I woke up this morning filled with anticipation because I had an appointment at the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is a day spa which is located in Covent Garden. I've been told by a local it is one of the first of its kinds and well known. When my reservation was made they suggested I set aside the entire day for the spa and bring along a bathing suit and thongs.
I opted once again for a taxi ride rather than take the tube. I am dreadfully intimidated by London addresses and in the best of situations not very good with directions. I have the girly I can't find it thing going on. If I have time to kill, I don't mind being lost and it isn't such an issue. But when I have an appointment to keep it just makes me overly nervous. To justify my spending all my money on cabs, I decide to forgo a restaurant for dinner and do a supermarket or take away. You see this way I can keep on working and eat at the same time, which I couldn't at a restaurant. I also resolve to take the tube back to the hotel.
If I am going to be really accurate the truth is I asked Hilton's concierge how to get to the tube and which line to take to get to Covent Garden. He pointed me in the proper direction and told me to take a certain street and in 3 minutes I'd see the tube. Well I should have had him get me a map because the direction he pointed in was a huge busy street with cars zooming by and I couldn't see a pedestrian walkway anywhere near it. I veered off the main street on a little side street running parallel to it trying to convince myself this is the street he was talking about not the busy one. And even if it wasn't it was at least going parallel so I could just cut over once the traffic got better. Great idea until my street dead ended and the other was no where to be found. Still hopeful I followed a crowd of people thinking they knew something I didn't. I kept walking not sure how long I'd been traveling and not seeing anything like a tube station. But I did walk right in front of the Anthenaeum Hotel and Apartments which is the next hotel on my trip. I had no idea it was so close to the Hilton. I felt very smug with myself for making that discovery. I walked on a little farther and began to feel panicky so I hailed a cab. Just a few blocks up from where I got into the cab I saw the tube station. I found out it was Green Park station and thought well at least I can take the tube back to the hotel I know how to get to the Hilton from here.
The ride took a long time, traffic was crawling and it turned out to be an expensive cab ride. When I got out of the cab I was in front of the door to a small spa store labeled The Sanctuary.
As stepped inside I thought how charming and intimate it is. I was greeted by a sales clerk asking if I had an appointment. When I said yes, she told me to go through another door, to the top of the stairs and I could check in there. When I got to the top of the stairs I was surprised to see a large reception with over a half a dozen desks checking in loads of women. I started to go to an empty desk and was redirected to the end of a line. It felt like I was in a beehive with productive, efficient, organized bees buzzing all around. I was offered a cup of juice while I waited in line and drank it as I gazed around at the efficiency going on around me.
When my turn came up I was checked in and taken to the changing room. It had the feel of a women's locker room at the gym back home. I'd been given a fancy waterproof bracelet that acted as the key to the lock on my locker. You just hold it against the lock and Bobs your uncle, belongings are locked up tight.
I left the locker room and took a wrong turn, (the place is huge, you'd never know it from the outside of the building), and ended up waddling in my big robe through reception as I made my way to the Orchid Room. I was to have a Boreh treatment an ancient remedy used by Balinese rice farmers after a long day in rice fields. It is full of spices and ginger and is supposed to be very warming and soothing to aching muscles. You'll have to wait for a full account when I write it up in greater detail. A girl has to have her secrets to keep her mysterious. But just as a teaser let me state that the only other woman who has been so private with me is my M.D.!
After my treatment I wandered literally from room to room and floor to floor as I explored the Sanctuary. I had lunch in their restaurant where much to my shock and horror all the other women had on my ensemble, a white terry robe and the waterproof bracelet. It is either a new fashion trend for the ladies who lunch in London or we had all been brainwashed and unknowingly joined the cult of the cotton threads. Either way it was an interesting equalizer, suddenly people's faces and body language popped out. Making it very interesting to study the relationships and interactions they had with each other.
After lunch I left the Sanctuary and headed back to the hotel, determined to tackle the tube, which I did quite easily I might add. I knew the taxi had driven me past Green Park and that was where I intended to get off and retrace my steps to the Hilton. Once on the tube I noticed that the stop after Green Park was Hyde Park Corner which I vaguely remembered the concierge mentioning when he gave me directions earlier. I decided to pass Green Park and try out Hyde Park Corner.
As I came out from the underground I found myself facing the Lanesborough which is a future stop of mine on this journey. It made me giggle to myself that I kept bumping into my future living quarters, and all of them were within walking distance of one another. It wasn't as easy for me to get back to the Hilton as it would have been from Green Park station but I did manage and had to cut through the park which is beginning to show the signs of spring with bulbs peeking their heads out of the grass. It has got to be gorgeous when they are at their peak bloom.
I have another spa day tomorrow so I need to go rest up for my pampering.