Manly musings: city spas for quick fixes
Sprucing up - whether to impress or to invigorate - isn't just the domain of women. Heta Shah scours the city's spas for some indulgent quick fixes
Whether they admit it or not, a lot of men love getting buffed and coiffed from time to time. A quick, close shave before a big meeting, a haircut prior to a date or even a rejuvenating massage to recharge before an all-action weekend - quick fixes have become a must for the menfolk. And the city is catering to their needs.
Director of Bliss Spa at Hotel W, Sheryl Wan, says the market for men's grooming services is rapidly expanding. "The demand for men's grooming services has increased during the past couple of years. In fact, some men spend more than females on treatments and products."
Elaine Alipio, spa manager at Four Seasons Spa, reckons men tend to be more vain. "They are often looking for quick fixes. However, they just don't deem as many events 'special' as women do, so see a lesser need for a pre-occasion prepping."
Here are a few indulgent services that are surely worth your while.
The Spa at Four Seasons
One of the city's most coveted urban retreats, the Spa at Four Seasons has an ideal answer for time-challenged male clientele - a snappy one-hour grooming session: Metro Groom (HK$2,300 weekdays and HK$2,450 weekends). While having its new Organic Pharmacy Facial (all treatments at the spa are unisex and tailored to individual needs), you are treated to a swift sports manicure/pedicure for 60 minutes by two therapists. Those looking for a luxurious pampering after a long-haul flight or before a big meeting, the two-hour Traditional Moroccan Hamam (HK$2,200 weekdays, HK$2,500 weekends) claims to be the answer. This invigorating experience includes a full-body exfoliation on a heated marble table, a detoxifying salt scrub, a Moroccan clay body mask, face exfoliation and cleansing as well as a head massage. Relaxing in the warm steam of the hamam and a full-body massage concludes the ritual.
The Spa at Four Seasons, 8 Finance St, Central, Hong Kong, T: 3196 8900. fourseasons.com/hongkong/spa
At this male-only grooming salon in The Landmark, the treatments are as simple and unfussy as the décor. "Haircuts, wet shaves and manicures are on the top of every man's list of 'last-minute' rituals," says spa manager Sarah Chung. To address these needs, Gentlemen's Tonic has a 165-minute package called the Rubio (HK$2,100), which includes haircut and finish, wet shave, express facial, hand treatment and Swedish massage.
Its two-hour hangover cure package, aptly titled the Hemingway (HK$1,800), features an aromatherapy massage and facial, along with a stiff Bloody Mary to soothe away the previous night's after-effects.
The salon's signature Traveller Massage (HK$1,275) is ideal for post-flight revival. It's a 90-minute head-to-toe treatment, which combines Swedish, and deep-tissue massage techniques, along with hot stones as well as an express facial. "Any guy who acknowledges that his appearance matters, chooses quick-fix treatments before important meetings, interviews, dates and weddings. We often get grooms and their fathers, and best men booked in on the mornings of the wedding," Chung says.
Gentlemen's Tonic, Hong Kong, The Landmark, B47-B48, 15 Queens Road Central, Hong Kong, t: 2525 2455. gentlemenstonic.com
Located on the 72nd floor of Hotel W tower, Bliss Spa is modern and chic, both in terms of its spa model and décor - it evidently steers clear of mystical ambience and mood music. The treatments reflect the same philosophy. Its Homme Improvement treatment (HK$1,295/85 mins) is a masculine version of its Triple Oxygen treatment which includes cleansing and exfoliating, with a series of scrubs and a fruit-acid wash, a pre-extraction oxygen wrap, intense extractions, followed by an anti-ingrown hair follicle calming mask.
He-Wax - a new service - gets rid of unwanted hair, ranging from brow, ear and nose to chest, stomach and full pack. Its Ultimate He-Wax, or male Brazilian goes further and prices range from HK$120 to HK$995.
Bliss Spa, 72/F, W Hong Kong, 1 Austin Road West, West Kowloon, T: 3717 2222. w-hongkong.com
Sense of Touch
Best known for its off-beat treatments, this popular day spa, with branches across the city, has several interesting packages.
Its newly introduced MURAD men's facial (HK$1,180/75 minutes) buffs and prepares the face for a superior shave. This conditions and nourishes the skin, aiming to reduce redness and clogged follicles. It's ideal to rejuvenate tired skin.
A perfect post-night out deal is its aptly titled the "Sweetest Hangover" treatment. This detoxifying ritual uses organic seaweed-based skincare products from the Irish brand VOYA. You can choose the full treatment of bath, a cane-sugar scrub infused with peppermint, and an organic seaweed oil massage, which costs HK$1,650 for two hours or 90 minutes of bath and massage only for HK$1,100.
"Cheers to beers" is a longtime favourite with the clientele. Indeed, give any man a chance to soak in a tub filled with dark ale beer and he's sure to go back for repeats. The bath is followed by a barley scrub and a 60-minute deep tissue, stress-relieving massage. The two-hour package of bath, scrub and massage costs HK$1,650, whereas the 90-minute bath and massage is priced at HK$1,100.
Anna Treir, spa managing director, says, "In fact, men cannot sit or lay still for hours to have a treatment; they make the best clients for hasty beauty remedies! Express facials are starting to become popular. Nowadays, highly potent products produce results in little time and there is no down time to reduce skin redness as ingredients have calming properties."
Sense of Touch, 1-5F, 52 D'Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central, T: 2526 6918. senseoftouch.com.hk
Peninsula Spa by ESPA
When it comes to decadence, the Peninsula tops most of the "best of" lists in the city. Enjoy the panoramic views of Victoria Harbour while sinking into the spa bed.
Sharon Codner, regional spa director, says, "Our treatments are best suited for anyone who needs a boost or a pick me up before an important event, meeting or date.
The Purifying Facial with shoulder and scalp massage (HK$ 990/60 minutes) and the Weekday Spa Escape, which include a full body salt and oil exfoliation and soothing full-body massage, are popular among guests."
For jet-setting businessmen, its Jet Lag Eliminator (HK$4,000/4 hours) is recommended. It features a Jet-lag Eliminator wrap combined with a massage and skin brightener age defyer facial and nourishing hand mask.
Peninsula Spa by ESPA, Salisbury Road, TST, T: 2315 3322. peninsula.com
A refuge in the heart of Central's bustling chaos, Oriental Spa has rolled out several new treatments for discerning gents. Designed to tackle common concerns, the VitaMan Detox Facial (from HK$960) focuses on eliminating the build-up of toxins and grime, and promotes improved hydration resulting in cleaner, softer, smoother-looking skin. The facial also includes a tension-releasing scalp massage.
The VitaMan Muscle Reviver Massage (HK$1,000 on weekday and HK$1,200 on weekend for 60 minutes) is perfect to ease muscular aches resulting from exercise, stress and a hectic lifestyle. This deep tissue, tension-releasing massage uses VitaMan sports massage oil and wax, and the VitaMan Desert Muscle Rub.
Also interesting is the Back Rebalance Treatment by Clinca Ivo Pitanguy (HK$960 weekday, HK$1,040, weekends/60 minutes), an effective, purifying "facial" for the back.
Oriental Spa, Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 5 Queen's Road Central, T: 2132 0188. mandarinoriental.com/landmark
While there are several options for a jet-lag recovery, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong's Plateau Residential Spa ensures you are scrubbed and invigorated before the much dreaded long haul flight with its unique Rejuvenating Pre-flight Programmes.
The Pre-flight hydrating facial (HK$1,750/90 minutes) nourishes and energises the skin, leaving it supple and refreshed. The Anti-stress pre-flight massage (HK$1,650/90 minutes) uses calming massage techniques to ease the drying effects resulting from the aircraft's air-conditioning, relieves stressed muscles, and relaxes the mind and body before boarding.
Plateau Residential Spa, 11/F, Grand Hyatt HK, 1 Harbour Road, Hong Kong, T: 2588 1234. hongkong.grand.hyatt.com/hyatt/pure/spas
Ritz Carlton Spa by ESPA
Sprawled on the 116th floor of the International Commerce Centre Tower, this spa takes pampering to a whole new level. Its menu for men includes, Time Out (HK$2,080 weekday, HK$2,180 weekends/120 minutes), a stress-releasing package including a brisk sea-salt polish and a revitalizing full-body massage, and Fitness Massage (HK$1,580 weekday, HK$1,680 weekends/90 minutes) with aromatherapy oils to ease tension.
As for skincare, its Energy Lift Facial (HK$1,380 weekday, HK$1,480 weekend/60 minutes) with uplifting massages is recommended for reviving tired skin and stress-related dark circles.
Ritz Carlton Spa by ESPA, 116/F, ICC, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, T: 2263 2040. ritzcarlton.com
HOMME SWEET HOMME
Dermo Repair Moisturizing Emulsion (HK$480) by Dior This soothing fluid face emulsion quickly penetrates the skin, leaving it moisturised and deeply rehydrated. In addition, it gives the skin a uniform and matte finish, as well as a finer and soft texture. The emulsion is part of a series of dermatological treatments from the Dior Innovation Center designed to maintain youthful-looking skin. Its advanced ingredients boost cell regeneration and anti-free radical damage.
Facial Treatment Essence (HK$870) by SK-II This high-performance energising essence claims to revitalise and clear the skin in just 14 days. With regular use, it restores skin’s natural moisture and elasticity, leaving it eventoned and radiant. Enhanced with a cooling agent, this light lotion quickly gives the skin a smoother feel. It is formulated with 90 per cent SK-II exclusive Pitera and contains 50 essential skin nutrients that promote skin cell renewal.
Super Moisture Balm (HK$340) by Clarins Promoted under the “must have” section on the brand’s website, this light moisturising balm, hydrates, invigorates and softens the skin, as well as protects it against pollution. Recommended for use after shaving, the non-oily balm is best for normal to dry skin. While extracts of bison grass, restores the skin’s texture and tone, the moisturising sunflower auxin soothes and firms it. The key ingredient – calcium hyalurontate – penetrates deep and boosts the skin’s natural hydration, leaving it supple and smooth.
Force Supreme Cream (HK$580) by Biotherm This non-oily and non-shiny, anti-ageing moisturiser helps to reactivate the deep, vital functions of the skin. It provides essential moisture and reduces wrinkles, giving the skin a healthy sheen. The cream is part of Biotherm Homme’s first intensive nutri-replenishing care, the Force Supreme range. The formula is enriched with powerful active ingredients such as Pro-Xylane™, a patented anti-ageing extract that accelerates cellular regeneration, as well as cedar bud extract and thermal plankton, which helps maintain the skin’s youthfulness.
BB Tinted Moisturizer SPF 35 (HK$360) by Lab Series This multifunctional moisturizing BB (blemish balm) is a corrective and reparative treatment, with more than 10 key benefits. It provides immediate coverage of skin imperfections like acne scars and shine control, while hydrating, firming, toning and brightening the complexion. With continued use, it claims to even out skin tone and texture, refine pores and diminish lines and winkles. Its unique formula boosts the collagen level of the skin, while SPF 35 provides daily protection against UV rays and pollution. This sheer, lightweight balm suits all skin types and has a hint of colour that provides a glowing complexion.