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Muddy review: The Urban Sanctuary, Hayward’s Heath

What with WFH, juggling a job, family and multiple Covid lockdowns, and of course the monumental business of the Muddy Awards 2021, it was time for some R&R for Muddy's Kerry. Ready, steady, buff!


I stepped off a bustling street in the heart of Haywards Heath, West Sussex, through a shiny glass entrance, and into this appropriately named haven.

Founded by Gemma Phelan in 2011, The Urban Sanctuary is a major operation with 10 beauty rooms and 24 staff, offering industry-leading luxe treatments using brands like Crystal Clear and CACI non-surgical face lifts.


The place was bustling! I was met with the warmest of welcomes… well, smiling eyes above the masks. Then I was checked in and guided through to my treatment room. As I saw staff and clients chatting away over their  manicures and pedicures, it struck me just how much I’d missed this – the sisterhood and escapism you find in the inner sanctum of a really great beauty salon.

All the rooms were well appointed, Covid compliant (but not clinical) and had fluffy towels, comfortable treatment beds, soft lighting and chill-out music floating through the air. We were shown to a double suite first as my daughters were also having a treatment (their first ever!). They were booked in for a Decléor facial on neighbouring beds with the idea that they could chat (and giggle!) to put them at ease. Leaving them to it, I was taken upstairs to my own space.


The Urban Sanctuary is a one-stop shop for beauty, holistic and aesthetic treatments. An operation of this size needs to be run as a tight ship, and it was, with a smooth one-way system and different lobby area at the end to the beginning (with the all-important shop full of gleaming beauty products and toiletries).

Prior to arrival, I found the online booking process easy, choosing from the beauty menu of facials, light therapy, massage, waxing, electrolysis, nails and threading. Holistic experiences include reflexology, Indian head massage, reiki and Hopi ear candling. The more dramatic aesthetics treatments are conducted by a qualified doctor (Saturdays only) and include botox, fillers and a ‘neck lift’ for those of us going turkey.


I chose an Indian head massage care of Emma, with deep, heady scented oils followed by a DermaQuest Facial and Dermalux LED Light Therapy booster. I asked specifically for a pick-me-up-style facial, so Gemma recommended the new Dermaquest Re-Awakening facial designed for a ‘post Lockdown glow’ to promote healthy balanced skin and an ‘instant visible lift’ that would tackle rough texture and issues with skin hydration.

Dermalux LED Light Therapy

Added to this was a 10-minute Dermalux LED Light Therapy – a Dr Who type time travel machine that promises to accelerate the body’s own natural repair process, reducing signs of damage and boosting the overall appearance of my skin for 3-4 days after treatment.

For the girls, I chose a more conventional and relaxing Decléor Facial, power-packed with anti-oxidants, essential oils and warming mask with flaxseed, sunflowers and plant vitamins. While they waited for me to finish upstairs they were offered a complimentary ‘ file and varnish’ for their tootsies in Baby Pink – these guys know how to delight their customers.


You won’t be surprised to hear that we loved this award-winning salon and would go back in a heartbeat. Despite being ‘out of towners’, we were warmly welcomed and loved the buzz of the place.  It did exactly what I needed – my 90-minute pamper left me feeling relaxed and revitalised (with a fresher complexion) and my girls were giddy with the fun of it all.

Before, left, and two days after

POST-TWO-DAYS UPDATE – My skin continued to perk up just as Gemma said it would. The photo doesn’t do it justice but I was really impressed.

Good for: Treating yourself to a pick-me , much needed pamper and/or 1:1 personal treatments. Easy to pop into during the day, after work or weekends and I highly recommend going to with a friend or your daughter for some bonding time.

Not for: Anyone looking for a country-house style spa day. The quality here is high, but it’s not a place for lounging around drinking champers all day.

The damage: Good value. An Indian Head Massage was £40  (45 mins) and my Dermaquest treatment was £70 (60 minutes) and £20 for the LED  Dermalux booster treatment (15 mins) . The Decléor Signature Facial was £60 for 60 minutes and File & Varnish toes £20.

The Urban Sanctuary, 46 Sussex Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16 4EA. Tel: 01444 417472.

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