Long gone are the days when it’s just the ladies that like a bit of beauty therapy. It’s the 21st century and if a man wants to get his legs waxed and knock back a couple of Babychams in his local salon then it should be his absolute right to do so, right?
What is apparent, however, is that more than ever the modern man wants to look after himself, to look good, and project the ultimate image of health and self-confidence. This in itself is nothing new; Turkish baths, or hamams, have existed for thousands of years and are pre-dated by the Romans who liked nothing more than a bit of man-on-man pampering (insert joke here).
The folk over at Ted Baker have taken the idea of the hamam and given it a 21st century revamp with their Ottoman Lounge- an extension to their Grooming Rooms, which have been going from strength to strength with three shops now open across the capital and a fourth about to come.
The Ottoman Lounge takes the principles of the Grooming Rooms- attention to detail and pride in one’s appearance- and adds a layer of decadence and exclusivity. Entrance is by appointment only and the stone, black and gold décor and leather seats ensure one is embarking on an experience vastly different to that which you’d get at your local Toppers.
The Ottoman Lounge takes the principles of the Grooming Rooms- attention to detail and pride in one’s appearance- and adds a layer of decadence and exclusivity.
The treatments on offer vary in price and you can plump for a range of options, from just a haircut, to haircut and shave, to facemask and shave, to pedicure. All the options (other than pedicure) come with a manicure as standard- I’d never had one before visiting the Lounge, and though it was a bit lost on these hands with their bit-to-the-quick nails, you can’t have argue with having your hands and arms massaged and slathered in nice-smelling stuff by a chatty blonde.
You can also expect to get a facial steam and hot towel treatments as standard- a perfect face freshener before a night out. Threading will pull up all the grabby little hairs under your eyes that you didn’t know you had, but are definitely there judging the strangely pleasurable pinching sensation you get as they whip thread in and across your face in a miniature version of the cat’s cradle. There’s also a massage to come (in your chair) where you can expect to be pulled, manipulated and de-cracked from mid-spine to fingertip via neck. The chap I had looking after me, Ergun (who had been cutting hair since he was thirteen), knew exactly the line between prodding and punching, and had my head lolling about in semi-doze in the aftermath.
The real piece de resistance, however (and the thing you will no doubt tell everyone about after) is the ear flaming treatment, where you have your ears hairs singed off by a stick with flaming alcohol soaked cotton at the end. I’ve been trying to think of a particularly clever way of describing the sensation, but really it’s exactly like how you’d imagine having a flame flicked intermittently against your skin would feel like. It’s quite nice, in the same way that sucking a lemon after a tequila is quite nice.
It's more than just a service, though, with advice being given on what sort of stuff a beauty product heathen likes yours truly needs to make himself look and feel slightly-better-than-average looking. The Lounge is stocked with brand new products from the Ted Baker Grooming Range, and since stepping out of its gilded walls I've been embarking on a proper regime for the first time in my life; with the Ted Baker Face Scrub a bi-daily part of my morning ablutions, before my beard thanks me for slapping on their Shave Cream rather than the Superdrug own brand I'd indulged in up until this point. Top this off with some of their Hair Cream and I'm looking, well, I'm not necessarily sexier but I am better groomed and fresher than I was before.
The Ottoman Lounge isn’t cheap, but then it’s not meant to be. A shave will cost you £30, a shave and a cut £60. If you want the full works (including the pedicure) it’s £125. But the whole point of it is that you take your time- it’s more than just a haircut or a shave. That’s why all the extra treatments come as standard. If you just want to nip in and out of your local barbers in 10 minutes then there are a thousand places you can do that. If you want a little bit more, and by extension look and feel that bit better, then the Ottoman Lounge is the place to be.
Check out the Ottoman Lounge's website here
The new range of Ted Baker Grooming products are available now in Boots
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