This post may reference partner products and we may be compensated if you use or make a purchase through our links. Thank you for supporting Flashpacker Max!
Following on from my review of British Airways First Class London to Nashville last month, this post provides more in-depth information on the BA Elemis Spa experience and how to get the most out of it!
Summary – 4 / 10
Pros: It’s free! Good selection of treatments. Good quality treatment. Free samples.
Cons: You probably aren’t going to be able to book it or get in there, so what’s the point? Haphazard organisation. Didn’t really feel like the staff wanted to be there.
Eligibility: Must be flying a British Airways-operated long haul flight in first or business class. Additionally, Executive Club Gold Members flying long haul with British Airways in any class have access.
Location: London Heathrow Terminal 5 (5A South, 5B and Arrivals Lounges) and Terminal 3.
Opening Hours: 5A South [0700 – 2100], 5B [0700 – 2100], Arrivals [0600 – 1400], Terminal 3 [0800-2000].
Services: A selection of complimentary 15-minute treatments – a full list is provided below.
Getting Maximum Extravagance
Book ahead if travelling in First: First passengers can book their treatment up to 28 days in advance here. You will need to give a timeslot that you are willing to have your appointment. Update: I submitted my booking 28 days in advance for my First Class booking in January 2020 and was told there was nothing available. I think this is pretty shocking from BA, where evidently there is nowhere near enough availability to keep up with demand. So maybe try phoning up and do so 30 days or 29 days in advance, as I don’t think they even follow their own booking rules.
Get there ASAP if travelling in Business: ELEMIS appointments go FAST. If you are travelling Business, try and get a lounge appointment as soon as you are through security. Plenty of people were being turned away when I was there because their flight was coming up too soon for them to take the next slot.
Allow more than 15 minutes: The whole process takes longer than 15 minutes, with filling out a pre-treatment form, and I had a delay. Leave yourself some leeway and don’t try and squeeze in a treatment before you need to go to gate!
Ask for freebies: They should give you some samples after your treatment. If they don’t, ask!
I decided to go for the ELEMIS Facial, as it just felt like I’d be getting the most! I arrived at the spa from the Concorde Room (which is right next to it) early and had to wait in a queue of people trying to get an appointment. This alone took ages and by the time I could speak to the receptionist, it was already my slot. Surely they should have a separate line or entrance for those trying to actually get into the spa for their appointment? Or maybe I am too polite queueing.
I was told to go straight through and fill out a form. Honestly, I found the whole reception experience kind of rude. I wasn’t told what I’m supposed to do with the form when it is complete, or that someone was just finishing up a treatment and will be through shortly. After completing the form I waited a while and didn’t really know what was going on. I went back to one of the receptionists and asked if I was supposed to have handed it back in – to which she looked at me really strangely and said no, I just need to wait.
So I waited! The whole spa is made up of a small waiting area and around the edge are curtained treatment areas. In the middle is a high table with ELEMIS products, mirrors and seats. I didn’t know if this was a self-service area to try out products, or for therapists to demonstrate, because again, no one explained.
10 minutes after my appointment was supposed to start and the therapist appeared. He took my form and took me into a room with a massage bed, which I thought was a bit weird seeing how I was having a facial. I was asked to put down my things and hop onto the bed, at which point I clarified my treatment. Turned out I had been confused with another customer! This added to my feeling of the whole thing being really rather disorganised.
So we move rooms for the facial. The description of the treatment says it will be tailored to my skin’s needs. I definitely wasn’t asked about my skin’s needs. I’m not sure if he could just tell? But I certainly wasn’t told what was being put on my face either. So I’m not really sure what I got. It felt more like a face massage with one cream, rather than the cleansing, buffing, hydration and moisturisation advertised.
It all felt very nice and it was very relaxing. I enjoyed the spa music in the background and it did feel like I was away from the airport for a moment. After my 15 minutes were up, I was asked if I would like a glass of water. Once I left the room, I was greeted with a set of ELEMIS samples, which was a nice touch.
Offering a free 15-minute treatment is, of course, a nice touch from BA. But the operation of the spa just felt a bit haphazard. 15 minutes quickly turn into half an hour! The treatment itself was very nice, but I’m not sure how it would have been any different than me just rubbing one of the random creams from the central station on my face, as I had no idea what was being put on me. All in all, it’s definitely worth doing, but maybe see it as a fun gimmick added on to your luxury travel experience! The best bit was probably the free samples – I’m going to ask for extras next time!
Update: The Spa gets a big thumbs down from me in December 2019, when we can’t even book it 28 days out in advance.