So SPA, the French spa experience in the heart of Saint James

Housed within an original listed building between Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus, this luxurious London spa offers a quintessentially Parisian beauty experience.

The place The recently opened 263-square metre spa belongs to luxurious French hotel Sofitel in Pall Mall. Distributed over three floors, it has retained the original features of the building (formerly a bank), which include impressive rose coloured marble walls and decorative mouldings on the ceilings. At the same time, the mood is definitely contemporary, with bright pinks, huge lampshades and amusing notes such as a topiary giant French poodle!

The experience The client is welcomed by a spa butler, who discusses treatment’s requirements and offers a choice of music and room fragrances.There are five treatment rooms, each equipped with patented massage tables, as well as a private Turkish steam bath, showers with aromatic essences, and chromatherapy and hydrotherapy baths. At the end, the client can stay in the deep relaxation room, where tea is served.

The products For its first So SPA, Sofitel has chosen two prestigious and highly complementary French brands, Carita and Cinq Mondes. The first was founded in Paris in 1945 by Maria and Rosy Carita, two visionary sisters who went on to open the first Parisian spa ever -the “Maison de Beauté” in the upmarket Faubourg Saint Honoré in 1968. As the first true beauty salon to the stars, with clients including Josephine Baker and Jean Seberg in the Sixties, Carita epitomises Parisian pampering at its most sophisticated. Alternatively, Cinq Mondes  brings a wonderful palette of the best ancestral treatments and beauty traditions from around the world, with an emphasis on sensorial pleasure and relaxation. Founded in 2001 by a former L’Oréal director, this relatively newcomer was ranked Number 1 by “Leading Spas of the World” in 2008.

So SPA, Sofitel Saint James, 6 Waterloo Place, SW1 (Piccadilly Circus). Tel: 020 7747 2204. Treatments prices vary according to their length, from £45 for 30 minutes.