Hotel Wellness: Cutting-Edge Treatments In A Former Prison Cell

A former police cell is perhaps not the most obvious choice of place for a relaxing treatment, but that is where one of London’s leading facialists is found. Previously the Bow Street Magistrate’s Court and Police Station, NoMad London is not only one of London’s most stylish hotels, but it is also home to an ongoing residency by facialist Katie England, who works out of what was once a former holding cell for the Magistrate’s Court found on the first floor of the reimagined hotel.

Apart from the prison’s steel door, complete with locks and bolts, and the original subway tiles on the walls, the room’s former life is well-disguised. The room is softened with large-scale modern art propped against the walls, dusty pink velvet chairs, opulent drapes and golden lighting. There’s a glamorous bathroom and playing low as the soundtrack is New York-style jazz–as if you’ve suddenly popped into a holistic version of The Blue Note. Centre-stage is the treatment bed–a cosy, warm and cloud-like affair, where you can have Katie’s signature Natural Face Lifts, during which she uses buccal massage (a massage that takes place inside the mouth to release tension in the jaw and to stimulate face muscles), all while you are covered with a soft duvet to drift off to sleep.

Katie’s expertise comes after a decade in the beauty industry. Her approach is to design each treatment around individual clients, and she offers specialist knowledge and technical training in facial cupping, natural rejuvenation and facial contouring, intraoral massage, micro-needling and chemical peels. “By understanding each client’s lifestyle, commitments, skin needs and the overall outcomes they’d like to achieve, I set about to create ‘skin journeys’ that shine in many more ways than through the skin alone,” she says.

When NoMad London opened in May 2021 in London’s Covent Garden–directly opposite the Royal Opera House–it signalled the start of a new era of hotels for the city. Gone were the restrained confinements of the pandemic and, instead, in came a positive optimism for the future. This played out with New York-based interior designers Roman and Williams’s opulent and cossetting aesthetic for the hotel. There is artwork everywhere–in fact, more than 1,600 pieces are found throughout the property–and decadent touches, with jewel colours, velvet seating and hidden corners to retreat to. The sunken restaurant is a stunning centrepiece, carved out of the courthouse, in what is now a glass atrium full of hanging plants. It all adds to the sense that this is a place that has captured a carefree, jubilant mood of the post-pandemic time.

This vibe is also harnessed by Katie England–seen in the design of her treatment room, yes, but also in her approach to in-hotel beauty (as well as catering for guests, she also has a burgeoning client list of theatre stars and high-earning lawyers who work in the area). Priding herself on curating a cutting-edge-treatment list–she only works with brands and treatments she wholly believes in and which give excellent results–she is one of the few therapists in London to offer the new-in-the-UK Byonik Pulse-Triggered Laser Facial.

The hi tech treatment is guided by your own pulse–you wear a pulse-reader on your finger during the session. Working in sync with this, the cold laser is gently scanned acroos your face, and works to repair skin cells and restore and promote collagen and elastin production to give you a youthful glow. In short, the laser treats every skin type and is an instant boost for the complexion–improving the volume, quality, contours and signs of ageing skin. The method also instantly reduces skin irritations, redness, promotes healing, reduces inflammation and deeply hydrates the skin from directly within the skin cells, not just around them.

Before the laser treatment begins, Kate deep cleanses the face and dehydrates it before using a double dose of hyaluronic extraction, which penetrates deep in the cells. “Dehydrating the skin may sound counterintuitive,” she explains, “but by stripping the skin back this way, it is ready to receive even more moisture to plump it up.”

At the same time, you can opt to ‘wear’ the Slimyonik Air Bodystyler–a type of pneumatic pressure massage machine that increases the flow of the lymphatic system to help with inflammation, blood flow, digestion and gut function. Like a space suit for the legs, as it starts you begin to feel waves of pulsing pressure across the legs and abdomen–a bit like you are having a massage by 20 or so firm hands. The waves of constriction are weirdly relaxing, but the deep pressure is also working hard to boost the metabolism, even in the deeper layers of connective tissue, triggering detoxifying processes and allowing waste and fat deposits to be broken down, washed out and eliminated.

Ending with a hydrating facial massage, Katie advises clients that the best results are after a course of six sessions over a period of two or three weeks. “The technology is most effective and optimal when carried out as a course of six sessions with results still visible after a year,” says Katie. “Byonik offers immediate and highly effective pain-free results and can be applied to a wide range of dermatological and aesthetic needs. By the end of a course, clients can expect a reduction of moderate to deep wrinkles. Skin is hydrated and water retained in the skin making for long-term moisturisation. Skin tone has become more even and has more volume, is firmer and toned.”

Furthermore, combined with the Slimyonik, Katie advises that the treatment is one that is perfect for frequent travelers, not only because it deeply hydrates the skin but also as an effective detoxifying therapy after being in the air for hours.

“Byonik and Slimyonik make for the ultimate skin and wellness partners both before and after flying and travelling long-haul,” she says. “Before travelling, Byonik preps the skin with a surge of hydration and when you’re back, they work together to detox the lymph from the stomach down, oxygenate your cells and repair any damage and dehydration from the sun.”

As you pad out of the cell, the strains of Miles Davis ringing in your ears, NoMad’s Library Bar, found adjacent to the lobby, is the perfect pitstop to refuel. Not only is there a cocktail menu with innovative non-alcoholic choices (”Remember to hydrate!” as Katie has just told you), but it also includes a floor-plan of the library of books themselves, so you can sit adjacent to works on ‘Theatre & Dance’; ‘Music’ or ‘Poetry’. It’s another touch that proves that NoMad is a hotel that offers a ‘glow-up’ for the body and face, but also for the mind as well.

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