By Kari Rosenberg - Thursday 2nd 2012f February 2012

I very nearly missed my appointment at the new urban spa Smooth You. And if I'd had a stiff neck when I made the appointment, it was certainly complaining even more now.

Walking from Angel station past the various designer vintage stores - their windows spilling over with antique fur and lace, decades old Hermes scarfs and classic Chanel arm-candy - my magpie-eyed rubber necking had only exasperated my aches and pains. I even spent the first 10 minutes of my consultation wondering whether the shops would still be open on my return home.

You wouldn't know at a glance that Smooth You boasts one of the best urban spas in London. As you walk in, ultra-glam extension-clad stylists are blow-drying and colouring the equally trendy clientele, as the immaculately polished receptionist offers you refreshments. It looks like a hairdressing salon - albeit a super-stylish one - but you wouldn't guess what lies beneath.

While I wouldn't call myself a facial expert, I am by no means a novice, having experienced everything from the relaxing but slightly unsatisfying gentle massage with a slab of cleanser to the two-hour intense squeezing, buffing and burning ordeal that often results in a slightly pizza-like complexion for the next few days.

However, I am pleased to say the facial I experienced - the Dr Murad Vitamin C Sun Undone Infusion Facial - was something very lovely indeed, striking a perfect balance between the two.

Following a rigorous skin examination using the latest technology, my beauty therapist demonstrated how my skin fared - skin deep - including sun-spots, fine lines and wrinkles, dry patches and pigmentation. While I jumped back in horror as my face morphed into what looked like an atlas of red and brown splotches, I was reassured my skin type was relatively normal - despite my complaints of unevenness and blemishes.

I was then taken downstairs and shown the various treatment rooms, and what seemed upstairs like a relatively small space, opened out into a fabulous boutique mini-spa, with a number of lightly coloured tranquil consultation rooms, complete with showers and any other amenities you may need.
Tucked up under my blanket, my facial commenced - and thoughts of quilted clutch bags receded - as I slipped into a semi-conscious state of spa-fuelled serenity as my face was massaged, moisturised, cleansed, toned, masked, and generally preened and pampered under the gentle but firm hands of my expert beautician, Gabi.

Using Dr Murad products - which, already convinced with the instant results, I purchased for myself before leaving - the treatment achieved just the right balance between rejuvenation and extraction, and afterwards my skin was glowing. Yes, actually glowing! While I had been promised 'instantly youthful, luminous skin', it is rarely the case you leave a facial feeling like anything but a highly-polished tomato. But I wasn't red - I wasn't blotchy - and since my treatment, and buying the Dr Murad home-mask, my skin has never been better. Yes, really.

The hour-long Yon Ka Aroma Luxe Massage was equally fabulous. Sending me off into a zombie-like slumber, I can barely remember a thing about it, other than it being absolutely mind-blowing. I left feeling so utterly jelly-like, that I completely surpassed the glinting shop windows on my walk back to the station and instead headed home for a cup of tea and a hot bath (arranging an Angel-based shopping spree for the following day.)

Smooth You, 70 Essex Road, N1 8LT.
Call 020 7704 1955 or go online to