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Whether it’s a momentous birthday, anniversary, or just an excuse to treat you and your other half, there are times when simply, ‘nice,’ ‘great’, or ‘lovely,’ won’t do. Some hotel spas charge an arm and leg to give you that kind of experience, but no matter how shiny their fittings are if your jaw doesn’t drop and no ‘wow’ sound emerges – what’s the point?
The Landmark London had me, my girlfriend, and all but the most jaded of other guests losing control of our chins upon entry. From the outside the building is an impressive bit of Victorian architecture: grand without opulence, large but not imposing, functional yet pretty. So far, so good. But it’s only when you walk through its doors and are greeted with its sophisticated style and lavish attention to detail that jaws start lowering en masse.
There are large, ornate mirrors everywhere and inconsequential things such as telephone tables and dressers look like they cost more than my monthly rent. Even the hatstands are probably more expensive than most TVs. Some places that scream money are gaudy, bordering on distasteful (Harrod’s – we’re looking at you), but despite its fancy décor The Landmark London feels classy, rather than desperate to be noticed.
Our suite has a separate living space complete with sofa and coffee table, a bathroom with a huge above ground bath (no cute-looking feet like in the cartoons, but hey, you can’t win them all) and shower with a bigger head than Bono. The star of the show, however, is a king-size bed with half a dozen pillows and bedding made from cotton that’s so soft it instantly makes us dread going back to the normal pleb sheets we sleep on at home.
Despite lying down and never wanting to get up again, we peel ourselves away from the incredible bed to go for dinner at The Landmark London's biggest restaurant, Winter Garden. Located at the centre of the hotel at the bottom of an eight-story glass roof atrium, it’s one of the most unique dining locations in a city that has plenty of competition in that category. The only downside to this cavernous space is a slight chill hanging in the air.
However, that’s a minor complaint of an exceptional dinner. Our waiter was polite and attentive without ever being a distraction in the corner of our eyes. He offered detailed descriptions of dishes and swapped a corked glass of wine without the slightest hint of a raised eyebrow. The seasonal menu is haute cuisine without the pretension, and though there are plenty of herb foams and ingredients we’d never heard of, the portions weren’t the bite-sized insults to appetite often synonymous with posh restaurants.
We kick off the next morning with a swim in the 15m chlorine-free pool followed by a gym session. Consisting of a free weights area and two rows of cardio machines (complete with their own TVs), it’s a low-key, yet spacious place to get your sweat on. All the equipment is shiny, new and top quality, with Technogym and Kinesis kit used throughout.
Spa treatments range from face exfoliation and foot rubs to full body wraps and deep tissue massage. We went for the latter and were each treated to an hour of deft handiwork. I have a particularly tight ITB, which my masseuse noticed and spent extra time working on. Though not a sports physio she clearly had a good understanding of myofascial release. She slowly worked some of the tension out and even recommended stretches and foam roller moves to promote more mobility. Apparently, it’s not just my ITB that’s tight. My back and the rest of my legs also have more tension than a Mexican stand-off and as such a hot stone massage was recommended for next time.
But will there be a next time? Absolutely. Once we’ve saved enough to return, that is. Prices are as you’d expect for a five-star hotel in central London, but unlike some that rely on heritage and past glories, the Landmark earns its price tag. Most of us can only afford to visit hotels or spas of this calibre on a special occasion, and there’s nothing worse than saving up only to feel slightly disappointed or wondering where your money has gone. It’s not cheap, but if you and your partner have something big to celebrate The Landmark London is worth every penny.
Max was the head of digital content for Men's Fitness which worked alongside Coach between 2015 and 2019.