of treatments use a first-of-its-kind machine combining 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, delivering targeted improvements in your skin. Depending on the therapy chosen, results span from reducing the appearance of fine lines, oily shine and visible pores, to treating blemishes, increasing smoothness and softening the complexion! My need of the hour is a skin brightening treatment, guaranteed to yield a radiant, rejuvenated look for all those upcoming summer soirées…
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The facial begins as all good facials do – with a deep-cleanse to remove all traces of living in the Big Smoke. However, the machine-led steps which follow are unique – employing the high-pitched sound of chords for a deeper-reaching exfoliation. Light therapy is used to help a cooling hydro gel-based mask penetrate deeper and there’s also a wonderfully stress-busting back massage involved… All told, I’m practically glowing by the time I head downstairs to the Wellington Lounge, ready for the next phase of my well-planned pick-me-up: High Coffee.
This is actually my fourth (or is it the fifth?) visit for afternoon tea to The InterContinental.
While the themes typically change with the seasons, the superlative focus on presentation and quality remain a constant, overseen by impassioned service and a meticulous attention to detail. Not only do the staff remember me from the last time I visited, but they can also recall exactly which teas I had ordered then!
On this occasion though, teas are substituted with coffees purposefully paired with our different courses… First up, is a round of espresso martinis laced with a kick of salted caramel!
Our caffeinated cocktails arrive with an artisanal array of sandwiches. Served opened-faced, each is set apart by an unusual choice of toppings, which work to subtly change the taste of our tipples. Fresh mozzarella atop a mixed olive roll brings out the creaminess of the kahlua in my martini, whilst smoked eel on a beetroot brioche roll offers a clean-tasting finish for my friend, Anisha!
Next we tuck into warm savouries – including the likes of a wild mushroom fritter laced with tumble weed – as we sip on caffé Freddos. Being the caffeine fiends we are, we also lap up the knowledgeable insights of the staff as they talk us through the storied history of coffee, before explaining the composition and flavour profiles of the different blends.
Smoothly moving on, a blood orange and ginger sorbet is as lush as it is pragmatic in serving as a palate cleanser, before the ceremonious arrival of scones and dessert(s)…
The scones are as immaculate as I’d expect by now – their golden egg-brushed tops glistening smartly before breaking apart with just that right touch of crumble!
As for desserts? Well, we’re hard-pressed to pick a favourite as each is seriously special – from the Bailey’s chocolate éclair to a richly-layered hazelnut opera cake! Even the crème brûlée stands outs, its sweetness foiled by a touch of lime and lemongrass.
More coffee is in order too, with our options running the gamut from a mocha and macchiato to cortado and canarino! Inevitably, we both opt for almond milk cappuccinos (because, #millennials!) and really, it’s the perfect note on which to end a perfect day!
One Hamilton Place, Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1J 7QY | http://parklane.intercontinental.com
I was a guest of the hotel, but as always – all opinions are mine and mine alone.
That looks gorgeous. Did you stay awake all night?