You don’t have to travel far for a mid-winter pick-me-up. Kate Farr and Rachel Read bliss out with some of Hong Kong’s most relaxing treatments
The Grand Hyatt’s serene, Scandi-chic Plateau Spa has partnered with high-end French speaker brand Devialet to create a one-of-a-kind treatment that combines massage with a unique soundtrack, recorded all around Hong Kong.
Arriving at the spa, my treatment began with a warming cup of ginger tea and a quick questionnaire to complete. The friendly therapist asked me about any specific areas of concern, and helped me to select a relaxing aromatherapy oil blend for my massage. During our chat, I became aware of a pair of glossy white speakers, softly omitting low background sounds that are unmistakably Hong Kong – the buzz of traffic, the “tick” of a pedestrian crossing and the sound of a metal trolley rattling along the pavement.
As I was led to the heated bed, the city noise gradually subsided into seagull calls and the whisper of a breeze over lapping waves, which was definitely more relaxing! The soundtrack continued to seamlessly evolve as the treatment progressed – into the light patter of rain on leaves, the gentle chime of monastery gongs, the soft melody of an erhu playing over birdsong… even a gale-force wind.
With a perfect medium-pressure massage carefully choreographed to the recording, I soon drifted into a deeply meditative state. After what seemed like minutes, I was gently brought back to reality by the delicate clinking of china cups on saucers, as my therapist poured me another steaming brew, and left me to slowly come round, feeling lighter and completely relaxed.
As someone whose mind tends to wander during a massage, I found that focusing on the soundtrack really helped me to stay in the moment and fully appreciate the experience. I also loved the way in which Hong Kong’s familiar sounds are isolated and presented – not just as daily background noise, but as the real star of the show. (Kate)
Devialet Voyage des Sens experience is available until the end of March 2018.
Price: $1,300 (plus 10% service charge)
Duration: 60 minutes
Plateau Spa, 11/F Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, 2584 7688, plateauspa.com
A pretty, unashamedly chintzy space, Spa BPZ was founded in 1975 by Nigar Qureshi, who has remained ahead of the curve in innovative therapies ever since.
Over a cup of herbal tea, Qureshi explained that the ancient Ayurvedic Shirodhara treatment focuses a steady stream of oil onto the “third eye” area, just above the eyebrows in the centre of the forehead, and that, in combination with the OxyEssential – when pure essential oils are diffused and inhaled with oxygen – I should experience a deep sense of relaxation.
Leading me to the treatment room, my therapist instructed me to lie back on the massage bed, and helped position my head on a padded cushion suspended at a slight recline over a small sink. Above my head was what appeared to be a brass lamp, narrowing to a small opening at its base, containing oil. After positioning the OxyEssential nozzle near my face, I was instructed to breathe deeply and enjoy a gentle head, neck and shoulder massage. After around ten minutes, the oil was released, slowly dripping onto my forehead before running over my hair into the sink below. The sensation felt like a gentle massage in itself and, coupled with my therapist’s continued focus on my neck and shoulders, soon left me in a light doze.
As the treatment came to an end, the remaining oil was combed through my hair to evenly distribute it – I chose to leave this on until later in the evening for deep conditioning benefits, but you can also shower off there if you prefer not to rock the wet look in public!
That night, I slept better than I have done in a long time, and woke early the next morning feeling refreshed – even skipping my morning coffee, proving that this ancient-meets-modern combination was just the re-set I needed. (Kate)
Shirodhara and OxyEssential
Price: Shirodhara $890; OxyEssential $480
Duration: Shirodhara 60 minutes; OxyEssential 20 minutes
Spa Beaute Par Zai, 12/F Sea Bird House, 22-28 Wyndham Street, Central, 2524 1272, spabpz.com
Lush Spa – the creation of the renowned British eco beauty brand – offers a delightful change of scenery from anonymously-sleek spa spaces; filled with rustic wood furniture and vintage knick-knacks, it feels more like a charming English country cottage.
After a thorough consultation where my therapist explained what lay ahead, I was led into my spacious treatment room to change into a pair of cosy, brushed cotton pyjamas (which had even been warmed by a hot water bottle in advance). You keep these on throughout the Hard Days Night treatment, which features a blend of full-body massage and passive stretching, all set to a dreamy mix of reworked Beatles tunes.
If you have no idea what passive stretching is – don’t worry, nor did I. It’s essentially yoga with someone doing all the hard work for you; my therapist managed to uncover muscles I didn’t even know existed by gently pulling, stretching and twisting my limbs. At one point, a silk ribbon was wrapped around my arms and legs pulley-style, helping to stretch those muscles even further – an unexpectedly serene experience that felt like floating weightlessly into the sky.
This was interspersed with a medium-pressure massage that smoothly kneaded away all my aches and pains, with every stroke and stretch expertly choreographed to match the totally groovy Beatles soundtrack. Created by Lush especially for the treatment, a seamless mix of folksy versions of Ticket to Ride, Strawberry Fields Forever and Here Comes the Sun drifted by, helping to lull my body further into a state of total relaxation.
After 75 minutes of bliss, the sound of a cockerel crowing signalled my return to reality, although the thoroughly British touch of a cup of tea and plate of Jammie Dodger biscuits waiting outside my room helped prolong the loveliness just that little bit longer. On leaving, I honestly felt looser and more limber than I had in years – this really is the perfect treatment to fine-tune your body from top-to-toe, with a dose of quirky Lush magic sprinkled over the entire experience. (Rachel)
Hard Days Night Treatment
Duration: 75 minutes, plus 15-minute consultation
Lush Spa, Soho Square, 21 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, 3915 0638, hk.lush.com
Romantic or platonic, it’s time to gather up your spa-rtner for a day of pampering à deux. MiraSpa’s Couples Package includes a bespoke 60-minute massage and 30-minute facial for both of you, 30 minutes’ use of the private steam shower and sunken whirlpool bath, a delicious three-course lunch with two glasses of wine at WHISK restaurant – and even a special mini spa gift to take home too.
Available weekdays until the end of February 2018.
Price: $3,680 per couple on weekdays (except Public Holidays), $3,980 per couple on Valentine’s Day (plus 10% service charge)
Duration: 90 minutes
MiraSpa, B3, The Mira Hong Kong, 118 – 130 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2315 5500, themirahotel.com/facility/spa-zone
Packing a powerful punch of anti-ageing ingredients, Glow’s new 90-minute Timeless Prodigy facial delivers remarkable results. After a welcome ritual incorporating Thai and Shiatsu massage, a lymphatic facial massage and a purifying champagne jelly elixir, your face is treated to a potent concentrate of damask rose stem cells and natural growth factors, followed by a 3D collagen mesh mask, and the application of a rich white truffle extract cream – the perfect antidote to dry winter weather.
Duration: 90 minutes
Glow Spa, 9/F Parker House, 72 Queen’s Road Central, 2525 5198, glowspa.hk
The Oriental Spa
Did someone say spa day? The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong’s Oriental Spa has just launched a fantastic new Sense of Balance treatment, which combines a powerful trio of TCM-inspired elements – a 30-minute ginseng body scrub, 60-minute Chinese meridian acupressure-point massage, and 30-minute cupping session (the traditional Asian therapy where circular glass jars are suctioned to various parts of your body) – all designed to enhance and invigorate your body’s qi energy flow. Remember to arrive an hour early to maximise your pampering time at the spa’s luxurious heat and water facilities too.
Price: $2,300 Monday-Thursday, $2,600 Friday-Sunday and Public Holidays (plus 10% service charge)
Duration: 2 hours
The Oriental Spa, Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 15 Queen’s Road Central, 2132 0011,
Flawless *Expat Parent reader exclusive*
Can’t decide whether to indulge in a facial or a body treatment? Get the best of both worlds with Flawless’ February packages, which showcase a range of Medik8 and Aromatherapy Associates’ best hydrating, revitalising and rejuvenating products. The Day Cleanse includes a 45-minute Superfacial and 45-minute Rose Body Hydrator (comprising a body scrub, wrap and Ayurveda scalp massage), whilst the Purify & Revitalise package features a 60-minute Purify Facial and 30-minute Body Scrub. Available 1-28 February 2018.
Exclusive offer: Expat Parent readers can also bag an extra 30% off any face or body treatment between Monday-Wednesday; simply bring a friend who’s never visited Flawless before and show staff this article for both of you to receive the discount.
Price: Day Cleanse costs $1,320, Purify & Revitalise $1,680
Flawless, 4/F, Sea Bird House, 22-28 Wyndham Street, Central, 2869 5868, flawless.hk.com
Sparadise *Expat Parent reader exclusive*
If your New Year’s resolutions include keeping a tighter hold on the purse strings, look no further than Sparadise for a fantastic discount deal, exclusive to Expat Parent readers. Just $1,800 buys you a 60-minute facial, 30-minute eye treatment, 45-minute body scrub, 60-minute body massage, and Shellac spa manicure and pedicure. Split the deal with a friend or better yet, keep it to yourself. We promise we won’t tell.
Available until 5 March 2018. To redeem, quote ‘Expat Parent’ at time of booking
Price: $1,800 for six treatments
Duration: 3 hours and 15 minutes
Sparadise, 3/F, 60 Wellington Street, Central, 2997 2208, sparadise.com.hk