COMO Metropolitan London review
Caroline Sylger Jones reviews a fragrant contemporary haven in W1
As soon as you walk through the door of this stylish hotel on Old Park Lane you’ll imbibe the signature COMO Shambhala Invigorate scent, a beautiful blend of Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lavender and Peppermint essential oils that feels instantly calming. Check in done, you’ll be shown to uncluttered, serene rooms with huge supremely comfy beds. We were lucky enough to stay in the Metropolitan Suite on the 9th floor, which had gorgeous views across the road to Hyde Park.
On a busy three days here during October half term, I spent some welcome precious time in the COMO Shambhala Urban Escape on the second floor, the fragrant holistic zone open to day guests and residents for all manner of nourishing massages and holistic therapies, from the signature COMO Shambhala Massage, Indian Head, Deep Tissue and Thai to reflexology, remedial massage, shiatsu and acupuncture, as well as a range of beauty treatments including facials with Dr Perricone, Dr. Hauschka or Guinot products. There’s no traditional spa or wet area here, but there are single-sex steam rooms, as well as an amazing array of visiting therapists you can book to see according to their availability, from energy healer Paul Lennard and intuitive Susan King to reiki practitioners, acupuncturists and specialists in stress management.
You can pop in for a daytime holistic treatment to soothe your city-ruffled feathers, or do as I did and treat yourself to a Mind, Body & Soul Experience as part of a one or two night stay, which includes a 60-minute massage or facial, a 60-minute specialist treatment, a 60-minute session with a professional personal trainer or yoga teacher, tasty COMO healthy breakfasts and a copy of COMO’s gorgeous cookbook The Pleasures of Eating Well.
Sipping the strong ginger tea in the beautiful all-white reception area, I felt a million miles away from the city outside (there’s a few delightful malas to browse here too, as well as oodles of fragrant products should you need something or want a treat). I joined my two treatments together one late afternoon: Robina deftly handled my face with a delightfully long and effective anti ageing facial using Guinot products, then Marie soothed my muscles with a deeply healing touch in a Como signature massage.
Private yoga came a day later, with down to earth Jane Robertson, a British Wheel of Yoga trained teacher who teaches across the city and who tailored our session beautifully to suit my energy needs. It was 9 am so I thought I’d want an energising practice, but as it happened I had an injured foot and felt mortally tired, so we decided to focus on restorative and yin yoga instead, and I emerged becalmed to face the day ahead. Jane has a great sense of humour, and we found ourselves sharing giggles between asanas, which also helped lift my mood.
Unusually for a city hotel, there are genuinely healthy food options here thanks to the COMO Shambhala Cuisine menu which you can choose to order from at every meal. A tasty balanced mix of raw and cooked ingredients, organic and locally sourced whenever possible, and designed to maximise your take up of the essential enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, they look wonderful and taste delicious – I loved in particular the poached eggs with seasonal greens and garden herb sauce, the ‘Real Toast’ rye bread with avocado, vine-ripened tomatoes, rocket and lime, and the quinoa, pear and cinnamon porridge. For real foodies, famed Japanese restaurant Nobu is on the first floor. It’s buzzy and bright and the food is seriously good.
What’s queenly: The delicious, freshly made COMO Shambhala juice combinations – try a Blood Builder, a Lean & Clean Greens, a Beta Clarity, Muscle Mylk or (my favourite) a Liven Up Your Liver, which is a vitalising blend to support liver function and help cleanse the blood with green apple, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, ginger and turmeric.
What’s lowly: The room where you do private yoga is comfortable and warm, but it’s an enclosed treatment room with no windows.