Dolphin Square is a unique part of Pimlico which is known for several things; it houses a fitness centre, lettings agency, spa and it also literally houses people, with a community of families living there. Situated a few minutes from Pimlico tube, there are many reasons to go and visit (anyone up for AquAllure water cycling?) but I was there for their spa.
At the Spa in Dolphin Square, situated under the fitness area, the most common treatment is the Hamman (with a basic and more luxury version available) and indeed, the whole spa area is based on a Moroccan theme; think dark plush wood, traditional music and even Moroccan-style snacks. However, I wasn’t there for a Hamman, or any of the ‘normal’ treatments, I was there for a pregnancy massage, namely their Sweetness in Bloom treatment.
When you’re pregnant, there seems like a thousand things you can’t do, and this includes getting a massage. After all, no one seems to want to touch you with a barge pole until after your 12 week scan and it’s recommended that you don’t lie on your front of your back after. So how on earth would a pregnancy massage work? I was excited to find out.
At the time of writing, I was 28 weeks + 5 (with roughly 2.5 months to go) and felt fine, if a little achey around the back. I had also started experiencing a bad night’s sleep – maybe due to the pregnancy or maybe to my worries about all the things I wanted to get done before Hungry Bear arrived. A massage would be the perfect thing to reset my stress levels and let me switch off.
After changing into a robe and flip-flops, and with an hour to spare before my appointment (they had to move it back by an hour) I got to relax in one of the two chill-out rooms and was fed snacks and mint tea. Now this was luxury! After getting too toasty in the warmer room (imagine several rows of sexy-looking solid sun-loungers which are heated and good for lying or relaxing on), I moved to the cooler room which had sofas and where you sat more upright (better for the bump). The snacks provided were a selection of baklava-style sweets with fresh orange, a couple of dates and a pot of sweet mint tea.
Before too long (it’s amazing how terribly quickly an hour flies by when you’re doing nothing but relaxing), Grace, my masseuse, came to collect me. After ushering me into a dim and Arabian-style room, we had a quick consultation whilst she pampered my feet with La Sultane de Saba products and discussed my pregnancy. We discussed my allergies (dairy, gluten, soy and sulphates) so she could alter any products used accordingly and I also told her about the unknown flare-ups I sometimes got of eczema on my face. My poor little fat cankles were empathized over and more worryingly, I discovered that there are certain pressure points by the ankle which can induce labour; I made a mental note for my husband to go easy on his rather vigorous ankle massages.
I was pretty impressed by the massage table – not only does it lower (gone are the days when I can easily hop up onto things) but it also transforms into a type of shallow seat. There are 3 sections to the main treatment – a back and shoulder massage which takes place lying on alternate sides with a set of rolled up towels in between my legs to ease the pressure off my hips and bump (we named it Sydney the towel snake – what did they put in those snacks?!!), before we got to the facial. This requires lying on your back (don’t worry, the table adjusts so you’re not lying flat), closing your eyes and relaxing whilst you enjoy a facial. Now don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of facials but not the reality – I find it really hard to breathe solely through my mouth (I used to be a right open-mouthed dribbler as a kid) and I also worry that the products used will react to my skin. However, Grace explained that we’d use really gentle products and I trusted her; I still felt a little tense during the facial but that soon disappeared once I was left to lie there will cool pads on my eyes and the lower leg massage started.
Before too long, our session was over. Only after the obligatory glass of water (it’s believed that drinking plenty of water after a massage helps newly released waste be eliminated more effectively) was I allowed to melt off the bed, with my shoulders now returned to a more relaxed state. Had I not had to rush off, I would have absolutely taken Grace up on her offer to enjoy this dreamy state in one of the relaxation rooms before leaving this little London-based sanctuary.
At nearly £80 for less than an hour, it’s not cheap but it is a treat, especially as it comes with sweet snacks and mint tea included, as well as the use of the relaxation rooms. If you’re feeling heavy and stressed out, then its worth investing in this to help keep your spirits up during the later stages of pregnancy especially. I also thought the choice of products for my skin was excellent and they smelt amazing, most noticeably, the eucalyptus and rose.
At the Spa in Dolphin Square, there’s also free wifi which I love and hate at the same time – I feel like it allows the outside world to invade (and no, I don’t have the discipline not to connect to it when it’s available) yet can also be useful.
The Sweetness in Bloom is one of two massages that are suitable during pregnancy and it encompasses the lower legs, back and face – it feels indulgent and is proper pamper time. The other option is a more straight-forward, functional pregnancy massage.
Who should go: Pregnant women from 12 weeks who would normally love facials and regular massages.
How much: £79 for 55 minutes
Where: The Spa in Dolphin Square, Chichester St, London SW1V 3LX