Heard the one about the 40-year-old virgin? Well, that was this Time Out-er two weeks ago. Not in the biblical sense, of course (that’s a whole different story), but as facial first-timer? Like Monty Cliff in the film of the same name, I confess.
My status has remained something of a guilty secret for the simple reason that, in these days of ‘because I’m worth it’ pampering to admit to never succumbing to such indulgent treats is akin to self harm.
That, however, was before I discovered the serene charms of the Willow Stream Spa. Tucked away on the ninth floor of the Fairmont hotel, the world instantly stops as you enter its Romanesque portals. Guests are invited to arrive early to, ahem, get in the mood. With its whirlpool spas, steam rooms and relaxation area, the stress instantly melts away.
A glass of complementary watermelon juice later and Time Out is already feeling seduced. But the best is yet to come. We’re led into a quiet room named after Ceres, the Roman goddess of the harvest (and, rather appropriately, considering the turning-back-of-time we’re hoping for, preservation). Dimmed lights, new age music and what feels like 1000-threadcount cotton blankets are all present and correct. And so the treatment begins.
The Prestige Facial is a glorious 90 minutes of all-about-you pampering. A short back rub is followed by a back mud mask, that heats and bubbles beneath you, preparing you for the main event. Layer after layer of cleansing and moisturising – papaya exfoliation, cooling eye masks and, the climax of the treatment, a smelly but assuredly nourishing facemask of seaweed and marine extracts, with the odd hand and foot massage thrown in for good measure – and we float out into the daylight. Bright eyes? Check. Glowing skin? Check. A burgeoning addiction to all-about-me pampering sessions? Check, check and double check. Time Out has definitely joined the club.