Below the bustle of Leicester Square and, indeed, the bustle of most of the world itself, lies a spa and wellness sanctuary aptly named, The Retreat. Designed by world famous hospitality design firm Yabu Pushelberg and in collaboration with architects Woods Bagot, the urban oasis is just a small part of the grand, sprawling design of the Londoner hotel, though it rests like a gem deep beneath the earth.
Having just opened this month, and featuring an impressive range of innovative treatments for hotel guests and members alike, the hideaway takes full advantage of the Londoner’s “iceberg-like design” from Woods Bagot that turns the hotel into an urban counterpart of the sprawling, fielded estates often used in wellness retreats. It also just happens to be one of the largest, inhabitable subterranean spaces in the world.
A Sanctuary Rooted in Wellness
Occupying four floors of the eight-floor belowground complex, the approach to the space is an experience all its own, with Yabu Pushelberg stating they wanted a look that would entice guests to venture past the main hospitality area.
The team elected to take inspiration from theater, with some 400 artworks lining the underground hallways. Cascading lights, mirrored surfaces and even bronze stairways offer, as George Yabu, founder of Yabu Pushelberg, describes it, “something beautifully unique” in every space; the layout, a gentle hand guiding guests down to the wellspring depths.
Once there, guests finally come upon The Retreat: an eclectic fusion of physical fitness, wellness practices and results-driven therapies to hotel guests and members alike. Here, the amenities on offer include a state-of-the-art private gym studio, luxe pool and hydro-pool, sauna, steam room, barber, blow-dry parlour and nail bar, as well as a nutritional oasis known as Refuel to help individuals feel renewed and re-energized throughout their stay.
Artificial skylights fill the pool area with an enriching mimicry of sunlight filtered through frosted glass, making most people forget how far below the earth’s surface they actually are. The juxtaposition of materials meanwhile, set the stage for unique environmental interactions, such as the wood-lined alcoves providing a notable sanctuary within the stone-wrought basin. The neutral, yet warm color palette throughout the entire space complements the comforting airs of the spa.
To cap it off, individuals can also engage with any number of The Retreat’s nourishing holistic treatments and medical-backed therapies that help set the location apart with a unique wellness experience when combined with the space’s other amenities. Medical consultations, osteopathic treatments, medical acupuncture, physiotherapy and bespoke medical rehabilitation are all available at the venue.
Sustainability Tucked Into Every Corner
In creating both the space and the amenities at The Retreat, careful consideration was taken for each brand, according to Stefani Stead, spa and wellness manager, The Londoner in an article with The Evening Standard . Those that were chosen to contribute to the project and services were selected due to their reputation as experts in their fields of practice. This way, each guest can leave the space with the best possible results. Likewise, partners such as Refuel, were chosen due to their use of scientific ingredients alongside a strong commitment to sustainable practices.
“From the moment I conceptualized The Retreat, I knew it had to be unique,” says Stead. “From a truly environmentally friendly and results-driven line of products and brands to the very best in modern and traditional techniques, I want every guest to leave The Retreat feeling invigorated and energized to match the pace of this fabulous city.”
This focus on sustainability runs throughout The Londoner’s overall design, with a dedication that has helped set a new standard for luxury hospitality. From producing their own electricity on-site right down to selecting only sustainable materials throughout the construction of the hotel, The Londoner has consistently pioneered new methods of sustainable luxury throughout its design. The hotel has even secured a £175 million (238 million USD) Green Loan from HSBC UK, a first for the hospitality sector, further cementing the hotel’s status as one of the greenest luxury hotels in the world.