Tried & Tested: the Nobu Hotel Spa in Shoreditch

This is where the magic happens in the Nobu Hotel Spa

The Nobu Hotel in Shoreditch has fast become one of the top places to be seen in East London.

And while its huge restaurant with impressive sushi bar is certainly the biggest calling card, the luxury hotel’s underground spa facilities are also well worth experiencing.

The small retreat is a bubble of calm and escape within London. The changing facilities have their own large white-tiled steam rooms so, even if you only book a short massage, you can spend plenty of time warming up inside.

And in terms of treatments, you’re spoilt for choice. They offer a whole host of scrubs, massages, facials and beauty services, however, the ‘Nobu Nagomi Ritual’ is the piece de resistance.

What is it?

The Nagomi Ritual is a blend of a few different treatments. During the 75-minute experience, guests get a full-body exfoliation as well as a lengthy body and facial massage.

But if you’re not into the scrub and feel your skin is already silky smooth then we’d recommend you go straight for the Nobu Zen Ritual instead. This takes the time used to scrub, and feeds right into an even longer full body massage. By the end of it you’ll feel like jelly.

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Couples massages at the Nobu are becoming increasingly popular too

How does it work?

Before you even pop out of your robe, the team at Nobu will get you to fill out a little questionnaire. They call it the five-element consultation (yes, we thought there were only four elements too).

You’ll be asked your favourite time of the year, preferred colour and tastes, how you want to feel at the end of the ritual and your favourite time for a bath or shower. They all sound like slightly bizarre questions, but the team uses the information to determine your element. Your element will help them decide on how your massage will go, mostly dictating the kinds of oils and scents they will use.

They’ll then tuck you into the massage table and begin with the exfoliation. Using an all-natural coconut shell scrub, the massage therapist will lightly scrub off your dead skin cells – which all too often accumulate during winter – before asking you to use the hidden shower in the room to wash it all off.

Once you return to the table, the new skin will then be coated in oils and hot steamed towels full of incense. They’ll also periodically get you to take deep breaths of their natural aromas to help you relax and sink into a state of total comfort.

The signature Nobu massage is the main affair here, and will be tailored to every individual’s needs by using techniques from across the world. No two bodies are alike. No one treatment fits them all. The multi-talented artisans utilise a combination of several massage techniques to create a completely customised treatment that addresses each person’s specific needs.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of this treatment are highly dependent on what you’re wanting to get from it.

If you go in wanting to feel energised and rejuvenated, they’ll focus on stimulating your senses through particular scents and your muscles through specific massage techniques. But if you’re wanting more of a detox and relaxation, then they will adjust the ritual accordingly.

But a common benefit is that of escapism. For 75 minutes the rest of the world disappears. Stress and tension simply melt away. This is such a difficult goal to achieve. Some can find it through meditation, exercise or even food. But this spa treatment has got to be the best way to go about it; especially when they get to the face massage.

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Come back to the real world slowly after your treatment, sipping on tea and reading some magazines in their relaxation space

By this point, your whole body has really been broken down and put back together by the massage therapist and you’ve become one with the massage table. And once they start massaging your temples and scalp you become putty in their hands. It is an incredible sensation that these professionals are so skilled in.

They’ll eventually guide you back into the reading room (maybe needing some help as you’ve forgotten how to walk, talk and deal with brighter lights). Here they’ll bring you some tea and let you reawaken, only leaving once you’re ready to head back into the City life again.

How much?

The Nagomi Ritual costs £155 on weekdays and £175 on weekends, while the 60-minute massages begin at £120 and facials start off at £55. This all includes access to their changing facilities and steam room.

Where is it?

10-50 Willow Street EC2A 4BH.