Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Mandarin Spa, Hong Kong

My last trip to Hong Kong was just a few days before I was set to start a new job, so I threw in a pre-emptive reward for myself. There was some shopping and a bit of luxe spa time at The Mandarin Spa to get me pampered and ready for the end of my all-too-brief sabbatical.
The Mandarin Spa, which in some online articles and blogs is listed as The Oriental Spa, occupies two floors at The Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. It is a mainstay in various lists of the best spas in Hong Kong.

At the spa's reception area, I was welcomed with a hot towel and a cup of tea, while a member of the staff took my shoes, replacing them with a pair of spa slippers.

After a few minutes, I was led to the ladies' changing room, and given a tour of the facilities before I was left to prepare for my treatment. Apart from the usual lockers, showers and sauna, the spa has an area that includes aromatherapy showers and a unique foot bath - one walks on a bed of rocks in a pool of water. I first walked in the hot water foot bath, then crossed over to the pool on the other side of the room, which had ice cold water (I was so shocked by the cold!).

Once I was dressed in my spa robe, I waited for my treatment in the spa's well-appointed relaxation room, where I enjoyed a cup of lavender tea with some dried fruits. They also offer fresh fruits, a cold herbal drink and hazelnut cookies. I wish I could've spent more time in this room; alas, I was ushered to my treatment room after just a few minutes.

My dimly-lit treatment room had a little nook, where I thought the therapist would give me a welcome foot bath - while that seems to be the practice in other hotel spas I have been to, it was not here. I instead left my things on the banquette, while I settled into the treatment bed. It was quite spacious - a bit wider than the usual massage bed  - and was draped in heavy, soft fabric. As an added treat, I was happy to find that the bed was a bit warm as I slid under the covers.

I opted for a 30-minute Quintessence Body Scrub, followed by a 60-minute Oriental Essence Massage (HKD$1,500++ for the package), both of which are among the spa's signature treatments.

The body scrub uses a sea salt and almond oil scrub that is scented using the spa's signature Quintessence oils. The blend of mandarin and frankincense produced a distinct yet soothing fragrance. There was a sweet scent to the scrub that I found very relaxing. The grains in the mix were quite fine, such that the treatment was not overly abrasive and still gentle on the skin.

Following the scrub, my therapist led me into the shower, so I could rinse of the salt. The treatment room had a sizable bathroom with a jetted bath tub - when I saw it, I suddenly wished I had scheduled a Hydrotherapy Bath as well (it's available as an add-on to any treatment).


I then returned to the treatment bed for my massage. I selected the Oriental Essence Massage, because of how it was described in the spa menu - a massage for weary travelers that focuses on the back and shoulders, which are my own tension points. I was already scrubbed to a very relaxed state, thanks to the Quintessence Scrub, so it didn't take much for me to be kneaded to sleep. All I remember about the massage were the therapist's soft, smooth hands. And that the treatment seemed way too short. Before I knew it, the therapist was ringing these chimes to signal the end of my massage.

The Mandarin Spa is a precious urban oasis in the heart of busy Hong Kong. As I returned to the changing room, walking past the relaxation room, I wished I had more time to just sit in the quiet and relax a bit more. Alas, it was my last day in the city, and I had to run off to do last minute shopping and meet friends. In true Hong Kong fashion, even my afternoon at the spa was a bit hurried. I'm glad I set aside a few hours at the spa, though - the soothing environment and luxurious treatments allowed me the opportunity to rest after five days of walking and give myself a bit of royal treatment before retuning to a 9-to-5 lifestyle.



Mandarin Spa at The Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
5 Connaught Road,
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2522 0111

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