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“Great place to unwind in and warm through” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Porchester Spa

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Porchester Spa
The Porchester Spa, London, England (Paddington / Maida Vale)
+44 20 7792 3980
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Ranked #592 of 1,018 Activities in London
Attraction details
Crowborough, UK
Top Contributor
102 reviews 102 reviews
29 attraction reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
“Great place to unwind in and warm through”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

This place is owned by the local council but is a Turkish Bath (men some days; women on other days). An interesting mix of regular clientele; some playing cards, others chatting but the majority come to quietly relax in the steamrooms, sauna or the various hot rooms (tepidairium etc). There are salads and fry-ups available. It's a great place to go to when the weather is really cold and icy; it's open from 10 am -10pm. It's not perfect and it's not all that cheap (about £25 a session), but it's unique in London.

You come out feeling really clean, relaxed and "sorted"

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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26 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Basel, Switzerland
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Authentic Bath House NOT a Spa (the way most think of chi-chi spas)”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2012

If you are looking for pseudo zen surroundings, soft music with the sounds of the ocean and overpriced massages---WALK AWAY. If however you want an affordable, no frills place that is clean enough and in need of a some overdue upgrades but IS a place where you can go and relax, get a good steam and sauna, swim laps in a decent pool and get a GREAT massage (ask for Zolt--he was an excellent massage therapist) at a very decent price...you have found your TK Maxx version of a spa. I think the term spa is truly misleading however---sort of like someone saying they speak French if they only know how to ask for the bathroom and order a wine or that they are a gourmet cook because they have a decanter and a garlic press.

The Porchester "Spa" is a no-frills bath house with ladies, mens and co-ed times in a 1920s building that is frumpy and has a very faded style. If you can appreciate this type of place, go but DO NOT take your overly trendy friends here. I like high end spas too and go to these but there is a place and time for everything.

This place does need a facelift but it has its charm all the same if you can close your eyes and let the steam and your own need to relax take over. I think it is a good place to go for a few hours to relax and pamper yourself if you are looking for an affordable way to get more regular and shorter relaxation time into your daily life. Most can't afford the several hundred plus pounds a day on a regular basis that the Aveda's and up charge if they want to do this kind of stuff more regularly and in central London.

I wouldn't come here as a huge treat or bring a girlfriend here on her birthday (okay--I might have when I was in college or if they were cool with NOT chic and expensive but functional and affordable).

I would however use this place to book regular massages even if I chose to never use the dated steam and sauna facilities. With my eyes closed on a table in a nicely heated room, I had a FANTASTIC massage that I'd have easily paid more for (but was super glad I didn't have to). I'll go back for these treatments.

As for the food there. Never. The neighborhood has fantastic restaurants nearby so other than a quick snack and some water, I'd completely avoid the "cafe" which is actually more like a kiosk where you might go to buy stamps or a newspaper but not really anything substantial to eat.

It would take so little to make this place shine a bit more but if you have the need to relax, you generally look through rose-coloured glasses and aren't super fussy about everything--Go. Example--Do you eat cooked food from street vendors in foreign places or do you only go to established upscale places? When abroad, is an occasional rickshaw fun or do you hire a car? Will you swim in a muddy lake or will you only go in a super clear pool? If your answers were the first choice--you just might be okay here. If not, start googling ~Aveda Spas~and make sure you end up someplace you personally can let go and relax because in the end, ...that's the whole point of the Porchester but you just have to have a more forgiving acceptance and understanding of what they mean by "spa".

Visited December 2012
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Whitby, United Kingdom
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Relaxing, authentic and friendly Turkish baths venue”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2012

It's best to remember that this is a Turkish Baths experience (dating back to 1929) and NOT a spa. It has atmosphere, historic features and wonderful 3-temperature rooms, steam room, sauna and a plunge pool for the brave (!). Yes, there are a few rough edges and some facilities are pretty basic (lockers, plastic chairs) but, in my view, this is more than compensated by the friendly staff, the range of people using this council-run venue (i.e. you feel comfortable as there are all shapes and sizes, not just the 'beautiful people 'you get at some spas) and the good value admission (at £25.65, much cheaper than any hotel spa day I've been to). My best friend and I stayed for over 5 hours and rounded off our visit with a delicious snack of houmous/pitta bread, fresh mint tea and a huge platter of fresh fruit from the on-site cafe - all beautifully presented and very reasonable too. I've been to Sanctuary and Centreparcs spas and this IS different: less frills, more atmosphere, still great steam/sauna/pool. Would definitely go again.

Visited November 2012
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Brighton, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Great no-frills spa experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

Went here today and had a great afternoon. Really friendly staff, felt very comfortable and relaxed. Yeah the whole place could do with a spruce up, but then that's part of the attraction is that it's the oldest spa in London. Body scrub and massage were top notch. If you're expecting The Sanctuary or Treatment Rooms type spa you'll be massively disappointed but if you want good value for money, great service, a good scrub, steam and massage then I would absolutley recommend. Fab afternoon!

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rome, Italy
Top Contributor
275 reviews 275 reviews
66 attraction reviews
Reviews in 65 cities Reviews in 65 cities
128 helpful votes 128 helpful votes
“elegant but run-down”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2012

As someone else pointed out, the building itself is interesting, there's an Art Deco statue down by the treatment rooms and the columns and high ceilings are beautifully proportioned.
The various temperature rooms - frigidarium, tepidarium, calidarium - have an ancient Roman feel to them and I've spent many a relaxing Saturday morning doing the rounds with a magazine (that ends up very soggy one must say!) The steam room is the ultimate "baby skin" experience, but all of it is "no frills", council run, and the place could probably do with a fresh coat of paint.
However, it's fairly cheap, given there's no limit on how long you can stay, my daughter used to bring this week's hair dye and nail polish change and get it all done there (so our bathroom would stay clean) and we'd read, chat, have lunch - yes they offer a limited but decent salad menu. My only peeve is that it's only on men's day you can have a full English breakfast, us dainty ladies only get salads.
The entrance fee also gets you access to the adjoining Porchester Health Club's half-Olympic pool if you want to add on a workout.

Visited December 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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