Bliss and tell
Kylie Knott, Jing Zhang, Pavan Shamdasani, Josephine Bond, Yvonne Lai
Spa at the Four Seasons Hotel
The treatment: Biologique Recherche Facial (weekdays HK$1,400/HK$2,100/HK$2,800; or weekends HK$1,500/HK$2,300/HK$3,200 for 60/90/120 minutes).
The deal: Ladies who lunch at the Four Seasons now have an added incentive to linger at the hotel: Biologique Recherche. The French cosmetics brand has just landed at the hotel and is already creating a buzz. With the Biologique Recherche facial, each session is tailor-made according to your skin instant (literally, the state your skin is in at that moment). While the serums are doing their thing, the therapist spends time massaging creams into the hands, arms, legs and feet, while guests can relax in the warm cocoon and absorb the harbour views.
The verdict: A facial is all about the results, and this one well and truly delivers; skin was noticeably tighter and brighter, and fine lines reduced. The experienced therapist felt like she had 12 hands rolling over my face, sending me into a deep sleep for the second half of the treatment. Kylie Knott
Spa Privata (right)
The treatment: Hot Stone Massage (HK$750/HK$980 for 60/90 minutes)
The deal: Spa Privata opened at ACTS Rednaxela in Mid-Levels late last year, but don't expect much fanfare. This super-discrete private spa, with only one suite, is perfect for those looking for an exclusive individual or couples experience. Dimly lit grey stone and dark timber interiors allow relaxation in the suite, as well as use of the Jacuzzi, steam bath, shower or TV facilities before the treatment (a complimentary hour comes with each treatment). This relaxing massage has the therapist using heated stones over the body to generate energy and relieve deep-seated muscle tension.
The verdict: The environment is private and tranquil, boasting a well planned out spa suite. It feels quite luxurious to be the only person in the entire spa, which is a rather unique concept to Hong Kong. A calming, well-spoken therapist worked wonders with the hot stones, which left the body feeling extremely relaxed, balanced and well looked after, with its effects lasting for a few days. Jing Zhang
Plateau Residential Spa, Grand Hyatt Hotel
The treatment: All-in-One Body Shaping (HK$900 for 30 minutes) and Calming Hydrating Massage (HK$950/HK$1,380 for 60/90 minutes)
The deal: The Grand Hyatt's Plateau Residential Spa offers a luxurious escape within the heart of Wan Chai's hustle. Its 80,000 square foot space includes a vast garden as well as private spa suites, each as large as one of their hotel rooms and just as chic. Their popular all-in-one body-shaping treatment can be combined with their newly launched calming hydrating massage, allowing guests to relax and rejuvenate while replenishing collagen and reducing excess fat.
The verdict: The convivial masseuse explains the different procedures, starting with the 30-minute body shaping along the thighs and stomach, followed by a 90-minute full-body massage. The shaping comes about through TriPollar technology, with a non-invasive body applicator using heat to treat different areas - in short, a warm metal object gliding its away along the surface of your body. While it's not exactly relaxing, certain areas of the body we're definitely toned after the shaping, if a little stiff. Enter the massage: using a cucumber green tea cream, the extremely comforting rubdown targeted the entire body, starting from the feet and working its way up to a scalp massage. One leaves feeling like you've simultaneously been to the gym and the spa, with nary a sweat broken. Pavan Shamdasani
The Oriental Spa, Landmark Mandarin Oriental
The treatment: Intensive Rejuvenating Body (weekday HK$2,250; weekends HK$2,330 for 120 minutes)
The deal: A two-hour anti-aging body treatment using Brazilian plastic surgeon Clinica Ivo Pitanguy's high potency products and special massage techniques to boost circulation, oxygenation and reduce cellulite. The treatment starts with a scrub, and then moves on to a very relaxing massage which aims to reduce excess water and toxins as well as firming you up.
The verdict: The overall experience was one of relaxation, with the added bonus of distinctly livelier skin - it was like shedding a year's excesses from the body. The 25,000-square foot spa delivers on the holistic front with its friendly staff and relaxing atmosphere. It is worth turning up earlier to plunge into the vitality pool, linger in the crystal steam room, or douse yourself in the Ice Fountain before your treatment, as well as taking a brief time out in the relaxation room to sip on the refreshingly tangy lemon ginger tea. The aroma of the Pitanguy products are rich and luxurious, the massage itself was targeted in all the right areas - the thighs, stomach and arms - to boost circulation, yet it was done with a relaxing twist. The only word of warning is that as well as flushing out liquids, it will make you thirsty for a few hours afterwards, so keep a bottle of water handy when you leave the spa. Josephine Bond
The Peninsula Spa by ESPA
The treatment: Time Together (HK$5,000 for 120 minutes for two people)
The deal: A two-hour couples relaxation experience in the Private Spa Suite, with sweeping views of Victoria Harbour, private steam room and rain shower, and a whirlpool bath for two. The treatment includes a full-body exfoliation and a soothing aromatherapy massage, using ESPA products created exclusively for the Peninsula.
The verdict: The package is geared toward total relaxation, perfect for working couples in need of a half-day getaway from their routine busyness and Blackberries, right in the heart of town. Pairs are invited to spend the hour before the treatment in the Private Spa suite for their 'heat experience' of steam room and whirlpool in complete privacy, which works wonders for decompressing and prepping the skin and pores for exfoliation and massage. The refreshing full-body exfoliation using ESPA's Relaxing Salt Scrub (which leaves the skin soft and smooth, but a tad rough on sensitive skin during application) is followed by a quick rinse in the spacious steam and rain shower, then a heavenly 90-minute massage using blended oils of your choice. The Pink Hair and Scalp Mud applied at the beginning of the massage leave the tresses silky and shiny. The heady aromatics combined with the soft, immersive touch of our masseuses sends the mind and body into deep calm - to the point of a light, pleasant sleep. Yvonne Lai
Melo Spa, Hyatt Regency
The treatment: Seaweed Marine Reviver Massage (HK$900/HK$1,250 for 60/90 minutes)
The deal: Using a new range of detoxifying organic products by Voya from Ireland, The Melo Spa at Hyatt Regency Shatin is kicking of 2012 with a series of new treatments. The three-step seaweed marine massage spa blends Eastern and Western massage techniques, and claims to treat the face and body to a nourishing experience that will leave you revitalized.
The verdict: The treatment rooms are white and pristine, with great calming green views of Sha Tin. Starting off with an invigorating session of dry-brushing over the body, the skin feels stimulated, after which the therapist begins a massage that involves long deep strokes as well as smaller quick ones with rich seaweed oil. The ingredients include hand-harvested seaweed, sea salt and essential oils packed with minerals and vitamins, which leaves skin nourished. The final touch includes a cleansing face massage that gives a healthy glow which lasts for a couple of days. The heated treatment table is a bonus, and try to make sure you leave the oils on for several hours after the treatment for maximum effect. Jing Zhang
ALL YOU KNEAD
Spa at the Four Seasons Hotel, fourseasons.com/hongkong
What else is on the menu? The Contouring Detox Experience is a head-to-toe treatment which aims to leave you feeling slimmer, restored and detoxified. It includes an energising salt scrub, followed by a contouring detox wrap using fresh spirulina and green clay. A massage helps to release toxins.
Spa Privata, acts-group.com/spa
What else is on the menu? Spa Privata offers a host of pampering, preening, reflexology, relaxing and re-energising treatments for men and women, such as the Aromatic Massage, Detoxifying Body Buff & Wrap, Aromaplasty Excellence Youthful Ritual and foot ritual. Personalised couples packages are also available.
Plateau Spa, hongkong.grand.hyatt.com
What else is on the menu? Plateau's Love Story (HK$4,899 for two people) is available between February 7-17. It includes a 30-minute rose-petal milk bath, 45-minute almond scrub, 90-minute massage, 30-minute anti-stress facial, as well as champagne at the Waterfall Bar.
Oriental Spa, mandarinoriental.com
What else is on the menu? Couples may be interested in the spa's 65-square metre Sanctuary Suite, which is equipped with amethyst crystal steam shower, vitality tub, futon mattress for relaxing and flat-screen TV.
Peninsula Spa by ESPA, peninsula.com
What else is on the menu? For those feeling peckish before or after the Time Together treatment, a poolside lunch featuring Naturally Peninsula healthy cuisine is included in the package. The spa also offers other half-day spa journeys geared toward detox, distress, pre-wedding jitters and pre-natal pampering.
Melo Spa, hongkong.shatin.hyatt.com
What else is on the menu? Other treatments include the lavender detox therapy that focuses on skin rejuvenation, and the ocean essence body wrap which stimulates blood and lymph flow reducing appearance of cellulite.