Behind Pavilion Spa

The spa at Dorsett group’s first UK hotel blends vintage charm with eastern philosophies to offer affordable results, discovers Eve Oxberry

2._pavilion_relaxation_lounge_webLocated in the famous glass roof of what used to be Shepherds Bush Pavilion, the new Pavilion Spa marks a double first for owner Dorsett Hotels. Part of the Asian group’s inaugural UK hotel, it is also the first company-run spa. And with Dorsett’s ambitious plans for the UK, which include a further four London hotels in the next five years, the spa is likely to set the model for more.

The hotel’s general manager Hillary Cross joined from nearby K West, which is well known locally for its luxury spa with wet facilities. “I wanted to make the spa here very different rather than going into direct competition,” says Cross. Pavilion has more of a high-end salon philosophy, with small heat rooms but a strong focus on affordable, results-driven treatments, including high-tech machines and entry-level maintenance treatments.

“We really learnt from the shift in the market away from the luxury day spa offer, seen through changes like the closure of The Sanctuary in Covent Garden,” says spa manager Elle Bretagne, who joined in February well ahead of the spa’s opening at the end of July.

With prices such as £40 for a 30-minute massage or facial and £35 for an hour’s gel-polish mani, TheDorsett’s treatments come in well below most London hotels and Bretagne says the idea was to bridge the gap between poor quality services and over-priced luxury. “A lot of spas price their manicures very highly, for example, but in doing that they are driving consumers to cut-price nail bars because the gap is too big,” says Bretagne. “Ours is only about £5 more and you have a beautiful environment, you have the hygiene and the confidence.”