The capital’s retro lidos certainly have their charm, but we want to celebrate spring’s first rays of sunshine with something just a little bit more special. Meet The Berkeley, a spa hotel in London with a magical rooftop garden and heated pool perfect for a family splash…
Remember how easy it was to get away from it all when you were little? There was that little corner under the eaves with a stash of toys for make-believe. Or you could smuggle a plate of contraband biscuits under a blanket fort. Maybe you commandeered that top bunk, piled high with pillows and a stack of books.
Now, wouldn’t it be nice if there was somewhere just like that to retreat to when you’ve had one fraught school run too many?
Handily, we’ve found just the little hiding nook for you. Book a babysitter, slip on a fluffy bathrobe and head to the top floor of the family-friendly Berkeley hotel in Knightsbridge, where you’ll find the white-washed sanctuary of the Bamford Haybarn Spa. Don’t get too distracted by the ethereally soft cashmere casuals in the shop, or the pretty rows of candy-coloured Essie polishes in the manicure room: you’re here for some serious R ‘n’ R. Let go of those pavement-pounding, commuter-dodging stresses and tensions in the bijou hammam (20 minutes in the herb-scented steam can work wonders) then make a beeline for one of the treatment suites. We loved the geranium-scented organic oil used in the Bamford Body Signature Treatment (£150 for 85 minutes), a blend of shiatsu, Swedish massage and deeply relaxing assisted breathing. You’ll be left feeling serene and – let’s be honest – a little bit sedated: flop down by the rooftop pool (in good weather, the roof slides open) for the finest Hyde Park views the city has to offer.
And the best bit? Hiding away at the Berkeley is not just about me-time: children are allowed during set hours every afternoon, so you can snuggle up in your robes together after a good splash in the heated pool. Order a couple of smoothies and set up camp on the outdoor cinema’s astroturf to watch a Hollywood classic – now that’s what childhood memories are made of.