Take a break from the daily grind and bliss out with a spa retreat like no other. What will take your fancy? A massage with essentials oils, quick facial or a dip in the jacuzzi?
Spa Retreat at One Farrer Hotel & Spa
What: Aromatherapy massage ($159, 60 mins) and aromatherapy facial (60 mins, $149)
The Experience: I arrived a couple of hours before my appointment to indulge in the complimentary spa facilities, which are available to all spa guests before or after their treatment. A short walk from the spa is a beautiful Olympic-sized pool, perfect for a dip on a hot day. Spa exclusive facilities include the cold plunge pool and hot mineral pools, whirlpool bath, sauna and steam room, which I enjoyed for a good hour.
In my spacious treatment room, the massage began. Using eucalyptus essential oil, my therapist applied long, slow and smooth strokes, adding additional pressure on areas of tension. While my stiff shoulders and neck felt slightly tender during the massage, it was bearable, and I could feel my tight muscles loosening in the process.
I’m not sure at which point I fell into a deep sleep, but when I woke it was time for the aromatherapy facial, which includes cleansing, toning, exfoliation, a hydrating mask and plenty of gentle face massage. As Decléor skincare products are used, the treatment is suitable for sensitive skin. There wasn’t any extraction either; it was an entirely comfortable and relaxing experience.
The Aftermath: Unlike many other facials I’ve tried, this treatment didn’t leave my skin feeling greasy or looking red. Instead, it looked refreshed and less puffy. Thanks to the magical hands of my massage therapist, I walked out feeling recharged, rejuvenated and utterly spoilt.
– Anthia Chng
What: The ESPA Re-Hydrator Facial (60 mins, $250)
The Experience: Once I had chosen my preferred essential oils, I crawled onto the super-comfortable treatment table for my hour of quiet bliss – a regenerative facial aimed at boosting skin radiance, protecting against premature ageing and rehydrating the skin.
Following some gentle cleansing and exfoliation, my therapist used a UV light machine to analyse my skin’s condition (dry, as I suspected). This helped determine the line-up of luxurious ESPA skincare products to follow. My face was massaged with everything from oils and masks to ESPA Optimal Skin ProSerum, which promotes firmness and evens the skin tone. Of course, I most enjoyed the upper back, shoulder, neck and scalp massage!
Don’t miss the steam bath, sauna, whirlpool and cold pool facilities, which can be used for up to four hours before or after your treatment. And, if you book a 90-minute treatment on a Monday to Thursday between 11am and 4pm, you’ll get free access to the swimming pool, plus an additional 30 minutes of treatment!
The Aftermath: My skin definitely felt more supple and firm. Also noticeable the following day was an absence of my usual under-eye inflammation (due to various allergies), thanks to the ESPA 24-Hour Replenishing Eye Moisturiser and Soothing Eye Lotion used during the facial.
Get this: The new Damai Facial Package includes five 60-minute ESPA Re-Hydrator Facial sessions for $950 (so, $190 per facial instead of $250), plus perks like 20 percent off on à-la-carte massages, facials and beauty treatments year-round, and a 10 percent discount at the spa boutique; the first 80 package signups will receive a 10ml bottle of Optimal Skin ProSerum.
– Amy Greenburg
The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
What: Hot Lapis Stone Massage (60 mins, $200; 90 mins, $280)
The Experience: Prior to moving to a new condo, I couldn’t have been more in need of a pick-me-up spa treatment. Checking in for an hour of bliss, I’m transported by the sounds of trickling water and marine décor.
My Thai therapist Mon asks me to blindpick the ESPA oil she will use – I go for the energising blend with peppermint and eucalyptus. As soon as I snuggle into the gently heated massage bed and she begins with a signature foot scrub and massage, I’m deeply relaxed.
After holding two sea shells to my ears and asking me to breathe out all my premove stress, Mon applies expert strokes of the hot stone, moving from the tips of my toes to my neck and head. Though the pressure is moderate to deep, I’m almost asleep.
The massage concludes with the same sea shell ritual, and a cup of tea (try the fragrant Nasi Lemak blend, which has flavours of toasted rice, pandan and lemongrass) in a relaxation room. Mon tips me backwards in a vibrating “zero gravity” reclining chair, designed to return the blood to the heart. She leaves a selection of delicious house-made chocolate, delicately flavoured with sea salt and seaweed.
Prior to or after your treatment, you’re welcome to use the sublime spa facilities, including hot sea salt and mineral pools, a steam room infused with lavender and ginger, a sauna and showers with several settings including waterfall, mist and rain. I found it hard to leave!
The Aftermath: The stone massage, one of the spa’s most popular treatments, is truly exceptional. I left feeling thoroughly rejuvenated. Pity about the packing…
– Pip Harry
What: New Moon Massage (60 mins, $180; 90 mins, $250)
The Experience: Every aspect of the Auriga experience takes into consideration the phases of the moon, to align you with the rhythms of nature. Each treatment is designed with The Organic Pharmacy to reflect varying energies of the lunar cycle, using appropriate oils.
For example, signature experiences include: juniper, rosemary and fennel to awaken you for the New Moon (a time of renewal and introspection); nurturing honey and jasmine for The Waxing Moon (to refocus your energy and nourish you); rose oils to help you realise your full potential in the Full Moon cycle; or cleansing seaweed used with lymphatic techniques for the Waning Moon.
Each therapy can be taken at any time during the lunar cycle. I chose the 60-minute New Moon massage, based on Swedish massage techniques. After my therapist’s combination of techniques and scents, I left with the feeling that I was walking out on air.
Aftermath: Instead of being rushed off after the blissful treatment, we were welcomed into the Relaxation Lounge. It was heavenly to take my time before leaving, lying on a Sound Wave chair, sipping specialised beverages along with a handful of nuts and dried fruits, selected to harmonise with the current phase of the moon.
The Aftermath: My face felt more alive; my skin definitely looked plumper, fuller, younger. I felt spoilt and indulged, as well as beautified. – Lara Sage
What: Vitamin C Boost Facial (60 mins, $180)
The Experience: I visited this quiet and tranquil spa in the evening. The koi fish pond and bamboo growing in the garden off my treatment room set my mood for relaxation. Be sure to make time to enjoy the complimentary facilities – a herbal steam room, the ice fountain, the vitality pool and the “experience” showers.
Designed to revive skin that’s suffering from equatorial Singapore’s heavy humidity and harsh sunlight, this treatment features layers of nourishing masks. I loved the uplifting citrus scents and papaya enzymes. From the very beginning, as my therapist wiped off my eye makeup, her soothing and effective hand motions , especially around my eyes, were awakening and invigorating. Seeing the dehydrated and lacklustre state of my skin, she also applied a collagen treatment.
W Hotel Sentosa
What: Signature Away Massage (90 mins, $250)
The Experience: I think the point of difference with Away Spa is the venue; it has gorgeous décor, under-lit couches, coloured rain-showers, and purple plunge pools – I want to live there permanently! It would be a great place to visit with friends, either to have a treatment first and then hang out afterwards for free, or to pay for a day visit and just spend time there.
Facilities-wise, there’s a steam room, sauna, herbal bath and decompression area for you to enjoy. The massage room is beautifully done up and the staff are professional yet friendly.
The Away Massage uses a mixture of stretching and pressure-point techniques, all aimed at rejuvenating and detoxifying your muscles. I would have liked a bit more effleurage (warming-up strokes) on some of the points before my therapist worked deeper into my muscles – but I liked the stretching and Thai influence of the massage. The other treatments sound great too, and include body wraps, facials and a red carpet manicure and pedicure.
The Aftermath: I felt slightly sore afterwards, but after a couple of days I did feel that my back and shoulders were a lot more relaxed. I wished I had taken my swimmers to enjoy the plunge pool and steam room, as I think that would have helped relax the muscles before or after the treatment.
– Rebecca Bisset
What: The Lavender Spa Journey (90 mins, $250)
The Experience: Located high in the sky on the 35th floor of The Westin, Heavenly Spa is larger than I’d expected, with dim lighting and a soothing ambience. The facilities are compact but sufficient; a whirlpool spa bath with an incredible view of the city, a rain shower and an aromatherapy steam room, all of which I enjoyed for 45 minutes before my appointment.
I was there to try the Lavender Spa Journey, a therapeutic body scrub and massage using salt from the Dead Sea and lavender essential oil from Australia to exfoliate and moisturise the skin while massaging away tension in the body. The same treatment is also available with a coffee-scented scrub, if you prefer, but I chose lavender to relax and unwind.
After I’d lain down on the bed, a bell chimed and the session began. My therapist applied the scrub diligently at varying points of the body, making sure to really work it into the skin with strong, circular motions. Afterwards, I rinsed this off in the shower before settling back onto the bed for the massage. (At this point my skin felt exceptionally hydrated and smooth to the touch.)
The 60-minute massage was utterly relaxing, easing the perennially sore muscles in my upper back. I actually drifted off to sleep, only waking to the chime of the bell signalling the end of the session.
The Aftermath: Despite the treatment focusing on relaxation, I walked out feeling invigorated and more balanced in both body and mind – oh, and my silky-smooth skin was a bonus!
– Susannah Jaffer
What: Ila Spa Blissful Facial (90 mins, $200)
The Experience: Organic, fairly-sourced products from UK brand Ila Spa took centrestage; they are designed to provide positive biological and emotional change through touch and smell. From the calming, meditation-centric music, to the naturally-scented facial sprays used at each step of the treatment, the whole experience was an entirely relaxing one.
There were no machines or extractions to ruin the atmosphere – just gentle strokes on the marma points (Ayurvedic healing points) of the face to relieve tension and stress. The pampering didn’t stop there: Helen threw in a head, neck and shoulder massage while I had my face mask on. I must admit that I had drifted in and out of sleep during the process as the whole experience really was quite blissful!
The Aftermath: After 90 minutes, I expected to look relaxed but the results were far more than that – my skin looked tighter, brighter and smoother. My pores were also more refined! The natural products used left no stinging effects and my skin felt absolutely lovely. I even had the best sleep that night! I’d definitely do it again to perk up tired skin and relax a tired head. Top tip: get a package to enjoy 30 percent off all facials!
– Danielle Rossetti
#02-01, 68 Tras Street
#02-04, The Adelphi, 1 Coleman Street
Try: The Tropical Java Lulur Treatment (150 mins, $218 single or $518 double) For a real city escape, this spa in the tranquil green surrounds of Bishan Park ticks all the boxes.
One of its most luxurious pampering experiences, the Tropical Java Lulur treatment is based on an ancient Javanese ritual that typically prepared a bride for the wedding ceremony. It originated in the royal palaces of Central Java; lulur translates to “coating the skin” (to soften and beautify it).
The experience begins with a full-body exfoliation using a special blend of turmeric and rice powder to remove dead skin cells, followed by a cooling full-body yoghurt wrap to nourish and brighten.
Then comes the signature Aramsa Touch massage, one which combines both Eastern meridian and classical Western lymphatic drainage techniques to improve blood circulation and muscle tone.
Finally, you enjoy a cup of ginger tea and a warm outdoor bath infused with ginger and lemongrass and decorated with rose, jasmine, frangipani and other flower petals – a lovely end to a magical spa experience.
Try: Beautifying Massage (The Equilibrium Massage; 75 mins, $162) Before the massage begins, enjoy a cup of delicious and health-giving cold herbal tea. The Beautifying Massage uses an organic botanical oil containing grapeseed, jojoba and lemon essential oils to deliver antioxidants and promote hydration and nourishment.
The massage begins with the back, featuring long, gliding strokes and quick finger-work from the shoulders to the waist. It also includes some pressure and strong kneading, following into the arms and hands and legs. Gentle, circular massaging of the stomach comes next, then a soothing head and shoulder massage. You can choose from nine types of equilibrium massage, each of which uses different essential oils. The spa also offers a range of other wellness treatments for both women and men, including foot reflexology, facials and scrubs.
Try: The Organic Botox Facial (90 mins, $350) If your skin is dry and sun-damaged, this one could be for you. The new signature facial at Remède Spa promises to exfoliate, hydrate, brighten and tighten the skin.
It begins with microdermabrasion to slough off the top layer of dead skin cells. This is followed by oxygen therapy to hydrate parched cells, and phototherapy to tighten and lift the skin.
Between these three treatments, your skin is treated to a variety of face, neck and shoulder massages. Opt to have the treatment mid-week for smooth, glowing skin for a weekend event.
CHI, The Spa
Try: A bespoke massage (60 mins, $165) The bespoke treatment kicks off with your therapist determining your areas of concern, and the massage is then customised to address those target areas, such as the shoulders or the lower back, for example.
It promises to refresh and relax your body, and incorporates antioxidant-rich organic sunflower oil, which also contains vitamin E to shield skin against free radicals and improve skin radiance and health for days afterwards.
Spa clients may use the sauna, the whirlpool, the steam bath and the swimming pool, so you can make a real morning or afternoon of it. Don’t forget to end up in the relaxation lounge with a cup of CHI, The Spa’s divine ginger tea infused with apple and honey.
St. Gregory Spa
Try: The Thalion Magnificent Thali-White facial (60 mins, $250) French brand Thalion is a leader in marine-based cosmetics. “Phylawhite” is one of the stars of this facial – an active ingredient known to lower melanin synthesis in the skin and reduce dark spots. When combined with Vitamin C, it targets pigmentation, boosts collagen and brightens the complexion.
After a gentle cleansing, the facial continues with a five-minute pineapple enzyme peel together with steam for a light exfoliation. A gentle pressure-point massage enhances the effect.
Next, a serum containing Phylawhite is firmly massaged into the skin together with a brightening cream, so as to stimulate lymphatic drainage. Then comes another dose of serum in combination with a 10-minute brightening mask, while the therapist delivers a thoroughly relaxing foot, hand, arm and scalp massage.
The mask is removed and the treatment concludes with the application of an eye cream, a brightening cream and sunscreen. The result is firmer, brighter skin with less pigmentation and a healthy glow.
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