Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa x 111Skin

Lucknam Park spa receives a facelift courtesy of Harley Street’s 111Skin

21 Dec 2022|By Rob Crossan

Skincare specialist 111Skin has been lauded by Victoria Beckham and Lady Gaga after it slowed down the ageing process experienced by astronauts. Now, visitors to Lucknam Park can see what all the fuss is about

If there’s one thing my visit to the Lucknam Park spa taught me, it’s that male aging is the looming terra incognita; portentous terrain that our inner cartographer will only discover when we least expect it. It has happened to you already, by the way. You can trust me on that. And it began far earlier than you realised. Well, far earlier than you’d ever publicly admit, anyway.

It could have been when you started not just noticing garden centres, but wondering if you had time to actually pop into one. Or when you stopped throwing away free cruise brochures and asked yourself why you hadn’t considered two weeks on the Amalfi coast before now?

Lucknam Park is a parabola to the aging process; the upward curve of the U-shaped graph that makes you realise that a world of slip-on shoes and a lack of grime nights out in Elephant and Castle isn’t a reason for turning off the life support machine. Just yet.

A Georgian manor house hewn from honeyed Bath stone near Chippenham (one of the less ersatz of the Cotswold border towns, it must be said), this is a place that rewards those of us whose cultural reference points extend a little further and deeper than the first series of Big Brother.

If you know who Oliver Mellors is, then you’re in your happy place here. This is a land of D.H. Lawrence erotic fantasies; a beech-and-lime-tree-festooned retreat of ladies who look good in jodhpurs, and where men who still know how to tie a proper Windsor knot take your bags to your room without expecting you to genuflect with gratitude. A place where the magazine rack in the lobby contains Country Life and The Daily Telegraph, rather than OK! and Hello.

Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa

And yet, even when surrounded by the comforting old-worldliness of a place like Lucknam Park, there’s still a part of us that wants to believe that we can be mistaken for someone a decade or so younger. Despite my own attempts at getting comfortable with growing older, I have no desire to appear as a man so aged that someone already in their 30s feels the need to explain to me who they mean when they talk about Sampha or Michaela Coel.

Lucknam Park seems to understand this. The hotel is aware that there is now an emerging generation of 40-something men who, like myself, simultaneously want to know who scooped what at the MOBOs, but who are also rather comfortable in the knowledge that they’ll never have to wear a pair of skin-tight jeans again. A demographic that the hotel presumably had within its crosshairs when it invited cutting-edge skincare specialist, 111Skim, to reinvent its spa.

Lucknam Park spa and hotel

Headquartered in Harley Street, and founded a decade ago by surgeon Yannis Alexandrides and his wife Eva, 111Skin caused a stir when it created a serum called NAC Y2 to help heal patients’ skin after surgery. Tested, incredibly, in outer space, it was proven to dramatically slow down the fast-paced ageing process experienced by astronauts.

Products by 111Skin are used by Lady Gaga and Victoria Beckham – personalities that have invested more than most in trying to prevent the realities of middle age intruding upon their carefully-managed image. Now, visitors to Lucknam Park can see what all the fuss is about for themselves.

The 90-minute Black Diamond Celestial Non-surgical Face Lift is, at £205, not completely in the rock-star-and-royalty-only price range. Despite being a) a bloke and b) having a pretty thick beard, I was invited to give it a go.

It’s hard to describe what, exactly, my clinician Sammy was doing to my face for most of the 90 minutes. My eyes were covered but I do recall that I got an extremely thorough scalp massage, while an innumerable number of 111Skin serums, creams and peels were applied to my face.

Apparently, my treatment included the use of ‘diamond powder’ and aesthetician-grade exfoliating acids. The science of all this is, of course, somewhat irrelevant. The only question that really matters: does it actually work?

I’m a cynic about this sort of stuff, and I’m more than aware of the ‘cash-induced false positivity’ matrix where, in front of the bathroom mirror, I have physically willed myself into believing that an expensive spa treatment actually did anything at all.

And yet, I went out to a party that evening and three separate friends, none of whom have the slightest interest in my skin routine, all commented that I looked like I was ‘glowing’. That was the exact adjective all three used.

‘Not a radioactive glow’, one added with some force. But he was right. It’s four days on now and my skin is definitely the smoothest and most crinkle- and wrinkle-free it has been since around the time of the first Kings of Leon album.

No longer shall I retort that ‘non-surgical’ really means ‘not as good’. 111Skin is onto something here. And there are few finer things in life than looking too young to enjoy an afternoon tea in the Cotswolds, while knowing, deep down, that you’re actually exactly the right age to appreciate it.

Visit lucknampark.co.uk; 111skin.com

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