Spas We Love: Urban Retreat at Home
Now, you might have heard of Urban Retreat itself: the Fifth Floor beauty salon, hairdresser and general gorgeousness destination at Harrods. Urban Retreat at Home is a 'mobile' version: therapists come to you (currently mostly within the M25, but once they recruit the high-calibre, highly-trained therapists, the idea is that this will go nationwide.)
There's quite a treatment menu - everything from waxing to manicures, brow-tinting to fake tanning via plenty of facial options. But we never miss the chance for a great massage - and what a great massage this is. Lovely Caroline Carter (pictured below) nobly lugged her massage couch up to the third floor flat where Jo was staying, and set the scene with flickering faux candles and soft, relaxing music.
Jo enjoyed (and oh, emphasis on enjoyed) an Urban Retreat Customised Massage - actually, using a favourite organic oil from Pure Lochside, which has just joined the treatment menu. Caroline has a really unique technique - just don't ask Jo what it's like because within 10 minutes she was a quivering moosh of relaxed muscles. As far as she can recall, there were lots of soothing smooth strokes, while Caroline's fingers worked on the inevitable 'stress knots' from hunching over a computer much of the time.
The absolutely glorious thing, though, was not having to get dressed up again afterwards - and in fact, being able to slip into bed the minute Caroline had gone. Perhaps this wouldn't be so blissful if you share your home with noisy kids, or might find yourself twitching guiltily on the couch about the unwashed pile of laundry or those e-mails begging to be answered on your laptop - but Jo switched right off, and slept deeply afterwards.
Urban Retreat also offer pamper packages and beauty parties - what a great 'hen' concept! At first glance the prices aren't that cheap - £95 an hour in Chelsea & Kensington or (for Jo) Westminster - but elsewhere within the M25 it's £70 an hour. Considering we usually treat ourselves to a pricy taxi ride to get home after most spa treaments (in order not to dim the bliss by sitting next to someone eating a Big Mac on the bus), it may well balance out.
Jo will most certainly be beckoning Caroline and her couch back.
Because when it comes to spa bliss, there really is no place like home, sweet Urban Retreat at Home...