Idyllic spa lets East and West meet
Visitors to Melbourne's Crown Casino have left the calming oasis of the Crown Spa relaxed and rejuvenated thanks to a combination of Eastern and Western health and beauty treatments in spa surroundings described by many as among the most beautiful in the world.
The spa is one of the attractions at the casino which has been labelled the most influential, albeit controversial, development to be built in Melbourne since the 1956 Olympic Games.
Architects and designers called upon Hong Kong-based French woman Frederique Deleage to help create the perfect ambiance for the spa.
'Many hotels around the world are now realising that guests want something more than just access to the traditional health club,' Ms Deleage said.
'Spas and the treatments they provide, whether Eastern or Western in origin, are the way of the future as they cater for individual requirements within luxurious surroundings.
'The facilities that are provided really are the ultimate indulgence.' Ms Deleage sought to combine the essence of Western and Eastern health and beauty phlosophies.
The decor of the spa's massage and treatment rooms features natural timbers, with natural lighting helping to create the right atmosphere.
With the spa being compared by afficionados to the legendary Givenchy Spa at Le Trianon in Versailles, The Boulders in Arizona, and the Oriental Spa in Bangkok, guests are demanding facilities of a similar or higher standard.
'Hoteliers throughout the region are beginning to appreciate what a drawcard or room filler provision of spa facilities can be,' Ms Deleage said.
The Crown Casino opened amid all the fanfare expected at the launching of an A$1.6 billion (about HK$8.17 billion) entertainment complex.
And it has, in the course of the three years of construction, been the subject of much debate and emotion among residents as they argue the pros and cons of such an establishment in the heart of traditionally conservative Melbourne.
However, one fact agreed on by everyone is that Crown Casino has given the city's Yarra precinct a much needed injection of life.
With 500 rooms and suites, convention and meeting facilities, business centre and Crystal Club Lounge, it provides the perfect location for travellers.
In a city with an enviable reputation for fine food, Crown Towers offers both international visitors and locals alike five superb restaurants.
They include the elegant art deco-style JJ's champagne bar and exclusive access to Fidel's cigar club.
Cantonese cuisine can be savoured in the elegant setting of a Chinese mansion at Silks, the theatre of teppanyaki at Koko, or the cosmopolitan Italian style of Cecconi's.
There is Breezes contemporary Mediterranean-style flavours, the all-day Conservatory, or, within a short stroll, 30 riverside restaurants, bistros, bars and cafes.
Hotel industry observers say international design standards have been surpassed in the Crystal Club Lounge, reserved for high rollers and guests staying in the executive, de luxe and Crystal Club rooms and suites.
High-roller villas are up to 1,000 square feet, larger than the average Hong Kong flat.