My little sister thinks that I don’t voluntarily spend enough time with her, so she began an extremely effective campaign to change this. Her weapons of choice were a precise blend of whinging and sighing, and my own defences (slamming the door to my bedroom and humming so that I couldn’t hear her) were quickly eroded.
‘Fine,’ I said, exasperated. ‘I’ll hang out with you on Thursday. But I’m choosing the activity.’ Driven to near madness (have you ever tried to hum loud enough so that you can’t hear another person talking? It’s near impossible), I plumped for a spa.
I love spas. I like the warmth, the odd music, the treatments. I like the hushed tones of the deferential staff, the absurd quality of the towels they envelop you in, the decadence of the whole occasion. The one thing I do not like, and if anyone now mentions the ‘cucumber-flavoured water’ they are being written onto my very own ‘naughty list’ in indelible ink- is the lack of proper refreshments.
There is, and I have thought about this carefully, not a single activity that cannot be improved with the addition of food. Which is why I now have a new favourite London spa: the Sanook Spa, at the Hilton Courthouse Doubletree in Covent Garden.
Not only is the spa itself everything you would want it to be- I had a memorably excellent full-body massage, and returned to a level of dazed happiness not even my little sister could ruin, but before you enter it you can eat a full high-tea in their lovely restaurant. It is, without exception, the perfect meeting of body and mind. In that your body reaches levels of pleasure that allows your pesky, over-thinking mind to simply shut up and go away. Which, ironically, is the perfect solution to my infuriating little sister. Though perhaps I sent somewhat of a mixed message when I rewarded her campaign of world-class aggravation with a trip to the most indulgent afternoon spa in London.