Having written about Russie Blanche and their products in the past, I was very excited to learn that you could have their signature treatments not just at the Spa at Le Bristol Hotel in Paris, but now in London too, exclusively at K-Spa West in Shepherd’s Bush, so that’s where my feet carried me last weekend.
K West Hotel & Spa is located very close to Westfield London, so while it’s not in Central London, it feels great to go to a Spa slightly off the beaten track. I parked in Richmond way, where the hotel is but couldn’t figure out where to go from the high street-left, right? The assistant at the florist made pleading eyes at me, as her English was very basic and the gentleman ,working at the grocery store opposite it, joked that I will have to buy something from his store in order to get the directions and pointed the building out to me, in the very near proximity, so I entered the hotel slightly out of breath but my worries started to evaporate as soon as I entered the Spa.
It’s a fairly modern spa, with the reception area and the waiting area that you can glance through the glass entrance-a calming beige, brown, grey and white colour design combination and curved chairs, that look very inviting. Michael, my therapist for the Russie Blanche treatment was waiting for me, radiating inner calm. I was then whisked off by a female therapist to the female changing room, given the key to my locker and told to change into the white fluffy bathrobe and slippers that are provided and go to back to the reception. Even though it was Saturday morning the spa was busy, with women of different ages and nationalities starting their day on a good, esthetically pleasing note !
I quickly changed and walked back, through a long carpeted corridor that makes you feel like you are on another planet, with a much quietter rhythm. Michael, who has been with the K-Spa for the past six years, led me to the double treatment room, which has its own sauna and shower next to each other. I was asked to fill in the routine spa questionnaire and then Michael went through the Russie Blanche Banya de-stress massage ritual ( I was supposed to have a detox massage but as I was recovering from a bad cold, Michael agreed that a de-stress treatment will be better, as it also helps to detox and tone the body, in a slightly gentler way ) that he was going to give me. Listening to his quiet speech I felt even more relaxed and then I was left to my own devices, to change and get ready for the sauna.
Michael prepared the venik leaves ( a traditional venik is made out of birch leaves and branches that actually are shipped to London from Russia ) by soaking them in hot water to help them soften and also let the 100% natural essential oils from Russie Blanche de-stress line seep into the water. I sat at the top shelf of the sauna, in paper knickers and a towel covering my female forms, while Michael gently, yet vigorously tapped the venik leaves all over my body, paying particular attention to my shoulders and back. I then dashed into the shower to wash everything off with a cool water and then Michale did a second round of the venik tapping and left me for a short while to sit in the sauna and sweat the toxins out. I then gratefully accepted some cool water to drink and had another cool shower ( those water/air changes, hot in the sauna and cool in the shower are very beneficial to your body and your cardiovascular health and the immune system-unless you have medical contradictions ).
Russians have always had sauna and banya in their health arsenal, as it strengthens your body, builds your immunity and is also an opportunity not to just relax and de-stress, but also catch up with friends or family members and currently in Russia banyas are undergoing a renaissance of sorts, with people, young and old, as well as children take part in this wonderful ritual.
I was told by Michael to make myself comfortable on the treatment bed with my head down, while Michael started to scrub my body with Russie Blanche salt caviar body polish ( it combines Siberian golden root with Siberian pine and grapefruit essential oils) which not only gets rid of the dead skin cells, but essential oils in it help your skin to soften and to glow and your whole body feels renewed, de-stressed and ache free. Michael has been practising for 17 years, having worked in the past on luxury cruises, as well as the Spa at Chancery Court and Mandarin Oriental spa in London, so you feel comfortable in his hands. The massage covers every part of your body, starting from the legs and going up to your shoulders and neck ( you also get some very relaxing head massage ), before you turn over and the ritual is repeated on your front-area by area. I particularly liked the scrubbing around my stomach area and the shoulders and back. Michael has left no piece of my skin unscrubbed, so when I went to shower under the warm water I made sure that I washed everything off. My skin felt very soft and supple to the touch, yet I felt more awake and quite re-energised when I exited the shower.
After I towel dried myself, I went back to the treatment room ( with Michael giving me a glass of vitamin water to drink ) and got down on the treatment table again, for the next and final stage of my treatment, the massage. Michael told me that Julia Lemigova ( the former model who created Russie Blanche ) and her team came to the spa before the treatments were launched and did a two week vigorous training, to make sure that the therapists knew the products and techniques used to benefit the clients and Michael said that it was a really enjoyable process, as well as the opportunity to meet Julia, who seems very knowledgeable when it comes to massage techniques, her products, ingredients and health benefits that treatments produce ( you can also have Russie Blanche facials at the spa ).
The massage used in Russie Blanche treatments is a combination of traditional Swedish combined with French and Russian techniques and I found that it was hard to stay awake, as Michael massaged my body and managed to find my really sore points, around the upper back and neck area. He also stretched my upper body, with very clever positioning of my arms, as I let go of the troubles and stress of the past week and enjoyed the relaxing sensation of the massage with Russie Blanche oils and the tensions leaving my body.
At some stage I started to feel slightly cold, but before I had a chance to open my mouth, Michael must have sensed it and asked me if I felt warm enough. He adjusted the air-conditioning and covered me with an extra towel, so within minutes I felt as snug and relaxed, as a sleepy and content newborn.
With the massage finished, I felt almost sad to come out of my calm cocoon ( the only small suggestion that I can level here is that it would have been nice to have a warming cup of tea with honey here, post treatment, but that’s just an idea that popped into my head, judging by my own past experience in the banya), but the day stretched ahead, so I got up and walked out of the treatment room, feeling quietly at peace with myself. I thanked Michael, who was waiting for me outside, as he really is a wonderful therapist, knowledgeable and sensitive to his clients needs, and walked past the reception area back to the changing room, my mind calm and clear and my body feeling soft and supple, with rigor in my step that lasted all day and my skin bearing the slight uplifting smell of Russie Blanche essential oils.
Russie Blanche salt caviar scrub: £65 for 30 mins, £95 for 55mins
Russie Blanche Banya De-Stresse Massage: £95 for 55 mins, £115 for 85 mins
You can purchase the full range of Russie Blanche products ( for both face & body ) from the Spa, as well as have signature Russie Blanche facial