FOR A JOURNEY THROUGH TIME: THE RITZ-CARLTON, KYOTO
WHAT TO EXPECT The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Kyoto offers a relaxing space, with a Zen-like healing atmosphere, amid the comforting sounds of a flowing waterfall. The luxurious treatments incorporate spa products from ESPA, made from the highest quality botanical essences and marine actives. With seven treatment rooms including one spa suite, as well as a relaxation room, steam room, dry sauna Tand a 20m swimming pool, this spa venue is a perfect respite from exploring the historic city of Kyoto.
HIGHLIGHTS Try the Kyoto Bamboo Ritual, which is a full body treatment that uses heated bamboo sticks—which assist in stretching the body—to help with joint mobility and improve flexibility, and warm oils. Ideal for anyone in need of a deep tension release, this fast-paced, free-flowing and energetic treatment is perfect for relieving tight muscles and slowing busy minds into a state of Nirvana.
GOOD TO KNOW If it’s a total Japanese immersion you are seeking, try the Ryokucha Serenity Ritual, which utilises the health benefits and rich antioxidant properties of green tea. Warm essential oils, combined with rhythmical massage techniques, evoke calmness and an overall feeling of wellbeing.
For more information, visit www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/japan/kyoto/spa
FOR A GEMSTONE-INSPIRED HEALING RITUAL: THE ST. REGIS MACAO
WHAT TO EXPECT Located on the top floor of The St. Regis Macao, the Iridium Spa is an inviting retreat with captivating views of the Cotai Strip, dressed in a serene palette of blue, sienna and eggshell for an elegant and tranquil ambiance. Deeply rooted in the Asian culture of gemstone therapy, the signature gemstone treatments are wonderfully pampering and rich in minerals to ensure a peace of mind.
HIGHLIGHTS The Timeless Iridium Journey is your own personalised signature gemstone spa treatment. Commencing with a Welcome Ritual, Signature Scrub, Signature Massage and concluding with a rejuvenating facial, the whole journey lasts for three hours and 20 minutes. A digital questionnaire done beforehand will identify your body’s needs, and recommend the stones best suited to address them. The mineral element of each stone provides an enhanced physiological response based on the mineral qualities—there’s aquamarine for balancing, citrine for renewal, tourmaline for healing and so on.
GOOD TO KNOW The St. Regis Macao is a luxe stay for those interested in other cultural activities beyond gambling. With a lush butler service that delivers incredibly attentive 24-hour on-call demands, no needs are beyond their capability. The Bar serves killer cocktails and the hotel’s proximity to other resorts and theatres in the vicinity makes it a great location that’s away from the crazy gambling halls that other resorts boast. If liveried service is what floats your boat, pay this jewel a visit for a long weekend of bliss.
For more information, visit www.stregismacao.com
FOR A MODERN TAKE ON JAPANESE TRADITIONS: MANDARIN ORIENTAL, TOKYO
WHAT TO EXPECT Mandarin Oriental offers an indulgent escape amidst the bustling streets of Tokyo. Spread across two floors of the hotel is The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, a posh retreat overflowing with calm and serenity. Private treatment rooms, plus a range of facilities such as heating and vitality pools, water lounges and steam rooms, work together to help the body and mind enter a relaxed state of bliss.
HIGHLIGHTS At 180 minutes, The Sakura Ritual is the spa’s longest—and most iconic—treatment. Steeped in age-old Japanese traditions, the spa therapy begins with the gentle washing of your feet before the body is given a soothing exfoliating cleanse with the Azuki Bean Scrub. The skilled therapist then eases the tension in the muscles away with the Kiatsu, a unique therapy that melds the best of Japanese Shiatsu and Thai massage techniques.
GOOD TO KNOW The use of the azuki bean is grounded in the belief that it’s an effective agent that tightens, lifts and moisturises the skin. Saponaria, an organic foaming agent that can be found in the humble bean, is said to remove the skin’s impurities while enhancing blood circulation.
For more information, visit www.mandarinoriental.com/tokyo/luxury-spa/
FOR A THAI IMMERSION: INTERCONTINENTAL HUA HIN RESORT
WHAT TO EXPECT Once the preferred holiday destination of the Thai elite, the beaches of Hua Hin are now easily accessible via a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. From the moment you pull up into the driveway of the Intercontinental Hua Hin Resort and are greeted by the staff’s warm, welcoming smiles, you’re assured of a relaxing vacation ahead.
HIGHLIGHTS When you’re not frolicking in the expansive pools or strolling along the white beaches, why not indulge in the signature Royal Thai Massage? Located on the second floor, the spa is the perfect setting for a rejuvenating afternoon. At 60 minutes, this deeply restorative massage combines deep finger pressure with assisted stretching to boost vitality and un-knot tense muscles.
GOOD TO KNOW To complete your experience, have an early start to the day and book yourself for either the beachfront yoga session conducted by the resort’s resident yoga guru, or sign up for a private Tai Chi class for low-impact healing.
For more information, visit www.huahin.intercontinental.com
FOR A NEW-AGE HIDEOUT: W TAIPEI
WHAT TO EXPECT Situated right in the heart of the pulsating city, staying at the buzzy W Taipei puts you within reach of everything from tourist sites to vibrant shopping strips and some of the best restaurants and nightlife the city has to offer. All 405 rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art entertainment system to ensure you never have a dull moment.
HIGHLIGHTS W Away Spa is an ultra-modern sanctuary designed to soothe your senses from the moment you enter, with light therapy and soft, relaxing background sounds. Well-suited for the worn-out city dweller, the Body Refuel massage takes on an integrated sports therapy approach to relieve lactic acid build-up in order to enhance muscle performance and improve flexibility.
GOOD TO KNOW Classified under three categories: Detox, Refuel and Shine, all AWAY Spa treatments are designed to provide instant solutions to the time-strapped individual. For those looking to reset an out-of-sync body and mind, Detox treatments help restore equilibrium. Refuel treatments, on the other hand, help boost vitality by improving circulation and energy levels. Or opt for one of the Shine treatments, which uses results-oriented spa-based brands for radiant skin.
For more information, visit www.wtaipei.com
FOR AN AUTHENTIC LOCAL SPA EXPERIENCE: PARK HYATT SIEM REAP
WHAT TO EXPECT Just 20 minutes from Siem Reap International Airport and 15 minutes from the Angkor Archaelogical Park, Park Hyatt Siem Reap is also just a short tuk-tuk ride away from other popular sightseeing spots, making it the perfect location to explore the historic city. Taking cues from traditional architecture, the property houses 104 rooms and suites, a full spa with six treatment rooms, three restaurants and two separate pools to meet all your needs.
HIGHLIGHTS Did you know that Cambodian healing methods date back to the time of the Khmer empire? Referencing this ancient knowledge, the Spa at Park Hyatt Siem Reap includes freshly-made ingredients in its menu of time-honoured treatments and services. Try the signature Apsara Scrub and Heritage Massage for sheer bliss. The body scrub is infused with jasmine and ylang ylang oils to soothe weary minds and refine skin texture. The massage, on the other hand, combines pressure point and deep pressure techniques to promote a sense of calm and improve sleep quality.
GOOD TO KNOW Apsara, which means lotus, is a much revered, native plant in Cambodia. Harvested in local fields, the lotus is then shipped to skincare manufacturing labs in neighbouring Thailand to be formulated into sumptuous, all-natural salves before being used in the spa’s treatments.
For more information, visit www.siemreap.park.hyatt.com
FOR A MULTI-CULTURAL MIX: BANYAN TREE TAMOUDA BAY
WHAT TO EXPECT Designed in homage to local architecture, all 92 luxury villas have a lush garden and private pool, and reflect Moroccan charm with a touch of Mediterranean eclecticism.
HIGHLIGHTS What Banyan Tree property is complete without a lavish spa? Based on the healing properties of water, choose from an extensive menu of balancing and energising services that are designed to incorporate Moroccan and Asian wellness philosophies. In addition to eight treatment rooms, the spa also features a Hammam, vitality pool and aroma steam chamber for complete relaxation.
GOOD TO KNOW With several quaint towns in the vicinity, take a leisurely drive for an eye-opening experience. For example, check out Tangier, which is known for its upscale restaurants, art galleries and vibrant souks for some serious retail therapy. Or behold the sight of Chefchaouen, a town where all of the buildings’ walls are painted in various shades of blue.
For more information, visit www.banyantree.com/en/em-morocco-tamouda-bay
FOR MAJOR SKIN PURIFICATION: LING SPA AT UNION SQUARE NYC
WHAT TO EXPECT Centrally located in the heart of Union Square, this spa is a haven for weary urbanites. Formulated free of potential irritants like mineral oils, lanolin and artificial fragrances, Ling’s products are beloved by its roster of celebrity clients, including Behati Prinsloo and Miranda Kerr.
HIGHLIGHTS Ideal for congested skin that’s subjected to pollution, the “WOW” Signature Triple Peel Energy Lift Facial with Body Wellness is an extensive ritual that includes three gentle peels, three skin-restoring masks and an acupressure massage for a truly invigorating experience from head to toe. Skin is deeply purified, balanced and nourished to a healthy, never-before-seen glow.
GOOD TO KNOW It combines a sugar cane-based glycolic peel, papaya enzyme peel and a final acid-free peel to eliminate dead skin cells, revealing smoother, softer skin beneath.
For more information, visit www.lingskincare.com
FOR THE ULTIMATE URBAN RETREAT: AMAN TOKYO
WHAT TO EXPECT As the Aman Group’s first cosmopolitan property, Aman Tokyo is strategically located within walking distance to the Imperial Palace Gardens and its prestigious financial district. Nearly 30m high, the lofty lobby sets the tone for the restrained luxury that follows through from its sprawling guest rooms to the impressive 26,910sqft spa.
HIGHLIGHTS Ideal for jet-setting travellers, the Aman Tokyo Seasonal Journey is designed to harmonise the body, mind and spirit with nature. During the winter months, the body typically slows down to conserve energy in order to keep itself warm. As a result, it is common to feel sluggish. To combat this, a mixture of invigorating strokes, hot stones and pine are used to reawaken tired bodies.
GOOD TO KNOW With breathtaking views of the Tokyo skyline, be sure to set aside ample time to take a dip in the pool or simply lounge about in the comfortable daybeds. Or complement your spa treatment with a visit to the steam room and traditional Japanese hot baths.
For more information, visit www.aman.com/Tokyo
FOR UNPARALELLED COMFORT: SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, TOKYO
WHAT TO EXPECT The epitome of timeless elegance and luxury, the Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo, is at the heart of the upscale Marunouchi district and is within walking distance to the glitzy Ginza shopping strip. In addition to the spacious 538sqft Deluxe rooms and top-of-the-line bedding that helps ensure a good night’s rest, the level of service is unrivalled, as classic Shangri-La hospitality is augmented by Japanese grace, putting you right at home.
HIGHLIGHTS Tucked away on the 29th floor of the hotel, the unique decor adds a touch of exoticism to the ambience. Featuring traditional instruments and costumes from Tibet, many of the spa treatments also reference Chinese and Tibetan influences with traditional Japanese philosophy. Book yourself the Kisetsu Ritual (which directly translates to seasonal rituals); it includes a body scrub, phototherapy bath and relaxing massage. A little notepad gift is also included, which prompts you to be mindful of your health, wellbeing and the surroundings.
GOOD TO KNOW The ingredients used throughout the year vary with the season; Winter lasts from December through February, during which ginger and sake are the main ingredients used to enhance vitality.
For more information, visit www.shangri-la.com/tokyo/shangrila/
By Joyce Cheo