A boudoir of beauty within a mecca of fashion: Urban Retreat at Harrods

February 20, 2010

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user uggboy

LONDON, UK – Urban Retreat is like a Russian nesting doll of style and beauty. First off, it’s housed within the fashion mecca of Harrods department store, so it’s a place to beautify within a place to adorn oneself with the latest designer duds.

Upon arrival, you’ll find that separate hair, nail, and body treatment areas are nested on their own floors within the multi-level space. Within those areas, there are 32 beauty rooms and 45 styling stations tucked away. There’s also a photo studio, body clinic, parfumerie, a cafe featuring “superfood” salads and juices, and a wig boudoir (yes, I’m talking luxury hairpieces!). That’s 22,000 feet of self-proclaimed, wall-to-wall “women’s heaven”!

I personally could do without the madness that is Harrods; I find the crowds and the smorgasbord of merchandise a bit too overwhelming. But I’ll gladly brave it for a work-up at Urban Retreat. The salon is bright and charged with energy (no quiet corners here), as are the skilled and personable technicians. They make the beautifying process all the more enjoyable. Everything’s clean and chic.

You can have pretty much any cranny of your bod worked on here. There are body scrubs, waxing services, and facials to go along with hair styling, lashes, makeup, and nail services. Products are top-notch: Creme de la Mer facials, Thalgo body wraps, Phillip Kingsley hair treatments, and OPI and Leighton Denny nail colors, just to name a few. You can also purchase your fave supplies from brands like Kerastase, Dr. Murad, and La Prairie in the reception area.

Manis/pedis, makeup, and blowouts are the specialty here (try the “Original 12 Week Blowdry,” a Keratin-enriched relaxing treatment which eliminates frizz for up to three months). Going with a girlfriend or group of friends for this trio of treatments before a big night out hits that girlish chord in all of us ladies, and this would even be great for a bridal party or the like.

When Urban Retreat starts reaching out of its beauty zone into the “wellness” realm, that’s where I draw the line. The “Intuitive Healing” and “Soulmatefood” consultations seem a little out of place alongside the wig room, for example. And I generally skip the antioxidant-obsessed cafe, opting instead to pop down to Harrods Food Halls for something a little more decadent. If you get that Russian nesting doll vibe like we did, you can always pick up some caviar and blintzes in the Halls to kick off your fabulously coiffed evening Moscow-style.

Urban Retreat
87-135 Brompton Rd.
Knightsbridge, London
(44) 020-7893-8333

RL contributed to this post.

Learn more about Urban Retreat on The Purple Passport.

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