Covent Garden's women-only spa is still going strong after almost thirty years in the business. Its signature koi carp lounge provides a wonderful space to chill out - white robe, drink, magazine, comfy loungers - in between treatments (of which there's a good, reasonably priced selection), dips in either of the two pools, or sessions in the sauna, hammam or whirlpools.
Really disappointed with The Sanctuary. It is an expensive day at £150 (including a facial). On arrival showers or swimming pool were not working. No apologies and complaints fell on deaf ears. I agree with previous comments about towels not picked up so that by the afternoon it looks like a launderette. Great facial was only redeeming point.
by Fionamccormack, 12 Jul 2013
I have used the Sanctuary since I was 18 (I'm now 43). It has definitely changed image and clientle over the years, but I was only there last week and I still enjoy the experience. The staff on this particular visit didn't offer the greatest customer service but I would like to think it was a one-off. I took my mother-in-law this time and she loved the whole experience too. It is not as exclusive as it once was, but it is still a fantastic day. I am visiting again soon with a friend and can't wait.
Over the years I have gone with friends and on occasion on my own, and to be honest I would recommend it to anybody. I would say if you want peace and tranquility then the best days to go are a Tuesday or Wednesday (should have kept that quiet as it will now become busy!).
by Vanessa67, 31 Aug 2012
Horrible experience. If you want relaxation then I suggest that you don't spend the day here. Overcrowded, noisy and dirty, the pool area was very unclean, the koi carp area was jam packed.
by smithkaren1972, 02 Jul 2012
I was given a half day at the Sanctuary for my first mothers' day this year. It was a lovely thought, but unfortunately I just couldn't wait to leave. The place was overcrowded and loud, definitely not relaxing. Their infra-red sauna gimmick felt a bit like sitting in front of your granny's two bar heater. The food was awful and overpriced. The products are cheap and nasty and not freely available as they advertise. No one showed me around.
The spa hasn't found a way to discreetly take dirty towels out, so while I was trying to relax on my plether bench in the Koi Carp Lounge, staff were dragging huge plastic bags of dirty washing by my feet. Far from being relaxing, the whole place feels like an exercise in extreme commercialism.
The therapists were lovely and the Skin Spa - run by the Sanctuary, but not actually part of it - offered brilliant treatments. Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough to make this place even remotely enjoyable.
I won't be returning. Even if I got another gift certificate I just wouldn't bother to use it. Sorry Sanctuary, but the experience was really awful.
by brookofdonny, 31 Mar 2012
I went to a spa day at The Sanctuary in London last month and it was wonderful.
The spa itself is gorgeous - such a beautiful old building and tastefully decorated. It is on lots of levels, which makes it very interesting, although a little disorientating at times (in a good way)! And so quiet too - you'd never guess you were in the centre of London.
The therapists and helpers were really friendly and not at all stand off-ish, as I've found some other spa places to be.
There are a few reviews on here that said how cold it was. Maybe they had a heating problem but it seems to be fixed now because that was not my experience at all.
In short, I would definitely go again - it was a lovely day.
by Fizz-Pop, 18 Apr 2011
My friend and I went to this spa for the day and we did enjoy it apart from the fact it was cold. It only started to heat up in the afternoon, which isn't good enough. The exercise pool was freezing. Overall, I won't go back because of the lack of warmth.
by telah1, 19 Feb 2011
Had a really disappointing day at the Sanctuary Spa in Covent Garden. I had taken my Mum as a birthday present and we had planned to spend the whole day relaxing but left at 2pm as it was too cold to stay. We did mention this to staff but they were completely uninterested; I have since emailed to complain and this has also been ignored.
They provide blankets but these are shared around everyone, and I really think that you should not need to be wrapped in a blanket to be warm at a spa! Their exercise pool is freezing cold and there were pools and rooms that were out of order, along with noisy building works. Food and drinks are also extortionate prices.
by gemmbalina, 07 Dec 2010
I popped into the spa today to get an express manicure (on my lunch break). The lady behind the desk told me I would have to pay an admissions fee to have the treatment. I didn't know what she meant as I have never been before, so she showed me the price list and I would have had to pay £45 on top of the £32 for the manicure - i.e. £77 just for a file and polish change! That is absolutely ridiculous. At least give customers the option to walk in and out - what if you get people who don't want to stay for the day?
by s.bhamid, 04 Jun 2010
I took my mum to Sanctuary on a Thursday. We had a fantastic day. I was a bit worried after reading some of the reviews but was really impressed. The staff were really helpful and friendly and genuinely seemed like they wanted to help you have a fab day.
We had a treatment each: my mum had the La Saltane signature and I had the Aroma Bliss
. My mum was so impressed with her top-to-toe body massage, and the Aroma Bliss
that I had was really relaxing. My mum also had a pedicure which was nearly an hour long and her feet looked and felt amazing. We tried out the sleep retreat, which was a nice experience, and spent loads of time lounging around. The food was fab too. My mum had a Caesar salad and I had vegetarian enchiladas, which were lovely. We were having such a fantastic day that we didn't want to leave.
Obviously it is expensive at this spa, but I felt that it was really worth it. I think it's a good idea to bring a plastic bottle of water with you as there were not that many water fountains and I find it helpful to have water with me in the sauna otherwise I can't stay in there very long! The only reason I would give it a 4 rather than 5 is because I think it could be a bit cheaper. I will be visiting again next year - I can't come back before that as I need to save - but it's definitely worth it for a treat!
by leanybean, 04 May 2010
I went to the spa for a relaxing day and had a facial. It was the worst spa I have ever visited and not at all relaxing. The facilities were dirty and crowded, the staff were rude, and the facial was more like a car wash and a sales pitch rolled into one.
by sgrimster, 18 Mar 2010
Sanctuary is an amazing experience and the refurb is lovely. I have been to many different spas in London and the UK, as it is a hobby of mine. I first went to Sanctuary 3 years ago and I much admit it was looking tired, so I was very happy to see the difference.
I have also just been to the skin spa, where I was greeted by a beautiful girl offering mint teas and she was very friendly and kind. The girls are trained skin specialists and I had a microderabrasion with a lovely lady called Van. Her knowledge was overwhelming, and I will definitely be visiting skin spa again as it is sooo convenient.
Sanctuary is a welcoming and friendly environment and I will be returning again soon.
by suziesuzie, 22 Feb 2010
Sorry, I think this place is overpriced and overrated. I have been twice with the same friend. On the first occasion her treatment was poor and on the second she left in tears as the treatment given was incorrect (the therapist got it wrong) and the reception staff were rude and dismissive, not even giving her all of her money back (and the treatments are expensive). You pay for a nice day out and you do not expect to be treated like that. Also, the food and drink is ridiculously overpriced. I'd go to Champneys!
by lorraine_munday, 05 Feb 2010
I was treated to a champagne brunch spa day at Sanctuary for my 26th birthday. I can honestly say that I was very disappointed and upset with the attitude and rudeness of the staff towards me and my sister and how very pretentious they act around their clientele. To top things off, we were disgusted to see there was a mouse running around the koi carp lougne whilst we were eating brunch. All in all, not a particularly nice experience. Certainly won't be visiting again or recommending the Sanctuary to anyone.
by clairetia, 13 Jan 2010
Roxan Kaur is an amazing massage therapist, especially for deep tissue! WOW!!
by relaxed one, 25 Aug 2009
My mum, sister and I had a lovely day at the spa in celebration of my sister's 30th birthday. We all had a wonderfully relaxing time in idyllic surroundings, the staff were extremely polite and helpful, the treatments were lovely and the food at the champagne brunch was very enjoyable. All in all, well worth the money and we would definitely visit again.
by joanna.snell, 02 May 2009
My sisters and I have been going to the Sanctuary for our birthdays and we usually go on a Sunday from 10am and spend the day there. It's a great way to relax and it's not that crowded on a Sunday. We have our champagne breakfast, chill out in our robes, have a 50 min massage, use the pool and sauna, relax by the carp lounge and chat, order from the bar, visit the Sanctuary shop where we can try their products before we purchase them, and relax in the lounge for some late lunch. Warm and friendly, we always come out feeling refreshed. I would recommend this spa to my friends.
by sheilamothee, 06 Jan 2009
I have just returned from a wonderful day at the Sanctuary in Covent Garden. My last visit to the spa was 4 years ago and there have been so many changes. It was so relaxing and a complete escape. The staff are warm and friendly and not pretentious like they are in some spas. The food was a surprise also - lovely! A great experience and I was totally de-stressed when my day was finished. Would certainly recommend this spa to all my friends.
by Syl21, 14 Dec 2008
Horrible experience. Never, never again! My therapist, Katrina, rushed through the whole treatment yesterday - she exfoliated in 10 mins, shower, slapped cream on and left me to 'relax' on my own for 30 mins. I paid £90 for this Nourishing Kyphi treatment. I could scream!
The food is overpriced, takes about 40 mins to arrive and has no flavour. In the Sleep Chamber it would have been better to have had some nice soft relaxing music as opposed to some lady telling you to "Leave your worries and troubles and relax"!! As for the gift shop, the staff were more interested in getting you to buy the products than letting you just try them out and indulge.
by KiranK (2 reviews
), 23 Oct 2008
Firstly, if you are going on your own and in need of a really good chill-out DO NOT go on a Friday or Saturday. It is not only overcrowded but full of groups who want a good chinwag all day long. I have been several times over the past 4 years and it is getting more and more expensive whilst at the same time you seem to get less for your money. If you don't mind stairs it is OK, but if you do... then oh dear. The koi carp lounge can get very noisy and the sleep chamber above therefore isn't very restful. The worst thing is the food - it's overpriced and not all that nice. Steer clear of buying stuff in the shop, as you can get it all in Boots and save your shoulders on the way home.
by hipchick1971, 02 Jul 2008
Horrible place. You will go out more stressed than when you came in. It's completely crowded and they don't have any idea about customer care. They just want to maximise profit. I wouldn't recommended this spa to anyone.
by nessi_, 29 May 2008
Have we missed a great spa in London?
Let us know.