Review: Jamie Roberts
Located just a stone’s throw from both the Thames and Covent Garden, One Aldwych is at the beating heart of the capital. Designed and built in 1905 by Anglo-French architects Mewès and Davis, One Aldwych was the original site of The Morning Post. The buildings impressive Edwardian grandeur meets with Parisian elegance, and following its 2019 renovation the combination of original features, modern art installations and in house floristry make every room a spectacle of its own.
After a morning of walking along the Southbank, and engaging my shopping habit in Covent Garden and Seven Dials, I was pleased to be greeted by the friendly concierge who guided me to the Health Club Spa for my afternoon of R+R. All staff were more than welcoming, and hugely professional in ensuring my experience was Covid safe.
Due to covid restrictions the spa is limited to 4 people at any one time, and my guest and I were lucky enough to enjoy the spa alone. The changing facilities provided us with fresh robes, footwear and a selection of OSKIA products, allowing us to cleanse away the bustle of the city before our spa experience. British skincare brand OSKIA provides natural, bioavailable nutrients, and were perfect for my sensitive skin.
I was pleased to find out that the ambient 18metre pool is chlorine free, another plus point for my skin type, especially after the week of hot sun exposure we have had here in the capital. Mood lighting and music set the tone of the afternoon, and whilst I couldn’t help but to indulge my inner fitness fiend with some lengths of the pool (this didn’t quite stretch to me using the gym facilities which were also on offer!), I was able to switch to a more meditative state once I entered the sauna and steam rooms. A rainwater pool side shower cooled me down in preparation for my treatment.
I selected the popular Signature Combination of the ‘City Stress Buster’, a 90minute combination of body scrub, massage and facial. My therapist Tatiana talked me expertly through the treatment, which is designed to target the effects of pollution and the tensions and stress of city living. We talked through any areas I wanted to focus on, namely my sensitive skin, sore lower back and shoulders. Mediterranean born Natura Bissé products have been named Best Spa Brand at the prestigious World Spa Awards for three straight years and work with master aestheticians only, so are limited to certified partnerships with luxury hotels and retailers. With an array of products to suit every skin type, Tatiana was able to specially select those required to tailor the experience to me and my specific needs. To begin I was treated to a vitamin c+c body massage scrub, a micro-granulated citric scrub that worked gently on the skin, renewing whilst also hydrating, soothing and protecting the skin’s lipid barrier. After showering the vitamin c+c body cream was applied to my full body, followed by the energising oil for my back neck and shoulder massage, with specific attention to my lower back and knotted shoulder blades. The whole vitamin c+c range features macro-antioxidants, vitamin F, vitamin E and provitamin D, the ultimate vitamin cocktail your skin needs to feel detoxed, awakened, firmer and radiant.
Tatiana then moved onto the facial element of the City Stress Buster treatment, and after carefully cleansing she examined my face and noted areas of sensitivity, areas that have been damaged by sun and pollutants, and areas in need of decongesting. This is not an easy combination, and I find it hard to tailor a skincare regime that will meet these criteria, so Tatiana’s skill was much welcomed. Use of slow breathing techniques were used to ensure I fully relaxed, and the subtle scents and combination of heat, cool, along with massage techniques meant that my face and body was in a total state of serene. The combination of tolerance cleanser, c+c toner, tolerance enzyme peel, recovery cream, eye balm and vitamin mask ensured my skin was left glowing and hydrated with no residual redness which has been a problem in the past for my delicate skin following scrubs and peels. Whilst the peel and mask were left to work Tatiana continued to pamper me with a reapplication of body cream and gentle hand massage. It really was a indulging session from start to finish, and I look forward to using my complimentary samples to try and recreate the dewy glow I glided away with.
I was excited to dine at Indigo, one of the city’s gluten and dairy free pioneers. With a recent change to a pescatarian diet I am still gluten and dairy free and it was wonderful to know that my dietary requirements would not hamper my choices. Overlooking the beautiful Lobby Bar below, Indigo’s Executive Chef Dominic Teague celebrates carefully sourced British ingredients (a sentiment close to my heart), and with both an à la carte and tasting menu to choose from we were spoilt for choice. We opted for a beautiful cocktail from the extensive cocktail/mocktail menu to begin. I was recommended the delicious ‘whispering gallery’ as a pairing to the menu to follow; a combination of London gin, Henners sparkling wine and flavours of bergamot, elderflower and earl grey- a cocktail made for me! My guest chose from the mocktail menu and enjoyed the most delicious negroni she has ever had, which really played homage to the original flavours of the signature cocktail.
We both chose to enjoy the summer tasting menu, and our lovely waiter Eddie spoke to the chef to substitute the meat dish for us. We were served sourdough bread baked in house with a light seaweed butter, followed by the 6 delicious dishes.
On the menu for the evening was Wye Valley asparagus with caramelised hazelnuts and a truffle vinaigrette, Dorset crab with grapefruit, coriander and seaweed (a flavour combination I adored and will never forget), Gigha halibut with crushed Jersey Royal new potatoes, sea herbs and Exmoor caviar, Smoked fillet of salmon with miso and foraged herbs (a beautiful substitute for the beef dish), a delicious brûlée with poached apricots and lavender syrup. To conclude an Oakchurch farm strawberry dish with macerated Silent Pool Rosé (the Queens favourite tipple no less and served at her Diamond Jubilee!)with a delicate meringue and foraged mint.
Each dish was exquisitely presented and a real feast for the taste buds. Coupled with the attentive yet relaxed service we felt able to enjoy at a leisurely pace whilst sipping on the deliciously paired wines.
The whole One Aldwych experience was fabulous, a spa experience to remember and a restaurant and chef to watch for sure. Whether it is a weekend visit to the capital, a pre theatre drink, or purely an evening meal, One Aldwych caters for all- a special touch in the heart of the city, and one I can’t wait to enjoy again.