Koi Carp pool and lounge.

We were saddened to hear that one of our favorite London hangouts, the Sanctuary Spa, is closing its doors for good tomorrow, May 31st, as a result of the redevelopment of the area and the rising costs associated with being in a listed (historic) building.

The iconic women-only day spa, located on a cobblestone street in Covent Garden, was founded in 1977 by choreographer Gary Cockerill as a gift for his ballerina wife. Cockerill envisaged the facility as a place where dancers from the nearby Royal Opera House would come to restore their weary bodies. He also saw it as a spiritual sanctuary: a women-only spa where spa-goers could unwind among friends.

With its sprawling layout, encompassing the famous Koi Carp pool, a hammam, two swimming pools and relaxation lounges, the spa attracted harried Londoners, out-of-towners and tourists, in addition to celebrities. It even made an appearance in Joan Collins’ racy movie, The Stud, in 1978!

As well as being a place to relax and indulge (champagne, anyone?), the spa also offered facials, therapeutic massages and other beauty rituals. A line of Sanctuary-branded products was launched in 1998, and is still going strong.

According to spa director Catherine Ferma, “The Sanctuary Spa in Covent Garden has been the UK’s most-loved iconic day spa since it opened over 35 years ago. Renowned as a haven for rest and relaxation to the 60,000 women that have visited each year, we are proud of the spa’s authentic heritage of love and the loyalty that the brand has received over the years. [The closing] was a difficult decision to make, but our strategy moving forward is to focus on product.”

Sayonara, Sanctuary—we’re sorry to see you go!

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