Think of hotel spa treatments, and most of us picture the usual indulgent massages, reviving body scrubs and beautifully scented facials. But at some of Asia’s luxury hotel spas, you can now de-stress, slim down and heal injuries, have a cryotherapy facial that drops to minus 10 degrees Celsius, and be treated with the same LED light that Nasa harnessed to grow plants in zero gravity and heal astronauts’ wounds faster. While hi-tech treatments like these have been available at luxury medical centres around the world for years, and more recently at some wellness resorts, most hotel spas have kept to relatively traditional offerings that focus on pampering and relaxing their guests. There are exceptions – Bliss Spa at the W Hong Kong has long been known for its cutting-edge treatments – but now more hotels across Asia are offering medical treatments. These include the One&Only Desaru Coast in Malaysia – Asia’s first outpost of Switzerland’s Chenot Spa – the Park Hyatt Shenzhen, and The Parisian and The Venetian in Macau. These hotels are blurring the boundaries between medical centres, wellness resorts and hotel spas. We now face hyper-knowledgeable guests who have done their homework, know far more than the basics, and look for unique experiences in line with their needs, goals and aspirations Jane Wang, director of spa and fitness, W Hong Kong At Park Hyatt Shenzhen, its wellness centre is becoming one of the most sought-after places for the city’s most discerning wellness fans, offering extensive high-end facilities including a muscle-stimulating machine equipment that promises to build a six-pack body – without hitting the gym. How to put the ‘luxury’ in luxury hotel ... hint: it's not about fluffy towels Peter Hildebrand, general manager at Park Hyatt Shenzhen, says, “As in most areas of daily life, technology is what is bringing improvements to people’s lives. We also see this high-tech equipment as a natural extension of our spa offering and a way in which we can achieve our vision of delivering real visible results while not compromising comfort or relaxation.” For Dr George Gaitanos, chief operating officer and scientific director at Chenot, the increasing investment in science-driven treatments in the wellness world is in response to the dual drives of customers wanting more varied treatment choices, and looking for options that are focused on specific outcomes. The pandemic has only exacerbated these trends. “With the ongoing pandemic, now more than ever, travellers, health and wellness seekers and spa-goers are seeking ways to further enhance their well-being, from nutrient-rich meals to science-led treatments and diagnostics,” he says. At One&Only Desaru Coast, the Chenot spa has a set of science-based diagnostics that allows treatments to be tailored, and bespoke programmes to be designed, to best suit individual customers’ needs. Packages may combine meditation, relaxation massage and training with biofeedback devices that measure signals from the parasympathetic nervous system to bring calmness and strengthen emotional balance. At the flagship property, Chenot Palace Weggis, specialists are taking the science of wellness a step further by setting up a state-of-the art molecular lab to investigate the expression of certain genes. As with other projects that are first developed in Switzerland, Chenot may bring their technology to Asia. “Nowadays, there is a lot more to wellness than just massages,” says Gaitanos. “Guests are becoming more interested in diagnostics-driven and targeted spa experiences. By adding certain elements of the overall offerings of Chenot, and combining it with what the location has to offer, this just gives a more unique yet truly holistic wellness journey.” Offering a holistic wellness experience is another key driver behind the integration of science-driven treatments into spa menus. “Hi-tech treatments have no conflict with traditional spa offerings; quite [the] opposite, they can help maximise the treatment benefits and elaborate the overall experience,” says Jane Wang, director of spa and fitness at W Hong Kong. Will Gen Z forget most luxury hotels and restaurants by 2030? “On the other side, these science-driven treatments can also deliver the aesthetic and wellness results that traditional spa offers may not be able to fulfil. We aim at providing 360-degree wellness solutions involving treatments, activities, nutrition, spiritual healing programmes and educational workshops, to help guests achieve total well-being physically, mentally and emotionally,” she adds. Wang says Bliss Spa members are “always open-minded and willing to try” new treatments, technologies and ingredients. Some of the technology-focused treatments at Bliss Spa include light and cryotherapy, electro-mesotherapy (use of electric impulses to revive the skin), virtual reality meditation sessions, and treatments within a bubble of 99.995 per cent purified air. Wang points to variety and personalisation as the buzzwords for wellness success. “We now face hyper-knowledgeable guests who have done their homework, know far more than the basics, and look for unique experiences in line with their needs, goals and aspirations,” she says. “Introducing ancient energy medicines like traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) alongside cutting-edge technologies for a blend of old-meets-new, East-meets-West. Focusing on prevention and protection over repair is another rising trend.” Could this be 2021’s most unlikely luxury watch trend? Hildebrand adds that the scientific wellness trend is going strong in China. “It is accelerating,” he says. “China’s well-heeled wellness customers become worldly, global consumers increasingly exposed to the very best the world has to offer. The focus on wellness for many is now less related to appearances or status and more an intrinsic part of life on which they place a high value and importance.” A growing range of hotel spa treatments show an openness to blending wellness approaches from different cultures and traditions. The Georgia Louise Angel Glo Facial at Le Spa’tique of The Parisian Macau, for example, uses American celebrity aesthetician Georgia Louise’s natural range of skin products, applied with a gua sha massage (a TCM massage using a rose quartz tool to boost circulation and lymphatic drainage). There is also an enzyme-peeling mask, an LED face and neck mask, an ice cryo massage using cold-freeze tools, and an iodised bamboo sheet mask used in conjunction with a headband that sends galvanic current through the skin to increase absorption. “Many hi-tech treatments can deliver longer-lasting results within a shorter time, they are non-invasive and require no downtime, unlike more invasive medical treatments, and the comfort and convenience make them incredibly popular in our hectic city lives,” says Wang. Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .