A facial for all seasons

SARAH ROBERTS cools down at Spa Verta, at Hotel Verta in London, with an Anne Sémonin Eternal Youth Cryotherapy facial which uses ice cubes for glow and freshness…

Images: Courtesy Anne Sémonin and Hotel Verta


Hotel Verta overlooks the river Thames and is located conveniently for the adjacent Heliport and a good 15-20 minute walk from the nearest tube or rail connections. The style of the 70-bedroom boutique hotel, which opened three years ago, is described as “timeless elegance with modernity”.



Spa Verta is housed in the lower ground floor along with the Vitality Suite (gym, sauna, and pool), an area which is small but perfectly formed. On my visit – a week-day lunchtime – all the facilities were immaculate.




The treatment rooms are spacious and well designed: pull-out padded seats underneath the wardrobe to sit on while you take off your shoes and de-robe. The Anne Sémonin approach is to blend different oils and products to provide a customised treatment for each client. I was told by my therapist that my Eternal Youth Cryotherapy Facial would involve “lots of oils” and I was happy to hear this, since I have dry skin and use oil to moisturise on a daily basis.




Before starting the 55-minute facial I was offered the choice of a hand, foot or neck massage (to be applied later while my face mask got to work). Like many I store tension in my neck and shoulders so I opted for the neck massage. The cleansing, exfoliation and product application was all carried out with an extremely gentle touch. However my petite therapist showed she had some strength when it came to my neck massage, as well as being able to target and work on some knots.




Your ultimate summer spa guide to London


The slightly unusual part came towards the end of the treatment when my therapist applied a specially infused ice cube wrapped in gauze to my face and throat. Apparently it’s a great tonic before a night out and is also an effective jetlag remedy. It did make my skin tingle slightly and was definitely cooling. Since I really don’t like getting overheated this was fine for me, but perhaps not for everyone – especially if you’re the kind of person who likes hot stone treatments (I don’t!)




My skin felt firm and plumped and not at all greasy afterwards. I also enjoyed a delicious tea in the relaxation area – the spa stocks Camella Tea House blends, which boast such whacky flavours as “Skinny B*tch” and “Happiness”. After a happiness tea and a handful of healthy snacks: pecans, cranberries and dates, I felt ready to face the world. Only ruing the fact that I hadn’t brought a swimsuit to road test the pool and the “experience” showers with essential oils, and that there wasn’t a helicopter waiting to whisk me home.


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