The luxurious The Grace Medical and Wellbeing Clinic in London’s Belgravia is a one stop shop, somewhere you can work out then hold a business meeting before visiting the in house doctor and indulging in one of the many high-tech beauty treatments. The women’s only club is set in the heart of Knightsbridge and a stone’s throw from Harrods and Harvey Nichols.
The team is led by Medical Director, Dr. Tim Evans, Apothecary to HM The Queen and the Royal Palaces, and Head of Wellbeing, Dr. Amy Bibby. The range of services here will, they say, “restore, reset and revive body and mind, whether the desire is to de-stress, beat jet lag, lose weight, get fit, sleep better or manage general health.” The full whammy, then. And for those only in town for the holidays, Grace offers summer memberships ranging between one week and three months.
The airy lounge and restaurant is a discreet sanctuary from the hectic city outside, full of women of all ages, some quietly working on laptops, others having breakfast with friends. I arrive to do a reformer pilates class within the gym, which although fairly small, is well equipped and quiet - this is where Pippa Middleton, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, prepped that enviable physique for her recent wedding. With only three of us in the class, the instructor is able to give individual attention to everyone, so important in an exercise where maintaining perfect alignment is crucial to its effectiveness.
Next, to the Peel Boutique By Dr Rabia Malik for a twenty minute facial. A handy lunch time fix, Dr Malik has created three non-toxic medical grade peels using lactic acid which rejuvenate and brighten skin while helping to calm blemishes. I’m wary of peels, too many stories of poorly applied overly aggressive disasters leaving skin sore and beetroot red for days. But here, the ingredients are gentler, using natural extracts from pineapple, pomegranate and green tea. There are three options – the Hydrating Peel for dry, sensitive or mature skin, the Blemish-Busting Peel for more oily, blemish prone types and the most popular, house treatment, the Brightening Peel, an exfoliating and hydrating treatment for normal and combination skin. My dry skin, suffering from Dubai sun and the arid desert air, tingles as the enzymes work their exfoliating magic. Then a rich moisturising hydrating mask is applied, my skin left a little pink (that dies down in an hour or so) but nourished. Writing this a week later, it is noticeably brighter and my often blotchy skin tone is significantly more even.
So far so normal. But then, with slight trepidation, up to Grace’s medical centre to the Infusion Clinic. There is more than a hint of the dystopian novel about being hooked up to a drip and pumped full of vitamins, leaving supercharged for everyday life. The experience, though not painful, leaves me queasy - voluntarily sitting with an IV drip in the arm for 45 minutes takes a certain commitment to beauty and wellbeing. The bright yellow liquid being pumped into my veins is the Immune Support mix, a mix of vitamin C, a variety of B vitamins, zinc and amino acids said to boost your immune system and boost energy, and help combat jet lag. The theory is that 100 percent of vitamins are absorbed into the bloodstream, compared to only 20 percent of oral supplements due to breakdown in the gut. To be honest, it’s hard to tell in the days following if this makes any difference at all - my skin is brighter but that could be in part the facial, and I do have energy, but no noticeably more so. But the nurse tells me some clients have weekly top ups, so addicted are they to its positive effects. So if you’re intrigued, give it a go, if only to say you have.
Learn more at gracebelgravia.com