There is no way, on a snowy day, that I’d seek comfort from this lunch: mung bean, watercress and sprouting broccoli casserole. With brown rice, no less. Does anything strike more fear into your heart? Unless you are a raw pleasure naysayer whose kicks stem from colonic irrigation, this surely is torture. Give me lamb curry with a puddle of scarlet oil on top, any day. Or cream-drenched mash with claret. Or even a rerun of Vince Cable stiff on Xmas Strictly. However, when this sackclothed snackette is combined with an hour of hot stone therapy and cellulite wrap, well, now you’re talking.
Agua Spa at Sanderson is launching a new spa cuisine package this January where you can get a health-focused meal to complement whichever spa package you go for. The meals will be available at the hotel’s Suka Restaurant terrace from this month too. Sanderson’s executive chef Peter Lloyd has researched minerals, antioxidants and all that palaver for body conscious folks who can afford upto £200 a package.
Mind you, the meals bought alone are reasonably priced. My broccoli one was a tenner. A tuna tartare with coconut, peanut pickled mustard, pineapple and mint pickle soy and lime vinaigrette (‘uplifting package”) looked fantastic and probably well worth its £13 price tag. Sanderson’s idea is that hotel guests or visitors can either purchase the meal alone in the restaurants or take it with the spa package and eat it in a private booth.
I sat in the blinding white spa reception waiting. Its high walls are painted white as fresh snow with curtains billowing everywhere. For some reason, the designers have decided to dispense with rooms and corridors, instead using curtains as partitions. This means it’s achingly easy to get lost – and panicky. It’s like being stuck in a giant nappy. It also means that sounds carry. But not to worry – I had a soothing ‘peaceful” track to lull me into la la land while the lovely, attentive Rita rubbed hot stones on my skin. And how welcome the hot stones! How elemental and almost transformative to have their warm smoothness massage wearied muscle. Rita used her Shiatsu training to knead my meridians – or channels – with the stones, sometimes placing them in my hands or in the small of my back where they crouched most satisfyingly. The oil she used contained rosemary, juniper and grapefruit – allegedly to detoxify – which it certainly did (of which, more later).
Then it was time for the cellulite wrap. So cellulite may be only fat distributed like ripples but it still ain’t desirable. Actually, there was no cellulite wrap when I visited, to my grave disappointment. Apparently the cellulite supplies had been held up by snow. Quelle surprise. And a small tragedy for me.
Never mind. Next it was time for the little, cleaning repast that I’d been secretly dreading. And actually, it was much tastier than I expected, little nutty mung beans in a lightly curried sauce with blanched broccoli and alfafa on brown rice. OK, this is anaethema to hedonists but it all went down well, along with a ‘jetlag rescue smoothie” made from – get this – superfood, stabilised oxygen, vitamin C powder, hemp seeds and orange juice. Tasted most unusual, nice, a little heady, thank God the oxygen was stable. Yet it was no surprise when the woman next to me started harping on about her wheat allergy. This kind of food does cater to that brigade. Now nominally detoxified, I decided to do some Christmas shopping seeing as I was oop west. But no sooner was I basking in John Lewis’s egalitarian shop lights than I came over all funny. Sweaty, ill, faint – I made a dash for home sharpish. This I can only put down to the detoxification that had crushed out my toxins – so it worked! Or did it? The first thing I did when I got in was scoff a pack of ready salted and a Crunchie with, luckily, no broccoli in sight.
Sanderson Hotel, 50 Berners Street, London W1T 3NG
Tel: 020 7300 1400
DETOXIFYING PACKAGE (£200 FOR 135 MINUTES).
Mung bean, watercress and sprouting broccoli casserole
Complementary treatments:Aromatherapy Associates hot stone therapy
Aromatherapy Associates cellulite wrap
Beauty juice option:
Cellulite reduction cocktail (pink grapefruit, orange, dandelion, burdock, lemon & pineapple)