The spa treatment for digital addicts: a device-free 90 minutes of pampering and play at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
We try out hotel spa’s digital detox: you hand over your phone, pick up play dough or a puzzle, lie back and relax with Mandarin Spa’s Digital Wellness Escape. The verdict: relaxing and fun
We all know we need to get away from our mobile devices more often, but what about actively doing something about it for a couple of hours? If you need a break, Mandarin Spa at Mandarin Oriental has just the treatment for you.
Called Digital Wellness Escape, the 90-minute treatment (HK$1,750 on weekdays, HK$1,980 on weekends) helps those addicted to their smartphones and laptops to become centred and relaxed with no electronic distractions.
After filling out a quick questionnaire that asks how you are feeling mentally and physically, and if you have any allergies, I’m asked to hand over my phone, which is placed inside a soft black pouch to prevent any light emanating from it and hopefully muffling the sound too.
In my treatment room, I change into a dressing gown and sit in a chair, putting my feet in a barrel-like contraption covered with a towel to steam them. My feet rest on a stone called shungite that contains a lot of carbon to detox the feet and boost circulation, according to treatment manager Kit Kong.
While I’m steaming my feet, she encourages me to play with some toys on another tray. There’s a Rubik’s Cube – that I’m afraid to mix up too much so I make sure I put it back in its original state – as well as a slinky, colourful dough to mould in my hands, and a puzzle in a plastic cube that contains small silver balls that I have to try manoeuvre around. There’s also a Rubik’s Snake that I play around with, taking me back to my childhood.
But wait – there’s another task: making my own face mask. There’s a tray with several ingredients on it and I’m given the recipes for three different concoctions to put on my face later – oatmeal and yogurt, chocolate and coffee, or milk and aloe.
I choose the last option, and mix all the ingredients together to make the mask. Somehow the 15 minutes goes by quite quickly.
Kong wipes down my feet and legs before leading me to the massage table, where she works out the kinks in my lower back and shoulders using oils before I turn over onto my back.
It’s then that she takes my mask mixture and applies it on my face before continuing the massage on my hands and head – a very relaxing experience. Finally the mask is gently removed from my face.
Since I had to get back to work, I sadly didn’t get to sample the post-treatment experience of enjoying the lounge further by writing in a journal, colouring in or meditating, but the overall spa treatment did help to ease the tightness in my shoulders and left me feeling calm and relaxed.
Playing with toys is a fun way to pass the time, and maybe more spas should provide such non-digital things for guests to do.
Mandarin Spa, 24/F, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central, Central, tel: 2825 4888.
Digital Wellness Escape (HK$1,750 on weekdays, HK$1,980 on weekends) is available from February 1.