Until recently, tanning expert James Harknett had only been accessible to the celebrities and the glossy magazines. Geri Halliwell, Lisa Snowdon, Jessica Jane Clement and X Factor’s Brian Friedman are a few of the celebrities that Twitter with delight over his handiwork and he’s been credited in Harpers, Tatler and Stylist magazine fashion and beauty shoots.
But now the rest of us can get that golden celebrity glow! James has opened up a HQ at the W Hotel in London’s Leicester Square, where you can get a tan that leaves you feeling as invigorated as if you’ve had a massage. At his base in the AWAY spa at the W, there is none of this ‘get in, get undressed, move like a robot and get out again as soon as possible’ rubbish that I have experienced before while getting spray tans. From the moment you walk into the spa reception area on the sixth floor of the W hotel – all white beds and swishy curtains – you feel relaxed.
Sitting down with a glass of water and a shot of grapefruit juice (it’s the little extra touches that make you feel special), James will ask you about the colour you want to go. He is the UK ambassador for Sienna X tan, which comes in several different shades.
The numbers on the front of the bottle explain how much tanning agent is in the bottle.
Faced with all these numbers I’ll admit I got a bit confused but James made it more simple by talking in language that I understand. Did I want to look like Sarah Jessica Parker with a natural caramel hue (the New York), Kate Moss with a mid-tone tan that brightens the complexion and whitens teeth (the London), Penelope Cruz with creamy cappuccino tones (the Barcelona) or Jennifer Lopez with burnished bronze, shimmering with chocolate tones(the Santa Fe). I went for a slightly darker Kate Moss which is a shade 10. I’m a London girl, after all!
The room the tan is carried out in is large enough to be a treatment room (and it does mean a lot to have space to get changed rather than strip off behind a chair, which I have done before). It’s lit up by some divine scented candles to make the experience even more pleasant.
The candles show off some of his press cuttings, re-assuring me I am seeing a tanning expert!
Another highlight of getting a tan by James is he makes you feel at ease by getting you to move like you’re dancing as you’re being tanned. To get an even coverage you need to raise arms and stand to the side with one leg in front and stand backwards with your arms in the air and James actually made this process fun. How I don’t know, but it has to be seen to be believed . Thanks James!
And now…for what you’ve all been waiting for – the evidence. That night I was a golden goddess (see below), which is the final benefit of the tan. You can go in and go about your day as normal as it dries so fast. I promise you, I was not that brown when I woke up that day and it looks natural, doesn’t it?
You can book appointments with James Harknett at the W hotel NOW by calling 020 7758 1071. Treatments cost £40. And for more evidence about what this man can do with a bottle of tan see his website.