Destinations we love: Regent Street, London
Something a little different, here. Usually we recommend spas, or treatments - but Regent Street has become such a destination in its own right, we're devoting a whole posting to it. So: should you be spending a day spoiling yourself in London, we recommend an expedition to this historic thoroughfare, bang in the heart of the West End. Throbbing with life and colour, it boasts some of the best beauty and wellbeing destinations you could find worldwide.
Our Beauty Bible reporter (website coordinator Jessie Lawrence) started her day at Liberty. Eschewing the famous scarves, Jessie made her way down to the newly refurbished Margaret Dabbs Sole Spa where the queen of medical mani-pedis and her expert team can make the scuzziest feet and hands look, as Jessie put it, ‘elegant and ladylike’ again.
Oh, and while you are in Liberty, don't miss the Beauty and Fragrance departments, which offer every gorgeous brand you would wish for – and some cult ones you won’t find elsewhere, from De Mamiel and MV Organic Skincare to Le Galion perfumes (Jo and Sarah simply swoon over these).
Nipping out of the side door, Jessie headed for The Organic Pharmacy for a shoulder and back massage. 'TOP' as it’s known is the first and only pharmacy in the world dedicated to beauty and health using only organic products. Founded in 2002 by homeopath and pharmacist Margo Marrone with her husband Francesco, TOP is the place for top to toe beauty and health.
Then a quick zoom into Kiehl’s famous skincare pharmacy, founded in New York’s East Village over 160 years back, for a 20-minute skin consultation and expert advice on a suitable regime.
After all this pampering it was time to feed the inner woman so Jessie and her host Chelsea Cook dived into a little doorway and into a lift that whizzed them up to the rooftops of Regent Street. Formerly the top floor of Dickins and Jones, this is now the home of the ‘amazing’ Aqua Kyoto restaurant, which is dedicated to contemporary Japanese cuisine. Award winning chef Paul Greening fuses traditional Japanese culinary techniques with the finest British produce, including many foraged ingredients. ‘One of the most delectable meals I have ever eaten,’ reports Jessie, drooling.
Walking down towards Piccadilly Circus Jessie found another ‘best kept secret’, the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre, the in-house spa for the newly refurbed Hotel Café Royal. As she said, ‘who would have put tranquil and Regent Street in the same sentence but it was a gem – a hidden treasure of serenity, where the only notion of time was the constant stream of bubbles in the Jacuzzi.’ Her luxurious Valmont Elixir Des Glaciers facial was ‘beyond anything I ever dreamt of’. So – a success then!
Jessie’s last treat was a make-up makeover in Kiko Milano, home to over 200 eyeshadows, 180 lipsticks and 200 nail lacquers. ‘It was so exciting!,’ she says. ‘They encouraged me to challenge my usual look and try out new tones and techniques, not just with cosmetics but also using different brushes.’
But it was more than just a series of fabulous treats, reports Jessie, a working single mother. ‘I walked out transformed psychologically as well as physically. I called my mum and said “you have to come and experience it”. It really opened my eyes to the fact that Regent Street isn’t just fashion, computers and children’s toys. There’s a whole world of marvels in the one street.’
From Sunday 5th July Regent Street welcomes back the fourth year of its Summer Streets when each Sunday will be traffic-free and feature a different interactive theme. Download the Regent Street App for more information...