Our beautiful new spa at The Ned features all the familiar Cowshed touches you’d expect, from the famously comfy mani/pedi chairs to restful treatment rooms, plus a few grand flourishes as befits the building’s grand Edwardian heritage (think hand-painted wallpaper, a spectacular hammam and the fanciest changing rooms we've ever seen). Spa General Manager Svet took us on a tour and shared some of her favourite things about this very special Cowshed.
‘I worked for Orient Express hotels in Sydney where I worked my way up from reception through to operations manager, spa manager, so I have a background in five star hotels. We were the leading spa in Sydney for three years and then from Sydney I came over to England because my husband’s British. I didn’t go straight into spas, I started working with companies in the private sector doing operational roles and then I moved over to Cowshed Primrose Hill where I opened up the spa and that was my first connection with Soho House. I was there for three years and Primrose is very successful - it was the largest site in London, it was considered the flagship in terms of the standalones.
Then from Primrose I moved over to The Ned. I’ve been here since its inception – I joined at the end of December and was here for the pre opening and it’s been an amazing opportunity. Even though I’ve run big companies before this is challenging being in charge of three floors, but it’s exciting, I’ve got a great team and we’re doing really well.
The most popular treatments would be the Cowshed massage followed by the Cowshed pedicure and then Shellac manicure. In Cowshed Primrose in summertime the Cowshed pedicures would be at the top of the list in terms of the seasons and then the deep tissue or signature massage would be the next [most popular].
The majority of our customers are hotel guests and members and we also have people who just walk in as well. We have a lot of existing Cowshed customers coming in, because obviously they’re used to Cowshed and they want to see what The Ned is offering, what’s the difference. It’s a bigger space, we have a larger relaxation area, our rooms are a bit more bespoke than the other Cowsheds, and if you spend over £200 on treatments you get day spa access, which includes the 20 metre pool, hammam, steam room and sauna.
The difference with this Cowshed is we have Ned’s Barbershop, we have a hairdressing salon, Miguel Perez, and we have the Trish McEvoy powder room. Make up was the last instalment, we’ve only had that open for three weeks so it is progressing and hotel guests tend to use it more than external customers. The barbershop is thriving, Tom Harrigan, our head of grooming, is doing really well – he came over from Barber & Parlour – which is great. He’s heading up the barber team and [demand is so high] we’re hiring an additional barber. It’s becoming a destination in the City.
I’d say the difference is the atmosphere, the building itself is very grand and it’s beautiful and it’s a whole difference experience in terms of coming into a hotel where you’ve got an impressive ground floor, then coming down the grand marble steps down to the spa, passing the Vault [bar], it is a totally different experience to the other stand alones [spas].
It starts with the ground floor and your expectations just become more and more heightened with what surrounds you. We are the first Cowshed Spa to have several advanced treatments which includes IS Clinical, Annee de Mamiel and Dermaluxe. We’re also introducing Acupuncture & IVDrips, I believe we are the first hotel destination spa within the group that is offering these services.
I’d say that we’re not pretentious at all, we’re very warm and welcoming, our staff aren’t stuffy, they like to have good chat, good banter with our customers, but at the same time they’re highly skilled, they’re highly professional, they’ve been in the business for more than four years, we don’t tend to hire people straight out of school. So, Cowshed offers you a high-end service with a relaxed atmosphere.
Busiest times would definitely be Thursday through to Sunday, with Bank – it really livens up on a Thursday with the bankers having a drink and people finish early on a Friday so come in to get their nails done. It’s a different atmosphere to when I worked at Primrose, a totally different dynamic. At Primrose we were much busier on the weekends, to the point where you had to book two months in advance, whereas here, Saturdays and Sundays are busy but nowhere near the demand of a standalone in the village. So busier times are definitely late afternoon and evenings.
Ourmost popular product would be our Gentle Face Wash, and then our diffusers, shampoos and shower gels because they’re used in the hotel rooms. We’re rotating the moods at the moment so we’ve had Balance, which is the classic, and we’ve moved to Replenish for summertime, which is a bit fresher. Then I’ll probably change the mood to Relax in the wintertime.
My favourite mood would be Cosy, I love it, it’s quite feminine, it’s very soft. And I love the Cosy Bath & Body Oil, I use it in the bath at least twice a week, it keeps your skin really soft and supple and it smells really lovely on the skin.’