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Grooming

Once the preserve of country estates and exotic resorts, there are now more spas than ever in London, and although the city is built up, they’re a little more discrete than you’d think. Now you can get a massage or pedicure on your lunch hour without any fuss or trouble.

The Corinthia Hotel is a beautiful building a stone’s throw from Downing Street, and beneath its doors lies the Espa Life, for men and women. The dark corridors house a gym (managed by Stephen Price, personal trainer to the world’s athletic elite) and a hair salon run by Daniel Galvin, as well as an award-winning spa. Try the Shiatsu Inspired experience – a signature massage which works the whole body and exfoliation. You’ll feel brand new afterwards.

Spa treatments are perfect after a long day of shopping – thankfully the Agua Spa at The Sanderson Hotel is just a short walk from Oxford Street. Their citrus facial treatments will help rejuvenate your skin, while a hot stone massage will relax your nervous system and soothe sore joints.

Some spas are more traditional than others. Porchester Spa, in Queensway, men and woman are only allowed in on different days (alternating through the week, check the website for changes) – although Sunday night is for couples. They offer a traditional Finnish log sauna, therapeutic treatments and exercise facilities in an art deco setting. And when you’re exhausted? Cool off in the icy plunge pool.

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When FHM was invited to the new Ted Grooming Room in Mayfair – the latest in Ted Baker’s line of decadent man-parlours – we got a bit excited.

After all, we haven’t had a close shave before, and we’ve been going to the same barber for 18 years. His name’s Monty, in case you were wondering. Whiskery. Quiet. Likes to get the job done.

So after a fun day at FHM towers, one involving cheeseburgers, puppies and water balloon fights, we were pretty stressed, so went down to see what the fuss was about.

Ted Baker himself wasn’t present, but we were soon sat down and chatting about what we would like done. FHM sat back and relaxed, wondering why we watched Sweeney Todd at the weekend.

It was a bit scratchy, but didn’t hurt, and was oddly satisfying. Like striking a match. Wait, is this what it feels like to be that strip of card on the side of a matchstick box that gets struck? Ffffkkrrrrt. Or something.

Ted Baker Grooming Room
This is a beard. A fine beard

The barber wasted no time slapping pleasant gels on our face, designed to help relax the skin after it’s brief massacre. The stinging, he assured us, was a good thing.

But perhaps the most curious part of the event – apart from drinking a rapidly re-filling glass of scotch throughout – was the part that came next.

“Close your eyes, this might sting a bit,” said the barber. A sharp, hot pain struck FHM in the ear – opening our eyes, we saw he had lit a long bit of tape on fire and was whipping our ears to burn away excess fluff.

Ted Baker Grooming Room
Put these sort of things in your hair and on your face. They smell nice

“It’s awful when you see TV presenters or bands on TV, and they zoom in so you can see the little white fuzz around their ear,” the owner explained afterwards. That explains the Turkish ear-burning ritual, then.

Now with fresh, youthful ears and a face smelling of Healthiness, we had a quick haircut. A lock-chop, a wig-bash, call it what you like – we only vaguely told the barber what we wanted (no dinner + excessive scotch = slurred speech) but he did a proper good job.

With shorter hair, clean ears, a smooth face and a hankering for fast food, we left Ted’s Grooming Room in high spirits – and would recommend it to anyone looking to fix up and look sharp.

If you think this might be good for you, get your hairy chin to Ted’s Grooming Room and thank us later.

London’s snaking streets are a haven for shoppers, but after a busy day trailing up and down stores there’s nothing better than taking the weight off your feet and having a quick drink. Whether you’re after a hearty pint, a big glass of wine or even a bitter shot of coffee, the best pick-me-up bars are closer to the changing rooms then you think.

After trailing up and down central London’s shopping streets, there’s nothing like taking the weight off and relaxing in a pub or bar. Chances are you’ll have popped into Selfridge’s if you’re shopping around Oxford Street, so why not save it till last and – as soon as your latest purchase has been bagged up – head to the department store’s Wonder Bar, located above the wine section. It’s a bright, stylish hideaway, with an exceptional selection of wines. Their automated machines let you try sample sips of different wines and order from your seat using their self-service mechanism – so you won’t even have to wait for a waiter to turn up.

Alternatively, if you’re shopping along Carnaby Street, head to the area’s Newburgh Quarter where you can find some nice pubs and bars tucked away. The pillar-box red Shaston Arms is a friendly, laid-back pub with some great ales on tap. But if you need reviving, try Speakeasy Espresso And Brew Bar up the road for a shot of coffee. Just the ticket after an exhausting afternoon.

If you’re in Leicester Square or Covent Garden, try The Porterhouse. It gets incredibly busy at times, but is a vast pub – split over 12 different levels – and decorated with old clocks and copper pipes, which snake through the walls. Bag a booth and you might end up staying here a little longer than you planned. They have a menu of more than 100 bottled beers, and a range of their own from their Dublin brewery. If pale, crisp lager is your thing, a cold pint of Chiller comes highly recommended.

Flanked by traditional barbers’ poles, Murdock caters for the modern man-about-town and is perfect if you’re looking to upgrade your usual regime. With smart shops in Shoreditch, Covent Garden, Mayfair and Soho, it’s distinctly masculine interiors and first-class service will ensure you keep coming back.

A great haircut needn’t be edgy or complicated, and Brooks and Brooksoffer a no-nonsense approach to cutting hair. Their premises, a short walk from Holborn station, has a relaxed atmosphere, and whether you’re looking for a new look or just want your usual style maintained, their team of award-winning hairdressers will be more than happy to help.

Don’t let the Soho postcode fool you; yes, the staff are attractive and the interior sleek, but The Lounge focuses on substance just as much as style. As well as giving a great cut, the hairdressers are happy to impart grooming wisdom, offering advice on managing your hair and suggesting products to use to keep it looking as great as it does when you get out the chair.

More men than ever are indulging in a classic wet shave – it’s a decidedly masculine treatment that’s indulgent without feeling metrosexual. For a classic shave, look to London’s traditionally upmarket areas for an authentic treatment.

Gentleman’s Tonic in Mayfair offers a mix of old and new; handsome mahogany and leather mixed with state-of-the-art LCD screens showing anything from music channels to the sport.

Established in 2000, The Refinery, based in Kensington, uses its own brand of shaving products, specifically designed to give a smooth, relaxing shave. The friendly staff will even talk you through the procedure, giving advice on how to incorporate the treatments into your own routine.

Anyone visiting London is expected to make a trip to Harrods – but beneath the many floors of designer clothing lies a discreet gentleman’s barbers where you can experience a range of treatments. A former pub for well-heeled types, it’s perfect if you want a relaxing atmosphere teeming with a gentleman’s club feel to it.

I’m very happy to be working at the Telegraph ‘atm’ as an ‘expert’/knower of things. As part of a panel of writers I write about London each week, with a sort of specialism in style/grooming/art/fun. In the words of my Grandma, I’m ‘shoulder to shoulder with Ben Fogel’ (he is also one of the experts)>

This is an example of the sort of thing I do http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/in-the-know/london-lifestyle/9205491/London-barbers.html

If you go on the page, you can ask questions and we will answer them. Don’t ask stupid ones like ‘Where can I find a lanky northerner in South East London’ because that’s not very nice really, is it.