One of the perks of flying British Airways in a premium class of service is the ability to receive a complimentary 15 minute spa treatment in partnership with Elemis. The airline operates no less than four virtually identical Elemis Spa locations at London Heathrow — other locations include the Arrivals Lounge and Galleries Club T5B in Terminal 5, plus one in Terminal 3. In addition to treatment rooms, the Elemis Spa also features shower suites.
Your experience starts as you check-in for your appointment. You have already selected your preferred treatment amongst the twelve available – options include body massages, face pampering, grooming, as well as treatments tailored to men. (See the full list here.) You settle briefly in a comfy chair by the gas fireplace, then a therapist takes you to one of the treatment rooms or the barber zone. The rooms are small and plain, but offer complete privacy and are stocked with Elemis products. Your therapist applies hot towels and your senses start drifting away from the airport and travel hassles. Your massage is over the clothes — a simple and brief affair overall, but one which leaves you both energized and relaxed.
On your way out, your therapist offers a glass of water and samples of Elemis products to take home. While the samples are rather symbolic, a wide range of full size products is available for you to try at your leisure — and the opportunity to indulge in a variety of moisturizers on a long, dry travel day is most welcome. It’s time to fill in a brief survey to evaluate your experience.
So what does it take to experience airport bliss? Frankly, a bit of luck, and that’s the catch. There are only so many therapists and so many rooms. And many more passengers. Appointments are strictly provided on a first come, first serve basis and cannot be made in advance. The schedule fills up quickly. British Airways makes one exception for departing First Class passengers, who may contact YouFirst up to 28 days in advance in order to secure one of the precious slots. Your best bet: attempt to make an appointment as soon as you enter the lounge, and hope for a flight delay!
Fortunately, the showers are much more widely available, although they’re also first come first serve, even for First Class passengers. Should a shower not be immediately available (which is typical) you will receive a buzzer. The shower rooms are a mixed bag – with multiple massaging jets and a rain shower, they aspire to be fancy, but the designer has somehow missed the mark. The cramped design, neon lights, hospital-like finishes, awkward sewer gargling noises, and tendency for the stall to overflow on the floor are rather disconcerting and the experience is more akin to showering on a cruise ship. Each shower room has a built-in sound system with pre-set news and music channels. It’s unfortunate that the system only appears to work every so often. On the plus side, quality Elemis amenities are provided, though deodorant is missing.
British Airways Elemis Travel Spa LHR bottom line
Overall, British Airways offers a true premium service – it’s difficult to beat the experience of a shower and a massage prior to a long flight or on a layover. But we can’t help but consider the spa as a token amenity, since effectively appointments are often hard to come by. As for the showers, we just wish British Airways remodeled the facilities – the current experience feels slightly awkward.
Also, note that this location in the South Lounges complex is shared between the adjacent Concorde Room, Galleries First lounge and Galleries Club lounge, and is therefore the busiest. Consider going to the much quieter Galleries Club Terminal 5B if time permits – read our review for further details.
You may have access to British Airways Elemis Travel Spa as a premium customer of one of the following airlines, or as an elite member of their frequent flyer program. Check the Access rules tab for more details.
British Airways (BA)
The following passengers have access:
- British Airways First passengers departing or arriving on a same-day longhaul flight.
- British Airways Business Class passengers (Club World) departing or arriving on a same-day longhaul flight.
- British Airways Gold Executive Club members departing or arriving on a same-day longhaul flight.
- Guests are not permitted.
- Passengers arriving on other oneworld airlines are not admitted regardless of their class of service.