Image from Ray Morris-Hill
The photograph you see is 75 Wilton Road in Victoria, London, where a hairdressers called Znips is. However, if you pootle in and go down the stairs, what you encounter is a white, slightly dingy room with sofas, a table with magazines, sinks, television, a mini fridge, lockers and a tanning booth. Odd, but nothing too dodgy. It's clean, well-lit and tidy enough.
You'd be greeted by two staff members dressed in black - for us they were incredibly friendly, both on the phone and in person. Although, they were pretty bad at answering the phone, which meant it took me an age and a half to book a slot. So don't expect to book for this weekend - both because they're hard to get a hold of, but also because they seem to be very popular and heavily booked. However, they do ring you back if they notice you've called them many times, and they also email you back. So once you get them on the phone, they're incredibly friendly - even when you're lost and don't know that you're meant to go into Znips.
Anyway, so you follow one of the staff into the spa room - and oh my, how the ambience changes. The wallpapers are black damask, and two massage beds were stationed in the centre. The lights were dimmed, and you could hear soft healing music being played in the corner. The room did have other bits in it - like a nail salon booth and some facial products, but they were kept in the shade, and the room was tidy and spacious enough. We were left on our own to fill out a health form, get down to our underwear and lay on the bed.
Image from Beauty Direction
We were in for a 55min Swedish full body massage with a free glass of bubbly each, which came to £55 for the two of us (the masseuse just kindly asked for the voucher after the treatment). I think they may include the 'getting ready' time in their treatment though, so do be careful and get there early! When we left the massage, I asked my boyfriend if he'd do it again. He said he would, and I have to say I agree.
First of all, I just felt really really comfortable. I didn't feel like I was in my underwear in front of strangers (albeit under towels), or uncomfortable that these strangers were touching me, and I liked that they asked whether we wanted our feet and stomach done. I had to say no to the tummy, as did Ben, but I was okay for the feet - Ben, not so much (he's a bit ticklish). They also asked if the pressure was strong enough after the first minute or so, which meant the majority was done in the pressure that's suitable for you. The massage oil they used was also not too heavily scented, but a lovely, inoffensive herbal-smelling one.
The massage itself was really nicely done. I found it to be nothing intensive, but firm enough to be relaxing and gentle enough to be calming. It's not a treatment, but really a massage in its purest sense. I've also always had a problem back, so when I noticed my masseuse focusing on the knots by my shoulder blade, I felt assured that she knew what she was doing.
After the massage, Ben and I had our bubbly in the waiting room. Again, not the best ambience, and it would've been nice to have the bubbly inside the treatment room - either during the massage or maybe after.
But most importantly, when we left, we felt like we were walking on clouds. We were without a strain in our body, and the rest of the day was spent feeling rather dazed, sleepy and floopy (if that's a word..). I definitely felt 100x better than when I walked in - just lighter on my feet, more relaxed around my joints, and it became so obvious how tensed up I was before the massage. The effects are something we later agreed we'd have paid the full-price for, and I would fully recommend it to my friends, and anyone looking for an affordable, but effective de-stressing massage.
Beauty Direction is by no means a day-spa feel, where everything around you is so obviously placed as an attempt to make you relaxed, and words like "SOUL", "MIND" and "HOLISTIC" is constantly spinning in your head. It could've been, minus the other equipment in there, the waiting room, or peoples' steps you could sometimes hear from the hair salon upstairs - but I don't think that's what Beauty Direction is about. Ironically, I think this kind of 'down to earth'-ness, where not everything is so 'neat' and 'perfect', actually makes this place more accessible, welcoming and easy-going than a day spa. This is a massage parlour for your everyday needs. It's one of those places you could go once a month to wash away your built-up stress. It really is a massage in the midst of everyday life - which is what you need sometimes, rather than an up-market, 'big deal' spa.
I have also really come to rate Wahanda's voucher buying services - they deliver their vouchers promptly, they give adequate time before the vouchers expire, and their search machine is very detailed and can help you find things in your area, price range, and treatment necessary. I've been back on the site several times since purchasing this voucher, and while I haven't bought anything of yet, I can't really imagine going straight to a salon anymore. I also trust Wahanda more than Groupon for things like hair cuts, massages and facials, just because Wahanda has a pretty transparent review system, a wide range of choice, and the fact that it specializes in beauty makes me feel like it's more suitable and well-chosen (i.e. not just a random salon that offered Groupon a deal).
So Ben and I both loved Beauty Direction, and intend on going back there some time (although I'm slightly tempted to give other places a try, now that I know how enjoyable it can be - any suggestions?). Like I said before, the place was great and down-to-earth, the effects were just brilliant, and I just can't fault it for the price. I will definitely be recommending the salon, the voucher and Wahanda to others :)
If you are interested in this specific deal, here's the link to Beauty Direction's Wahanda page.
Have you ever had a full body massage?
Where's your favourite massage parlour?
*£50 Wahanda voucher received for consideration - the extra £5 was paid for with my own money.