The founders of the UK’s award-winning skin clinic open exquisite Wellness Retreat

The founders of the UK’s award-winning skin clinic open exquisite Wellness Retreat

The Best in the Business

Dr Khan and his wife Lesley Reynolds have a motto: They say ‘you’re only as strong as your weakest link’… we’ve made sure we don’t have one. A powerful statement indeed but supported by the evidence.

Lesley Reynolds has earned her reputation as the ‘Queen of Harley Street’. A skincare expert, she and her husband Dr Khan founded the award-winning aesthetics clinic Harley Street Skin, which has been established for 15 years. Lesley is a celebrity columnist, star of Stitch Me, Lift Me, Tuck Me and her unparalleled advice frequently graces the pages of UK national publications such as The Daily Express, OK and Best magazines – as well as guest articles in numerous favourite glossies.

Dr Aamer Khan MB ChB is the chief practitioner at the clinic: renowned surgical pioneer, TV/radio personality, and HSSC co-founder. Dr Khan has more than 15 years of pristine cosmetic experience to his name, working tirelessly in the arenas of reconstructive surgery, anti-ageing, genealogy and nutrition. He is also an author of books such as the bestselling ‘Turn Back Time’, which advises how to knock years off your age, lose weight and live longer.

The Khans are a powerhouse team within the world of aesthetics, attracting the rich and famous including the acclaimed West End singer Beverley Knight and actresses Patsy Palmer and Dynasty star Stephanie Beacham, to mention a tiny percentage of regular clientele. The clinic’s discretion is legendary and for every client prepared to admit to a little help there will be at least fifty household names who prefer to keep these matters secret.

Wellness From the Outset

Lesley explains the initial motivation for founding the clinic: ‘We embarked upon Harley Street Skin because we felt that pooling our experience, both medical and cosmetic, was a fantastic way of offering our patients a comprehensive experience. One of wellness and self-enhancement. This has always been our number one priority as we believe that the best possible results come from treating the person as a whole. That’s why we’ve worked so hard to put together a team of specialists, doctors, therapists and referring experts – each and every one excelling in their respective field. With every avenue covered by an industry frontrunner, we can be confident that Harley Street Skin offers the very best insights out there – bar none.’

Underpinning the unbridled success of their Harley Street business lies years of very early mornings, steep learning curves and a bold move to seek to create one of London’s premier clinics. Combining medical skills with a passion to help make people look their best on the outside and feel their best on the inside was the goal: converting this into a successful and profitable business took more skills than they could have ever imagined. Yet the couple learned and continued building, with the end result of a clinic favoured by celebrities for its near-unrivalled aptitude throughout the customer journey on what can be a highly personal matter.

The couple have been involved in wellness years before it entered the mainstream as a treatment of both body and mind, making sure to treat people not just for their cosmetic needs but to also help guide those who may need to address their self-perception. Intrinsic links between physical and mental health are explored in Lesley and Dr Khan’s practice and writings and this is a key first stage in their approach: achieving a state of nirvanic wellness might begin with the body, but it ends with the mind.

The holistic approach taken balances outer beauty with inner wellness, a mantra which has always prevailed at the clinic. Aesthetics should be enhanced by a balanced diet, appropriate exercise and inner peace. Harley Street Skin clinic has always sought to offer a full range of options, tailored to each client. Lesley adds further detail, saying: ‘It’s no good if we supply highly qualified aestheticians available with the most sophisticated treatments to a client who is hooked on a bad diet or lifestyle. Skincare depends so greatly on good hydration, avoiding sugar and other dietary hazards as well as optimum mental health. A stressed mind will show in the face and demeanour. Someone who is practising good self-care will benefit far more from aesthetic intervention.’

Building a Retreat at Ballingdon

To that end, establishing an exquisite Personal Wellness & Spiritual Enrichment retreat was a natural next step for the enterprising duo, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. ‘We set out to offer a place of complete safety’, says Lesley: ‘nowadays the emphasis is on improved mental health and total relaxation and we are delighted to be able to provide exactly that at a luxury location far away from London’s bustle’.

In 2021, Dr Khan and Lesley opened Ballingdon Hall, as the ultimate escape to renewal and relaxation. Situated just outside Sudbury, 16th Century Ballingdon Hall offers 14 bedrooms and over 20 acres of glorious countryside to explore. As well as the aesthetics clinic, the programmes include meditation, yoga, spiritual recharge, gut health, couples and men’s retreats and excellent cuisine including Ballingdon Hall’s own honey, water and elderflower champagne. The culinary concept is as far from a traditional spa as possible, with a genius chef who hails from a 2 star Michelin restaurant providing delicious but incredibly healthy cuisine.

Aesthetics was the springboard which enabled this next venture, but Lesley confirms that it has become a crowded marketplace which fails to address the growing demand for help with inner health. Now, the 50,000 clients already devoted to the Harley Street Skin clinic have the option to spread their wings into a wider wellness experience and The Khans are ambitious for the Hall project, which already boasts extensive grounds containing an apiary and a chef’s garden. Expansion options are not only designed to meet market demand for holistic health, they are focused on sustainability and respect for the natural environment. Plans include a possible wild swimming experience, capitalising on the much-publicised benefits of cold-water immersion, complemented by Eco-huts to expand overnighting options

As with any new business, there is a need to market the product and service well enough to show it delivers exactly what it says it will. There is a considerable appetite in the modern day for natural, sustainable and eco-friendly offerings and a retreat which can sate this desire can be seen as a winning ticket. The answer for Lesley Reynolds and Dr Khan is not to streamline and cut extras from the retreat’s provisions, but to engage the challenges of a fast growing industry by bringing the highest of luxuries in a planet-friendly manner.

Investing in Success

Investment has been heavy and will continue to mount, but the Khans are totally dedicated to success. Lesley volunteers that investment in an Elizabethan building is not for the faint-hearted at the best of times, regardless of the pressure to offer a state-of-the-art clinic alongside the last word in luxury accommodation. In addition, Ballingdon Hall has recruited therapists and experts at the top of their game, including couples therapist Lohani Noor, famous for her as well as her ‘sex-on-the-couch’ straight talking.

There has also been considerable investment and research involved in the product range, and Ballingdon Hall offers the ultimate in exotic oils for aromatherapy massage and the latest range of in-house serums, creams, soaps and spritzers.

In the midst of a crowded wellness industry which large companies seek to dominate, there is considerable room for a pristine and luxurious retreat in a historical setting. The challenges of building such a business can also be converted into opportunity: paying attention to every detail, meeting every need and creating an experience unlike anything else can be a recipe for success.

Harley Street Skin Clinic already enjoys a database with 50,000 prospective clients as a result of their success. In Lesley’s own words: ‘with passion, knowing what you bring to the table in terms of skills and knowledge and an incorrigible drive to succeed you can build a business which snowballs and continually brings fantastic returns. If you’re positive that you can make a difference in an industry, follow your instincts then opportunity will find you.’

The experience at this unique retreat is bespoke, luxurious, and expertly managed, like everything else the Khans set their minds to.

Ieva Kubiliute is a psychologist and a sex and relationships advisor and a freelance writer. She's also a consultant to several health and wellness brands. While Ieva specialises in covering wellness topics ranging from fitness and nutrition, to mental wellbeing, sex and relationships and health conditions, she has written across a diverse range of lifestyle topics, including beauty and travel. Career highlights so far include: luxury spa-hopping in Spain and joining an £18k-a-year London gym. Someone’s got to do it! When she’s not typing away at her desk—or interviewing experts and case studies, Ieva winds down with yoga, a good movie and great skincare (affordable of course, there’s little she doesn’t know about budget beauty). Things that bring her endless joy: digital detoxes, oat milk lattes and long country walks (and sometimes jogs).

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