Saturday was a very exciting day for me; I was going to go on my first every trip to a spa. For my birthday, The Flatmate promised to take the two of us. She’d got a Red Letter Day voucher that she could use as well, so between the two we figured we could have a nice little outing. We just never got round to organising it. Then Christmas started to approach. We figured instead of buying each other presents, we’d put the money towards our spa day. That way, we could afford something even better.
Christmas came and went and we entered January. Now, as everyone knows, January is the worst month. It’s cold and Christmas is over for a whole 12 months. So, in the spirit of cheering ourselves up, we booked our spa trip. We flicked through the Red Letter Days website, looking for venues in London. There was plenty of options – they were just generally out of our price range. Especially as there was two of us.
Unfortunately, we could not afford to spend a day at a spa and get treatments. We could either afford an hour of two of treatments or a day having access to a spa’s facilities, like their sauna, steam room and swimming pool. I liked the steam room and sauna idea but ultimately I was in this for the massage. The only massages I’ve really had were Thai massages. They were good but relaxing isn’t the word I would use for them.
We finally found one we liked the look of but then realised that if we used the voucher we could only visit during the week and we didn’t really fancy having to take a day off work.
After some searching, we stumbled across the Casa Spa on Edgware Road. They had a 2-for-1 offer on their Exotic Pamper Day, meaning it would cost us £149 instead of £298. For that price, the two of us would get a Moroccan hammam session, a wash with traditional Moroccan black soap, a chocolate body mask/wrap, a honey hair mask and a 15 minute reflexology massage. As if that wasn’t enough, we’d also be fed Moroccan mint tea, fruit and sweets and, the best bit, we could book it for a weekend and managed to get a slot for the following Saturday. I could not have been more excited.
We arrived a few minutes before our 1.30pm session. At first, I couldn’t spot the place but then The Flatmate pointed at a banner on a railing in front of us with the words “Casa Spa”. We had arrived. As we walked through the door, I was greeted by a scene I didn’t quite expect. I must admit, when I pictured a spa, I imagined lots of chic marble, open rooms and wooden panelling.
Instead, walking into Casa Spa felt like entering a home that had been converted to feel like somewhere in Morocco. When I actually thought about it, that made sense. This was a Moroccan experience after all and I certainly became reminiscent of my trip to Marrakech. The room was filled with sofas, made of wood and patterned fabrics, burning incense and trinkets I can imagine finding in a market like the souks of Morocco. The staff seemed to be running a bit behind so we had some mint tea while we waited and, after about 20 minutes, we were taken through to change.
We popped our belongings in a locker and were taken downstairs to the spa in the basement. The room was dark (obviously, with no natural light), with soothing music playing. Our first stop was our hammam session. I had no idea what this would involve but it turned out to be a steam room. I was pretty happy we’d get a bit of a steam as I hadn’t expected to but I did find it quite tough sitting in a room that hot with so much dense steam. You’d think after all that hot yoga I’ve been doing, I’d be better handling it.
I’m not entirely sure how long we were in there for but I think about half an hour altogether. There were two other people in there but we could barely see (or even hear) them through all the steam. Part way through, a woman came in and stared pouring bowls of water over us. We’d both expected the water to be cold but it was lukewarm and a very welcome break from the heat of the steam room. Then we were covered in argan oil and left to steam a bit more.
Finally we were taken into another room, which felt like a little spa cave. The ceiling was curved and the walls covered in beige/brown tiles, with marble blocks around the outside for us to sit on. The room started off cool and steam free but soon swung the other way and became hot and steam filled. We waited for our Moroccan soap and chocolate mask, feeling very relaxed lying on our marble benches. My relaxed state was only interrupted by my stomach letting out a hungry wail. I’d forgotten about lunch.
After a short while of further steaming, someone came in to tend to us. She used a rough exfoliating mitt to scrub us with but didn’t seem to apply the soap – unless I missed it. It hurt a bit but worked a treat. I could not believe how much dead skin came off me (bit gross, I know) and The Flatmate was delighted to find that I was marginally worse than her. Then we were each given a face mask, which we hadn’t expected. I didn’t quite catch what it was but it definitely had rose water in it and looked like clay.
We were left for a little while before the woman came back to tell us we would shortly be taken for our 30 minute massage. I definitely wanted a 30 minute massage but that is not what we’d ordered and I definitely still wanted to be covered in chocolate. We asked after our body and hair masks and it turned out that our booking had got a bit muddled up, since the spa was quite busy that day. Thankfully, the mix up was quickly sorted and the woman returned with our body and hair masks. I think the chocolate mixture that we were covered in was too thin to be called a wrap but it smelt amazing, particularly in my hungry state, and I was suddenly craving Coco Pops. My honey hair mask also smelt good, which didn’t help.
I think we were meant to be left for 20 minutes but by this point we had already been in the steam room for a while so we were washed down and taken out after only five. Having said that, I was definitely ready to leave the steam room at that point. It had done it’s job and both The Flatmate and I reached our hot steam limit. We actually ended up sitting on the floor for a few moments. It was cooler down there but I think I actually made the lady jump as I stood up when she came in to fetch us!
We quickly had a warm shower before being wrapped in towels and taken through to what felt like a little Moroccan den. The floor was carpeted and the walls were lined with big comfy sofas, covered in patterned material, which we could lie back and lounge on. We were each given a bowl of melon pieces with a couple of grapes on top. After all that steam, some refreshing fruit is exactly what I wanted in that moment and The Flatmate and I wished each other a belated Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas.
Just as we finished eating, a guy came in to give us our reflexology massages. I had been looking forward to a back massage but it turns out reflexology meant just your lower legs and feet. My bad. He asked which one of us wanted to go first and I figured I’d let The Flatmate have hers but then another guy turned up to give me mine.
Our masseurs both had quite different styles. Mine worked on both of my legs and feet at the same time, whilst chatting away. He started slightly after The Flatmate’s and finished several minutes before. I’m not sure I got a full 15 minutes but I wasn’t exactly looking at my watch. The Flatmate’s guy had a different approach. He worked on one of her legs for about 15 minutes and then spent what can only have been two minutes on the other. I think he left her quite confused. I kinda wish we’d spent a little bit more on the package that included the 30 minute massage – I’m pretty sure we would have got a full body massage with that one.
When my guy was finished he asked if we’d like some tea. I never don’t want tea so I obviously said yes. There were a couple of pots of tea on the table in front of us already, along with some little tea glasses but he disappeared. I assumed the stuff on the table was used and he went off to make some more but I never saw him again! Instead, The Flatmate asked someone else passing by and she came and poured some for me (I should have just tried to do that myself earlier!) and brought The Flatmate some water.
After that we were done and basically ran to find some food. I don’t think we ever got the black Moroccan soap, we didn’t get any sweets with our fruit and tea and one of The Flatmate’s legs was left under-massaged but we had been given the face mask instead (which was really good, I actually messaged The Flatmate on the following Monday to tell her how soft my skin still was) and we weren’t unsatisfied. I did feel that, all in all, the day was quite expensive, particularly considering we only paid half price, but I can’t deny that I felt very relaxed as I lay in that little spa cave and ate fruit in the Moroccan den. It certainly did feel like a little break from London, even though we never left Edgware Road.