Bloody Marys and salt caves at the best new spas in Hong Kong
A spate of spa openings in the past few months have given us whole new ways of obsessing about our health and beauty. From a medi day spa to a metrosexual heaven, here are the best new spas in Hong Kong.
Spa gets high
Perched 490 meters above sea level, The Ritz-Carlton by ESPA is the world's highest hotel spa. Our ears pop as we shoot up the express elevator to the top of the ICC Tower, leaving the real world behind.
A cocoon of luxury, the spa’s interior is inspired by its location in the clouds. Walls are curved and everything is wrapped in soft materials.
In keeping with the charm of the Ritz-Carlton, the spa has impeccable service.
After a welcome tea, you are given a diagram of the body to circle problem areas and to point your masseuse in the right direction. Treatments begin with a wellness consultation allowing you customize everything down to the aromatherapy oils.
The spa menu may not be revolutionary but the treatment rooms lay claim to some of the best views in Hong Kong.
The relaxation area also has lounge pods that overlook the city. Beyond the glitzy skyline, you get a rare bird's-eye-view of the bustling harbor.
Anyone with cash to burn should try the private spa suites. For a few hours, you can own the massive rooms with boat-like bathtub, walk-in closet and personal masseuse.
For women: Lava Shell Body Treatment. An aromatic oil massage with warm seashells that begins with a foot bath ritual (HK$1,485).
For men: Fitness massage. A deep pressure massage using hot volcanic stones (HK$1,485).
116/F, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, +852 2263 2040, www.ritzcarlton.com
Boys, this one’s for you. Voted best men's spa by AsiaSpa magazine, Gentlemen’s Tonic takes male grooming rituals to the next level.
Think straight razor shaves, head massages and hot towels. Now add in a personalized room with your own TV, iPod station and a Bloody Mary and you get the picture.
Arriving from the heart of Mayfair, the British establishment is located in Landmark Men and attracts a mix of burnt-out bankers and salarymen.
Wet shaves, waxing, manicures, pedicures, eyebrow shaping and facials are all on the menu.
Manager Sarah Chung insists that even the biggest skeptics have been converted.
“The guys like it because they come in here and it’s not obvious they went for waxing. It sounds alright to be off to Gentlemen’s Tonic rather than to Strip.”
For men: The Shackleton. A 75-minute package including a haircut with a wet shave and a Bloody Mary (HK$900).
B47, The Landmark, 15 Queen's Road, Central, +852 25252455, www.gentlemenstonic.com
Getting your face drained and infused with vitamin C may not be your idea of a relaxing day at the spa but at the Face Magic Haven it’s surprisingly enjoyable.
Located in Harvey Nichols, FMH combines non-invasive medical treatments with the comfort of a day spa.
Founded by local beauty entrepreneur Deborah Sims and French anti-aging doctor Jules Nabet, the medi spa is the first of its kind in Hong Kong.
At first glance FMH looks like an unassuming makeup counter but take a closer look and you’ll notice the white lab coats and medical grade machines.
Each visit begins with a private consultation, skin examination and educational videos. Nurses administer pain-free face peels and gentle laser treatments. A doctor does Botox and Dermal fillers.
For the faint-hearted, there’s a quick-fix facial using a Dr. Nabet facemask and creams. Nabet’s products have skin-tightening effects that last for several hours.
Newbies be warned: They take before-and-after photos.
For men and women: Silk Peel Dermal Infusion. A pain-free face treatment that exfoliates and infuses a solution according to your skin type (HK$1,380).
Harvey Nichols, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, +852 2918 1309, facemagichaven.com
Indoor sea breeze
This urban spa recreates the environment of a natural salt cave above ground.
From ceiling to floor, the treatment rooms are coated purely in salt. All you have to do is step inside and breathe.
The logic: inhaling salt crystals soothes asthma and allergies. Founders Caroline Goldsmith-Sharmir and her husband Omir stumbled upon salt therapy -- or halotherapy -- in London.
A suffering asthmatic, Omir found that the salt relieved his symptoms. They moved to Hong Kong to spread the word.
“The pollution here is quite ferocious, ” explains Goldsmith-Sharmir. “There are a lot of people suffering from respiratory problems.”
With the help of halotherapy experts, the couple built three salt caves, two for adults and one for children. Inside, walls are encrusted with thick rock salt and the floor is covered in the stuff, much like a sand pit.
Flat-screen televisions and white lounge chairs give the rooms a futuristic vibe. Once equipped with disposable feet covers, you enter the space, recline into one of the chairs as a machine gently blasts salt into the room.
Nothing like your average table salt, this is a high-grade substance imported from Europe. As soft as talcum powder, it’s 98 percent pure sodium chloride.
During a 50-minute session, the salt wafts into your system clearing your respiratory tract and eliminating bacteria.
The first session is relaxing but you don’t feel much different when you’re back on the pollution-choked streets.
Goldsmith-Sharmir recommends at least eight sessions for the full effects to kick in.
For men and women: 10 sessions in the Salt Chalet, a communal cave for six (HK$5,000).
W Place, 7/F, 52 Wyndham St., Central, +852 3489 3144, www.inhalospa.com