All this cooking and restaurant reviewing is hard work so I had to book myself into a spa this week. And while I was there I did a review. It’s the K-West Hotel and Spa in Shepherd’s Bush – a new, designery hotel with all the latest mod cons and slick, glitzy touches. All soft taupes, shiny purple flock wallpaper columns with dark walnut, stainless steel and sandblasted glass.
If you book a spa treatment you get complimentary access to the gym, hydrotherapy pool, London’s first “snow room” (more of which later), sanarium, sauna, experience showers, foot baths, an aromatic herbal steam room (except Saturdays) and relaxation areas. If you don’t have a treatment, it’s £25 a day for hotel guests (£10 after 8pm, Mon-Fri).
There is valet parking too, £5 for 3 hours, which I don’t think is bad for London.
So, the most stunning and unusual thing about the spa is the Snow Paradise (London’s first!), like a big Christmassy walk-in fridge. I warmed up in the hydrotherapy pool and various saunas/steam rooms, then dashed into the -15ºC room to, basically, sit down in the snow and scoop fluffy stalactites of the stuff from the walls, to rub all over my face and body. Nice huh? Actually I have done it in real life, at the Ice Hotel in northern Sweden, and it’s really refreshing. You don’t want more than a few minutes in the snow room though. Then you go and re-warm yourself, and start the whole cycle again. The overall effect is you get really relaxed and sleepy. The science is: the sudden and extreme changes in temperature stimulate the body’s circulation, which is beneficial for the immune and respiratory systems. The snow is made of air and water and contains no chemical additives.
I also tried out the “Sun Meadow” – £15 for 15 minutes. It’s a warm room where you lie down starkers (or with a cozzie on) on a padded platform on the floor (covered with towels) and UV lights in the ceiling mimic natural sunlight, giving you a dose of Vitamin D without tanning. You wear stick-on protective pads for your eyes, just in case though. For the full nature experience there’s also woodland wallpaper and soothing sounds – oddly, I can’t remember what the sounds were – but they were soothing.
Hotel-wise, I had a snoop round a suite and an executive room. The “K Suites” have Bose lifestyle systems, full surround sound and a 42” plasma screen television, oversize two-metre square beds and 20” LCD televisions. And Aromatherapy Associates smellies in the bathroom, more to the point! At about £450 per night, they’re for treats only.
There’s a restaurant, Kanteen, which I didn’t try. But, reading the menu, it looks like what I call “businessman’s hotel food”: fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, burger and chips, risotto etc – with apple pie, tiramisu and chocolate brownie for pud. I am sure it’s all very well executed, and I am not putting it down for being “hotel food”. There’s also a lounge (with DJ till 2am on Fridays and Saturdays) with snacky-type bar food.
You can also do a Spa package with lunch in the Kanteen (you wander up there in your robe) so that’s a possible girls’ dayout in the run-up to Christmas. And check out the relaxation banquettes called “Kuddles” (pictured right), which were being put to good use by couples lounging and canoodling (tastefully) while I was there.
The hotel itself is well located for the Westfield shopping centre (which I have still not been to!) and both Shepherd’s Bush and Wood Lane tube stations. It’s just behind an older (60s?) shopping mall on Shepherd’s Bush Green, and is an ex BBC property, I am told (not that you’d know it – it’s been well revamped). The clientele seemed young, hip and good looking when I was visiting, so get down there if you are single!
K West Hotel & Spa, Richmond Way, London W14 0AX – Tel: 020 8008 6600 – www.k-west.co.uk