First look at The Langley Spa
Four years and a multi-million-pound investment have been poured into restoring the Duke of Marlborough’s former estate in the Berkshire countryside into the ultimate example of classic British luxury.
Set in the 500-acre Langley Park, just 40 minutes outside of London, The Langley, set to open in late autumn this year, will encompass 41 bedrooms across a boutique hotel in a historic mansion and Grade II-listed 18th century outbuilding, with an extensive subterranean spa.
“The owner’s vision for the spa is all about luxury, space and privacy, making each guest feel as though they’re the only one there,” says spa manager Alex James, who’s previous experience includes a role as health club and spa manager at The Landmark London and seven years in the Mandarin Oriental’s spa division. “People will pay a lot of money to come here and have treatments, and we have to make sure every guest feels special but not intimidatingly so; we’re going to make them feel cosy, warm and relaxed.”
It’s hard to choose just one USP among the plans for the 17,000sq ft spa. There’s the three saunas, each featuring a back wall of juniper wood; steam rooms with giant healing crystal focal points; a women’s-only thermal area and the only hammam to be found in a spa for miles. The latter could seem an unusual choice given the property’s British countryside heritage, but James says: “Having a hammam in the spa was very important to the owner; he’s very familiar with the treatment himself and we’re going to make sure we do it properly. The thermal experiences here are key; we have a hugely extensive offer and the hammam is extending the therapy side of that.”
James says the hammam will strive to provide an authentic experience “but with all those luxurious touches”, which feature throughout the spa. These touches are engrained in the spa’s interior and include the gold-rimmed wall panelling, pink-toned mother of pearl tiles that line the women’s-only dip pool and the sumptuous fabric that will cover the cushioned seating area in each of the five expansive treatment rooms, built into alcoves in the wall. This will serve as a consultation area – another effort to create privacy for clients – and will be where the spa’s signature foot ritual is carried out at the start of every treatment.
“We built a cocooned consultation area into each treatment room, as well as a shower, toilet and changing room. It’s about clients having time and not feeling rushed and as though they have to get straight out of the room,” explains James. “We’ll have to build more time into treatment for that but we’ll manage it in a way whereby therapists will actually have more time to tidy up and prepare for their next treatment as the previous client’s getting ready.”
James says the spa is likely to open with five therapists and one head therapist. Also under the spa staff umbrella will be a reception team, personal trainers, waiters who will serve guests food and drinks in the spa’s social lounge, spa butlers and leisure attendants.
“Our therapists will undergo six weeks of training for treatments alone, so it’s quite extensive,” says James. While the spa hasn’t confirmed the details of its menu, James does say that a lot of the treatments will be integrated into journeys through the spa. “It’ll be a different, exciting menu. We want it to be about people’s time and their unique journey through the spa rather than just about having a treatment and leaving, so there will be a lot of different elements combined.” For example, there will be options for guests to have certain treatments in some of the heat facilities. “Some of our massages could be done in the hammam. We want people to take time with us, enjoy their experience and feel like they’ve escaped,” says James.
The Langley’s core product house will be French luxury skincare brand Sisley, a partnership that James is particularly excited about given the exclusivity of the brand in terms of its spa accounts. “We’re very excited to be getting them on board, not just because its results-driven and absolute luxury, but also because its only in two other spas in the UK, Claridge’s and Fletcher’s Cottage Spa at Archerfield House in Scotland.” Sisley’s anti-ageing facials centre on advanced facial massage techniques using plant-based extracts, and James says signature Langley treatments are also being created.
It was important during the design stages that the spa be thought of as part of the whole property rather than separate from the hotel, says James. Hence why there aren’t separate spa or fitness club memberships, but rather The Langley memberships for the whole property, including accommodation, restaurants, use of open spaces and the spa. “Design elements from the main property are carried through into the spa, and there are also synergies between The Langley’s sister property The Wellesley in Knightsbridge, London, and its two yachts,” says James. Interior design company Dennis Irvine Studios was commissioned for all projects, to ensure consistency.
“The spa will link up with The Wellesley – we’re the country retreat and they’re the city hotel. Anyone staying there who wants to come out to the country and have a spa day, we’re able to arrange that,” says James.
Personal trainer and fitness author Matt Roberts has devised training sessions using the spa’s fitness centre, customisable for members with long-term exercise goals or hotel guests wanting to workout during their stay. “His techniques incorporate really nicely into our quest for results-driven everything,” says James. “We’ll be starting fitness retreats with him in spring 2019 to make use of all the outside space.”
For now, this is the only definite element that will be added later down the line after the spa is open. “It’s important we deliver the initial offering perfectly from day one. We’ll grow and change once we’ve identified the direction we want to take things in. We don’t want to do everything at once, it’s always nice to know you’re going to evolve,” says James.
Opening: Autumn 2018 (exact date TBC)
Size: 17,000sq ft
Treatment rooms: five
Staff: Estimated 25 on opening, including five therapists and one head therapist
Brands: Sisley, Gentlemen’s Tonic, La Sultane de Saba, Margaret Dabbs
Budget: Multi-million-pound project