My Little Black Book of Treatments: Mark Smith


Mark Smith is no stranger to a bit of pampering. As one of the world’s few male spa writers, he’s spent the last couple of decades trying more than his fair share of treatments. Here, he shares his little black book of the places he keeps going back to.

For Good Skin…

In London, I’ve had some terrific facials over the years at ESPA Life at the Corinthia hotel – an underground haven spread over four floors – as well as at the Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square. If Beata Aleksandrowicz is in town – she has an exclusive client base from a private studio in Notting Hill – she is exceptional. 

For Pre-Event Grooming…

The Refinery in Mayfair is a great place for grooming. It offers classic barbering services as well as targeted treatments. I rate the Aromatherapy Associates Power Firm Facial, which uses microcurrent technology to lift and tone the skin – with an immediate impact.

The Refinery London
Espa Life At Corinthia
Four Seasons London TenTrinity

For Something High-Tech…

You can’t beat a Biotec Men’s Facial at the House of Elemis. It uses a series of different machine-based technologies to deliver instant results. It’s also in a great location, tucked away off Regent’s Street.

For Aching Muscles…

I recently had a fabulous bamboo and deep tissue massage at Pan Pacific London, which has an impressive infinity pool with views over Bishopsgate. I also rate the Aromatherapy Associates massages at Akasha at the Café Royal, and often send people to Thai Square Spa for no-nonsense, deep body work. You can’t go wrong and it’s well priced.

For A Day Spa…

If you’re looking to escape London over Christmas, head to the South Lodge hotel near Horsham, overlooking the South Downs. Relax in the panoramic sauna overlooking the grounds, then take a dip in the natural outdoor pool, followed by a destressing hot stone massage. You can also get an incredible Omorovicza facial here.

For Something Further Afield…

Want to make a weekend of it? The Scarlett in Cornwall is a top choice – its Ayurvedic massages come highly rated. Other top picks include Seaham Hall in Durham and the Nadarra Spa at the Coniston in North Yorkshire.

Scarlet Hotel
Scarlet Hotel
The Spa At South Lodge

For Pedicures…

I go to Margaret Dabbs London on a monthly basis for a Medical Pedicure carried out by a podiatrist. It’s like a hygienist for your feet and foot facialist in one. For something more pampering, you can’t beat a Cowshed pedicure sitting in a big armchair watching the telly and drinking champagne.

For Haircuts…

I’m based in Worthing now, but whenever I’m in town I pop into Pall Mall Barbers for a sharp cut and beard trim. If you need hair removal, head to Drakes of London. Ted’s Grooming Room is also excellent at removing ear hair.

Nàdarra Spa
Drakes Of London
Ted's Grooming Room

For Getting In Shape…

The gym at ESPA Life at the Corinthia is the place to head for a serious workout. Book a one-to-one session – the team specialise in fat loss and body sculpting.

For Something Alternative…

I love to meditate and enjoy sound and gong baths. I recently had an osteopathic treatment with Alistair at RW Clinic in Angel. He specialises in releasing trauma held in the body, and I can vouch for his method – the freedom I felt afterwards was incredible. I also recommend Kaylo Life, which offers online and in-person healing retreats and individual classes. The range of experts and practitioners is world class.

For Unwinding…

If I could put one treatment on my Christmas wish list this year, it’d be a traditional Turkish hammam. There’s nothing like the ancient ritual of being washed, scrubbed (to within an inch of your life) and massaged. It’s among my favourite treatments, and one I always seek out when travelling to Istanbul and Marrakech.

Mark recently launched Kalm Horizons, which offers one-to-one mindfulness sessions and immersive wellness experiences in Worthing. For more about Mark, visit and You can also find him on Instagram: @MarkTheSpaMan.

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