PARENTS

ParentView: The Cupcake Spa

02/03/2010 21:51 | Updated 22 May 2015

When you've just had a baby, life's all about the little things. Little new person, little clothes, and little sleep. Which is why heading out for a day with the baby can seem like a pretty big deal.

So thank goodness that my first major excursion across London on public transport with my 10-week-old was to visit a special mother and baby spa.

Cupcake is a very different sort of gym and spa. If the long line of buggies parked at the entrance and the play pen in the corner don't give the game away, the countless little people charging merrily about the place soon will. This is a gym for parents.

Started in 2008 by American Karen Hastings, Cupcake is Hastings' answer to what she felt was a lack of really nice gyms in the UK. And it certainly is different to any other gym I've been to. It's a place to hang out over some food and wine, a place to have a calming treatment, a place to do your ante-natal classes and a place to leave your children when you're doing all of the above.

Children are very welcome at Cupcake. The creche on site is staffed by kindly souls determined to help you enjoy your visit without stress, and the staff on reception and at the bar are clearly great with little ones. The atmosphere is incredibly welcoming and relaxed and there's a real family vibe, with staff, children and mothers on first name terms.

I had a lovely facial in the spa, with its comfy water bed and fluffy towels, and I returned to the creche to be reunited with a calm and cuddled baby. My only slight criticism was that I could sometimes hear children crying through the wall of the spa, which made me fret over my own (although I was reassured that I would be fetched if the creche had any problems) and there was a noisy exercise class going on during part of the treatment.

It's not a cheap gym, with monthly fees covering all the family for £125, and an hourly creche charge (£4.50 for members, £8 for non-members). Treatments are about what you'd expect for a high-end spa, with a facial costing between £55 and £70. But while Cupcake isn't particularly cheap, it's great as a one-off treat if your budget doesn't stretch to it. And since socialising as a new mother usually means meeting in cafes to eat, having a gym as your social hub will certainly be better for shifting that baby weight.

ParentView score: 4/5

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