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Mystery Shopper
The Londoner

The Londoner has been billed as one of the most important hotel openings in the city in recent times. Megan Whitby went along to check it out


My journey starts well when I call to book, with a cheerful staff member guiding me towards the best treatment option.

I’m looking for a 60-minute full-body massage and she steers me towards the Hibernation massage, which is described as a top-to-toe experience delivered using British organic skincare line ila. The rate is £110 (US$148, €132).

I ask about using the thermal area to loosen up beforehand, but I’m told its use comes bundled with a private cabana rental and access to the pool and so would cost an extra £110 for two hours… I politely decline.

A follow-up email is promised, but doesn’t materialise. Given these emails are invaluable for orientation, its non-arrival causes a bumpy start to my experience.

First impressions
Six floors underground, The Londoner’s wellness retreat requires guests to start their journey via an elevator tucked away in the lobby. On arrival I’m greeted with a view into the heart of the spa, pool and thermal suite and relaxation areas. Interiors are in pale browns, with an abundance of marble.

A receptionist arrives to confirm my booking, and leads me past the Refuel wellness bar, barber, hairstylist and manicure areas to the changing room.

Pre-treatment
This area has a boutique designer vibe with dark marble, black lockers, tall vanity mirrors and grey interior detailing. It’s a pity the ambience is spoiled by slippers strewn on the floor and abandoned tools.

My guide locates a locker with robe and slippers – both supplied by Richard Haworth and embroidered with the Londoner’s logo. She instructs me to return to reception when I’m changed, to complete my pre-treatment questionnaire.

I feel disorientated as there was no explanation of the facilities, so have a look around and find stylish showers and plush toilets, each with a heated seat and electric bidet.

After slipping into a comfy robe and a pair of fluffy slippers, which come with a ‘Take me home!’ cardboard slip – a nice keepsake for guests – I make my way to the front desk and am greeted by a different employee, who tells me she usually manages the wellness bar, but is covering reception. She asks me to take a seat and complete my pre-treatment questionnaire on an iPad, and gestures to the central pool area behind me.

The Retreat is a welcome oasis from the bustle of London’s tourist-heavy Leicester Square and I’m met with a rush of warmth, soothing sounds of running water and a near-perfect replica of natural daylight pouring from the ceiling.

Foregoing the additional access to the private cabanas and pool, I sit on one of three sprawling day beds and enjoy a glass of cold, crisp cucumber water while waiting for my therapist who guides me to my room.

The treatment
The door opens to a gently-lit couples’ treatment room with brushed light brown plaster walls and an ornate circular mirror. Two beds are covered in towels embroidered with the hotel’s logo and the spa products are neatly presented on tall dark wooden shelves.

My therapist explains that my treatment will only be a back and back leg massage, which doesn’t match my booking brief for a full hour. Nevertheless, she makes me comfortable, asks if I’d like the bed heated and enquires about my preferred massage pressure – I opt for no heat and medium-to-firm. She then leaves me to get undressed and slip underneath the towel.

As I position my head into the face hole, I’m left staring at a chair that’s been left tucked under the bed, presumably after someone previously had a facial. Another missed opportunity is that there’s no in-room aromatherapy or introduction to the skincare brand or products being used.

My therapist gently lets me know she’s returned, lowers the towel and starts the treatment on my upper back. I encourage her to be vigorous on the knots in my neck and shoulders from desk-working. She follows my instructions and applies deep pressure, skilfully using her hands to rock me and pinch out tension around my spine and shoulder blades.

It’s a treat having a therapist deliver the treatment mainly with their hands, rather than elbows. She works around my back using sweeping movements, keeping continuity while manoeuvring around the table.

She then covers my back with a towel and places two warm poultices on the lower- and mid-sections. This allows my muscles to relax further and my body slumps deeper onto the bed.

Next, she moves onto my legs and feet which is the stage I most enjoy. She starts by washing them with a warm towel followed by a gentle massage. She then cycles through sequences on both legs, where she massages from top to bottom and finishes by lightly but deftly releasing tension through stretching and bending my foot back towards my thigh. The most blissful part is the finale where she works up the central muscles in my legs.

After this comprehensive massage, the experience ends abruptly as I’m informed it’s complete. I would have preferred a smoother finish to such a skilful treatment, and I also expected to be advised about taking care not to rush leaving the bed. She then leaves to fetch me a mint tea.

Post-treatment
My therapist greets me outside the door with another cucumber water and I then enjoy some post-treatment time in the thermal space before relaxing into one of the day beds where tea arrives in an ornate Japanese-style iron teapot and cup.

The staff member recommends only half filling the cup due to radiant heat, which turns out to be an understatement, as even half-filled, it burns my hand.

As I sit there, I’m not at ease and find myself clock-watching as a result of having been told the poolside is reserved for members and guests who pay for the privilege.

Eventually, I give up on my tea and anxiety about outstaying my welcome gets the better of me, so I return to the changing room to freshen up.

When I arrive to settle my bill, the card machine doesn’t work and I’m asked to sit in the cafe while a replacement is found. The receptionist thanks me for visiting and then, clearly as an afterthought, asks me if I’m interested in buying any products.

Overall impressions
My experience at The Londoner is a mixed bag, with some obvious bumps, particularly with regards to customer journey and service. The spa has a strong treatment menu and good facilities, so any improvement in customer service would definitely elevate the experience to match the surroundings.

"My experience at The Londoner spa was a mixed bag with some obvious bumps, particularly with regards to the customer journey" – Megan Whitby

Right of reply
Stefani Stead, spa manager, The Londoner
Stefani Stead / photo: Andrew Beasley

The Retreat at The Londoner Hotel is a sanctuary in the heart of London. A subterranean wellness floor where guests can relax in private poolside cabanas and enjoy a range of treatments from renowned brands.

Since opening in September 2021, we do our utmost to serve and acknowledge all guests in a timely manner and we welcome feedback as a way of providing the best service.

Ongoing touchpoint staff training is an important area for us and we take feedback concerning these aspects in your report on board. The guest journey has since been amended and clarified with all staff, to ensure the upsell is clear for everyone arriving.

We had an error on our system which has since been rectified and our guests now receive confirmation emails for their bookings. This is something we were aware of and worked on as soon as it came to our attention.

We now also have displays of our retail items within The Retreat for guests to browse, and a dedicated retail area is something we’re working on, and excited to announce in due course.

Drinking water temperature has since been lowered, and we make all guests aware tea is no longer at a temperature that may cause discomfort.

We pride ourselves on ensuring guests have a relaxing experience. We offer a show-around to all guests if they wish. The inconsistency of the spa facilities has been addressed, and it’s now clearer for all clients, whether they’re with us for the day or for just for a treatment.

We’re excited to welcome everyone to the improved Retreat to discover a spa hotel with holistic remedies for body and mind, in a therapeutic setting that quietly soothes.

We welcome honest feedback as a way of providing the best service possible
Wellness is evident around the hotel Credit: Photo: Andrew Beasley
The studio at The Retreat Credit: Photo: Andrew Beasley
The hotel offers a sanctuary in London’s busy West End Credit: Photo: Adrian Houston
The Retreat is located six floors below ground Credit: Photo: Andrew Beasley
Our mystery shopper sat poolside for a hot tea Credit: Photo: Andrew Beasley
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

Maximise spa breaks with Core by Premier Software
Capturing clients’ attention can be challenging against so much competition. That’s why leading spa, wellness and leisure business management system provider Premier Software has partnered with spa booking agency,Spabreaks.com, to redirect focus to your spa and increase bookings. [more...]

Olympia Beauty 2022 set to inspire spa and beauty professionals this October
Autumn’s biggest beauty event, Olympia Beauty, is set to take place on 2-3 October 2022 at Olympia London, UK. [more...]
+ More featured suppliers  
COMPANY PROFILES
Crown Sports Lockers

Crown Sports Lockers has designed, crafted and fitted bespoke timber furniture for spas, hotels and [more...]
Booker by MINDBODY

Our cloud-based platform gives owners and managers back-office access from anywhere. The system enab [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  

VIDEO GALLERY

Sommerhuber GmbH - Ceramic heated LOUNGER ONE PLUS - ultimate relaxation
Lounger One Plus is characterized by an organic aesthetic, delicate contours and an ideal lying comfort. Comfortable ergonomically shaped Heat Storing Ceramics nestle the skin and provide for perfect relaxation – touchless enjoyment meeting the highest hygiene standards. Find out more...
+ More videos  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

12-13 Sep 2022

2022 Salt Therapy Association Conference

Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
12-14 Sep 2022

Spa Life Ireland

Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort , Ballymena, Ireland
+ More diary  
 
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©Cybertrek 2022
News   Products   Magazine
Mystery Shopper
The Londoner

The Londoner has been billed as one of the most important hotel openings in the city in recent times. Megan Whitby went along to check it out


My journey starts well when I call to book, with a cheerful staff member guiding me towards the best treatment option.

I’m looking for a 60-minute full-body massage and she steers me towards the Hibernation massage, which is described as a top-to-toe experience delivered using British organic skincare line ila. The rate is £110 (US$148, €132).

I ask about using the thermal area to loosen up beforehand, but I’m told its use comes bundled with a private cabana rental and access to the pool and so would cost an extra £110 for two hours… I politely decline.

A follow-up email is promised, but doesn’t materialise. Given these emails are invaluable for orientation, its non-arrival causes a bumpy start to my experience.

First impressions
Six floors underground, The Londoner’s wellness retreat requires guests to start their journey via an elevator tucked away in the lobby. On arrival I’m greeted with a view into the heart of the spa, pool and thermal suite and relaxation areas. Interiors are in pale browns, with an abundance of marble.

A receptionist arrives to confirm my booking, and leads me past the Refuel wellness bar, barber, hairstylist and manicure areas to the changing room.

Pre-treatment
This area has a boutique designer vibe with dark marble, black lockers, tall vanity mirrors and grey interior detailing. It’s a pity the ambience is spoiled by slippers strewn on the floor and abandoned tools.

My guide locates a locker with robe and slippers – both supplied by Richard Haworth and embroidered with the Londoner’s logo. She instructs me to return to reception when I’m changed, to complete my pre-treatment questionnaire.

I feel disorientated as there was no explanation of the facilities, so have a look around and find stylish showers and plush toilets, each with a heated seat and electric bidet.

After slipping into a comfy robe and a pair of fluffy slippers, which come with a ‘Take me home!’ cardboard slip – a nice keepsake for guests – I make my way to the front desk and am greeted by a different employee, who tells me she usually manages the wellness bar, but is covering reception. She asks me to take a seat and complete my pre-treatment questionnaire on an iPad, and gestures to the central pool area behind me.

The Retreat is a welcome oasis from the bustle of London’s tourist-heavy Leicester Square and I’m met with a rush of warmth, soothing sounds of running water and a near-perfect replica of natural daylight pouring from the ceiling.

Foregoing the additional access to the private cabanas and pool, I sit on one of three sprawling day beds and enjoy a glass of cold, crisp cucumber water while waiting for my therapist who guides me to my room.

The treatment
The door opens to a gently-lit couples’ treatment room with brushed light brown plaster walls and an ornate circular mirror. Two beds are covered in towels embroidered with the hotel’s logo and the spa products are neatly presented on tall dark wooden shelves.

My therapist explains that my treatment will only be a back and back leg massage, which doesn’t match my booking brief for a full hour. Nevertheless, she makes me comfortable, asks if I’d like the bed heated and enquires about my preferred massage pressure – I opt for no heat and medium-to-firm. She then leaves me to get undressed and slip underneath the towel.

As I position my head into the face hole, I’m left staring at a chair that’s been left tucked under the bed, presumably after someone previously had a facial. Another missed opportunity is that there’s no in-room aromatherapy or introduction to the skincare brand or products being used.

My therapist gently lets me know she’s returned, lowers the towel and starts the treatment on my upper back. I encourage her to be vigorous on the knots in my neck and shoulders from desk-working. She follows my instructions and applies deep pressure, skilfully using her hands to rock me and pinch out tension around my spine and shoulder blades.

It’s a treat having a therapist deliver the treatment mainly with their hands, rather than elbows. She works around my back using sweeping movements, keeping continuity while manoeuvring around the table.

She then covers my back with a towel and places two warm poultices on the lower- and mid-sections. This allows my muscles to relax further and my body slumps deeper onto the bed.

Next, she moves onto my legs and feet which is the stage I most enjoy. She starts by washing them with a warm towel followed by a gentle massage. She then cycles through sequences on both legs, where she massages from top to bottom and finishes by lightly but deftly releasing tension through stretching and bending my foot back towards my thigh. The most blissful part is the finale where she works up the central muscles in my legs.

After this comprehensive massage, the experience ends abruptly as I’m informed it’s complete. I would have preferred a smoother finish to such a skilful treatment, and I also expected to be advised about taking care not to rush leaving the bed. She then leaves to fetch me a mint tea.

Post-treatment
My therapist greets me outside the door with another cucumber water and I then enjoy some post-treatment time in the thermal space before relaxing into one of the day beds where tea arrives in an ornate Japanese-style iron teapot and cup.

The staff member recommends only half filling the cup due to radiant heat, which turns out to be an understatement, as even half-filled, it burns my hand.

As I sit there, I’m not at ease and find myself clock-watching as a result of having been told the poolside is reserved for members and guests who pay for the privilege.

Eventually, I give up on my tea and anxiety about outstaying my welcome gets the better of me, so I return to the changing room to freshen up.

When I arrive to settle my bill, the card machine doesn’t work and I’m asked to sit in the cafe while a replacement is found. The receptionist thanks me for visiting and then, clearly as an afterthought, asks me if I’m interested in buying any products.

Overall impressions
My experience at The Londoner is a mixed bag, with some obvious bumps, particularly with regards to customer journey and service. The spa has a strong treatment menu and good facilities, so any improvement in customer service would definitely elevate the experience to match the surroundings.

"My experience at The Londoner spa was a mixed bag with some obvious bumps, particularly with regards to the customer journey" – Megan Whitby

Right of reply
Stefani Stead, spa manager, The Londoner
Stefani Stead / photo: Andrew Beasley

The Retreat at The Londoner Hotel is a sanctuary in the heart of London. A subterranean wellness floor where guests can relax in private poolside cabanas and enjoy a range of treatments from renowned brands.

Since opening in September 2021, we do our utmost to serve and acknowledge all guests in a timely manner and we welcome feedback as a way of providing the best service.

Ongoing touchpoint staff training is an important area for us and we take feedback concerning these aspects in your report on board. The guest journey has since been amended and clarified with all staff, to ensure the upsell is clear for everyone arriving.

We had an error on our system which has since been rectified and our guests now receive confirmation emails for their bookings. This is something we were aware of and worked on as soon as it came to our attention.

We now also have displays of our retail items within The Retreat for guests to browse, and a dedicated retail area is something we’re working on, and excited to announce in due course.

Drinking water temperature has since been lowered, and we make all guests aware tea is no longer at a temperature that may cause discomfort.

We pride ourselves on ensuring guests have a relaxing experience. We offer a show-around to all guests if they wish. The inconsistency of the spa facilities has been addressed, and it’s now clearer for all clients, whether they’re with us for the day or for just for a treatment.

We’re excited to welcome everyone to the improved Retreat to discover a spa hotel with holistic remedies for body and mind, in a therapeutic setting that quietly soothes.

We welcome honest feedback as a way of providing the best service possible
Wellness is evident around the hotel Credit: Photo: Andrew Beasley
The studio at The Retreat Credit: Photo: Andrew Beasley
The hotel offers a sanctuary in London’s busy West End Credit: Photo: Adrian Houston
The Retreat is located six floors below ground Credit: Photo: Andrew Beasley
Our mystery shopper sat poolside for a hot tea Credit: Photo: Andrew Beasley
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+ More news   
 
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

Maximise spa breaks with Core by Premier Software
Capturing clients’ attention can be challenging against so much competition. That’s why leading spa, wellness and leisure business management system provider Premier Software has partnered with spa booking agency,Spabreaks.com, to redirect focus to your spa and increase bookings. [more...]

Olympia Beauty 2022 set to inspire spa and beauty professionals this October
Autumn’s biggest beauty event, Olympia Beauty, is set to take place on 2-3 October 2022 at Olympia London, UK. [more...]
+ More featured suppliers  
COMPANY PROFILES
Crown Sports Lockers

Crown Sports Lockers has designed, crafted and fitted bespoke timber furniture for spas, hotels and [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  

VIDEO GALLERY

Sommerhuber GmbH - Ceramic heated LOUNGER ONE PLUS - ultimate relaxation
Lounger One Plus is characterized by an organic aesthetic, delicate contours and an ideal lying comfort. Comfortable ergonomically shaped Heat Storing Ceramics nestle the skin and provide for perfect relaxation – touchless enjoyment meeting the highest hygiene standards. Find out more...
+ More videos  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

12-13 Sep 2022

2022 Salt Therapy Association Conference

Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
12-14 Sep 2022

Spa Life Ireland

Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort , Ballymena, Ireland
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2022

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS