DOES a pounding head see you reaching for the ibuprofen? Well perhaps you shouldn’t - because in the same way that we’re taking greater care over our clothes, food and skin product...Read More
The last time I visited Notting Hill’s Colville Mews was in August 2011, to pick up my wedding dress from the Alice Temperley boutique. Since then, I’ve had two children and little reason to return to the pretty cobbled through-road, lovely though it is.
Or at least that was the case, until Cloud Twelve opened last September and founder Jenya Emets brought to life the modern village my weary soul has been longing for since I became a mother six years ago.
This place is manna from heaven: part spa, part wellness clinic, part members’ club for families. It’s a deep-blue double-fronted building with windows painted with golden butterflies that from street level gives the sense of being way up in the air – or blissfully on Cloud Twelve.
This isn’t just somewhere to slink off to for a soothing massage or a cleansing facial – though they do both, and they’re brilliant. Nor is it one of those dreaded indoor play centres parents begrudgingly trudge to on rainy afternoons when the whole family has seen every episode of Peppa Pig 10 times. Instead, the emphasis is on finding emotional and physical balance for everyone, through an array of activities geared towards adults and children. Based on my own experience of trying to find even one activity that appeals to the vast and varied tastes of my little clan of four, this feels like an ambitious concept. Lucky, then, that Emets has a stellar line-up of experts and consultants to make the elusive dream of multi-generational zen a reality.
One of them is Lucy Prew, a specialist in child education and early years learning, who oversees the ‘play and learn’ space and programmes on the ground floor. Here, there’s a forest theme complete with sensory light displays. There are also the sweetest ballet, art and music classrooms imaginable – all worlds away from the primary-coloured and plastic-filled soft-play monstrosities my daughters are used to. When we arrive, my husband and I are offered herbal tea in the welcoming café while the girls settle in under the watchful eyes of the Ofsted-registered assistants. They’re elbow-deep in paint and sequins, poised to create fridge-worthy masterpieces before my ‘Immuni-tea’ (echinacea, hibiscus and cornsilk, in case you wondered) even arrives.
We leave the girls and head upstairs to discover our very own joy-inducing playground: a six-room spa with a menu of Western and Ayurvedic-inspired rituals, masterminded by spa consultant Lisa Barden. There are high-tech anti-ageing facials and treatments for men as well as packages tailored to specific concerns or events (detox, sleep-well and red carpet-ready programmes all pack an impressive holistic punch). For an unbelievably relaxing experience, ask to have your massage or facial on one of their custom-made Dolomite quartz beds: they’re filled with thousands of tiny, warm crystals, which work to reduce inflammation and promote healing. We busied ourselves in the steam room, sauna and Himalayan salt room, before floating across to the nine-seat salon for a quick blow dry using Aveda and vegan American English products. At this point, my husband beat a hasty retreat; I stayed, lured by the immaculate manicures using eco-friendly nail varnish brand Nailberry.
The third and final floor of the club is a wellbeing wonderland catering to nigh on every whim imaginable. Start with a consultation with Emets herself, who is a respected herbalist and naturopath. She’s extremely knowledgeable about nutrition and holistic health, and is the kind of person who makes you feel completely at ease within minutes of meeting. She asks me how I am and I’m about to read off my default script of ‘yes, everything is great and wonderful and I’m so happy’, when I wobble. I admit I’m tired; really, really tired, actually. And I’m fairly sure I’m addicted to Lindt chocolate balls.
Emets responds with gentle, encouraging advice and talks me through the cast of experts she’s enlisted to help the growing gaggle of modern parents on the brink of burnout: Ross Barr for acupuncture, Eve Kalinik for nutrition and Cristabel Barbosa Garcia for osteopathy. Afterwards, I feel uplifted – but it’s nothing compared to how I feel a week later, when a pretty package is delivered to my home. Inside, along with a handwritten note from Emets, are herbal tinctures and infusions – a charming reminder of our meeting and practical help for the aforementioned chocolate addiction.
After my consultation with Emets, I meet ‘colon whisperer’ Victoria Cooper. She’s softly spoken and calm, with a remarkable ability to make a potentially awkward treatment surprisingly dignified. I feel good after the hour-long session – lighter, leaner and more energised. As I glide downstairs to rejoin my family for lunch, I worry how the girls (and my British boarding school-bred husband: ‘Quinoa is not real food’) will respond to the organic, plant-based menu. They’re largely underwhelmed by the water ‘purified using advanced reverse osmosis technology’, but are amazingly enthusiastic about the spaghetti and ‘beetballs’. My husband declares the spiced lentil stew delicious and the gluten-free brownies are a hit all round.
We emerge later that day from our visit to Cloud Twelve feeling revitalised and restored, and that’s when it occurs to me. If it takes a village to raise a child, it certainly takes a village – complete with spa, wellness clinic and organic brasserie – to keep their mother on track.
Tags: Spa | Author: LOUISA PARKER BOWLES