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?
What: Cell Labs Energy Massage Therapy ($235.40, 60 minutes)
The experience: “Spa Infinity’s signature massage focuses on lymphatic drainage and improving blood circulation using a cream infused with tourmaline (a mineral used for detoxification) and a set of electric infra-ray massage paddles to deeply penetrate tissue and muscle. The cream is rubbed in, then my therapist uses long strokes to open up the body sections in turn before using the paddles. She did not use standard massage strokes – all movements were from the centre to the outer sides of the body, moving toxins and excess fluid away from the central system.
She felt all the knots in my muscles, using alternating pressure on either side of the body. During the massage, she could tell if I had bad circulation, water retention or an injury in certain areas just by feeling! This treatment is a cross between a sports massage and Tui Na Chinese deep tissue therapy. It’s not painful, but it’s not an entirely relaxing experience, either. If you want something you can doze off to, book the classic massage instead.
Even though I have many old muscle injuries, I walked away feeling lighter, more aligned and more aware of all my muscles. There was no oiliness (none in the hair, either) as the cream was massaged in thoroughly, and no pain or bruising the next day as I have had with other deep tissue therapies.” – Danielle Rossetti
Psst… Try the massage at a special first-timer price of $98.40!
Heavenly Spa by Westin
What: Heavenly Massage ($160, 60 minutes; $220, 90 minutes)
The experience: “Eager to unwind even before my massage, I arrived early to use the facilities at Heavenly Spa by Westin, including the aromatherapy steam room and a tranquil whirlpool, which overlooks the CBD and beyond. Minimalist-chic with sleek marble, wood and light, earthy tones, the spa has tranquil vibes all around. I visited on a weekday afternoon when it was super-quiet, and had the facilities all to myself!
As the spa’s signature massage treatment, the Heavenly Massage is beloved for its refreshing, anti-aging and anti-oxidant properties, thanks to the white tea oil used throughout. It all began with a quick footbath, where my feet were exfoliated with sea salt and cinnamon (a very delicious-smelling start!) before I climbed onto the massage bed. Once I was face down, my therapist Eunice placed a heated compress on my back to allow the muscles to relax. I like that she started with my legs and feet before working her way up to my back – the best part! If you like Swedish massages, you’ll love this relaxing treatment. It was 90 minutes of pure bliss!
Sip on some ginger tea and snack on some nuts while reading magazines in the post-treatment relaxation lounge. Each chair is in its own private pod, each with front-row view of the city from 35 floors up – a nice way to end the entire experience.” – Amy Greenburg
Away Spa at W Singapore
What: Signature Cove Massage ($265, 90 minutes)
The experience: “As I was enthusiastically greeted at the hotel entrance, I explained I was heading to the spa. One of the welcoming doormen offered to escort me – making easy small talk on the way. Upon entering the neutrally decorated spa reception with ocean references, (think driftwood walls), I was again greeted with a warm smile.
The Cove is a new massage offered by the W, designed to replicate the ocean that the hotel overlooks. Long relaxing strokes and gentle muscle rolling – it is divine. I’d asked my therapist to focus on my tension-heavy shoulders and loved how she managed to tenderly work out a whole year’s worth of knots! The Away Spa is one of the most beautiful spas I have ever been into. The staff are exceptionally professional and attentive. It was the most delightful way to spend an afternoon. I felt incredible right after – totally relaxed and ready to face my toddlers!” – Kel Flanders
Psst… Don’t forget your swimwear and enjoy the rejuvenating spa facilities afterwards (including a sauna, steam room, vitality pools and cool experiential showers)!
What: Chakra Balancing Body Massage (from $60 for 30 minutes)
The experience: “This full body massage is a combination of deep-tissue massage and reflexology using essential oils. I chose patchouli from the menu of aromatherapy oils as it’s an old favourite of mine, from my hippy days.
Going to Trimmings at Loewen always makes me feel calmer, even if it’s just popping by for a mani or pedi. I think it’s the greenery and old buildings – it also helps that you’re not thinking about parking fees, or getting in and out of town. I definitely felt relaxed throughout, and I thought Min, the therapist, had a very good technique (and I’m quite critical when it comes to massages). She was firm in the right places and listened to my preferences. I didn’t sleep during my 90 minutes massage as I normally do, but had to go to bed at 8.30pm that night so I think it had definitely helped to shift some chakras around. Don’t go planning a big night out afterwards!” – Rebecca Bisset
Psst… This massage can be of various lengths from half an hour to two hours, so you can customise according to how much time you have on hand.
Damai Spa at Grand Hyatt Singapore
What: Spa Afternoon Tea ($400 per couple, 75 minutes)
The experience: “Damai Spa is a beautiful nature-inspired spa located in the heart of Orchard Road. It was our first time there, and my husband and I were treated to a Spa Afternoon Tea, which includes a personalised massage followed by a high tea experience. Upon our arrival, our therapists had us fill out a brief consultation form. We were asked to indicate which areas of the body we would like the therapist to focus on, the type of massage techniques we prefer and the goal of the treatment. I chose to have my upper back, neck, and shoulders worked on more and opted for a Javanese massage. The spacious treatment room has an ensuite bathroom, complete with a shower. There’s also plenty of wardrobe space to store your belongings. The overall massage experience was very soothing. The pressure was just right and it wasn’t too hard or painful. At the end of my treatment, a cup of hot ginger tea was waiting for me after I emerged from my ensuite and got dressed.
After our treatment, we were escorted down to 10 Scotts for our afternoon tea session, where we had a table waiting for us. The food was superb; we enjoyed a buffet spread of high tea selections on top of our tier of desserts. We were also seated right next to the glass windows, which gave us a splendid view of the cascading waterfall. It almost felt like we were holidaying abroad! We will most likely visit the Grand Hyatt again for another pampering spa day.” – Liana Talib-Keddie
Chez Moi de Beaute
What: LPG Endermopuncture Revitalising Massage ($380, 60 minutes)
The experience: “This is not your average massage. First, I had to don a disposable body unitard made out of a stretchy netting material. Then, rather than human hands kneading my tired muscles, a machine went to work. Think of a giant vaccum head, sucking and then slightly pinching you before moving onto the next spot. It didn’t really hurt, but it wasn’t exactly relaxing either. After I was thoroughly pinched, the machine then started tapping me very quickly, like forefingers altering very quick hard pokes. The treatment ended with a neck and head massage – by hand. After, they slathered me in this oil and had me apply more at home later that night.
So what’s it all about? Detoxification, plain and simple. The goal is to pull icky stuff up and out from deep within your layers of skin and fat. It’s supposed to help with cellulite, water retention and digestion issues and more. My friend did this treatment religiously in Moscow before her wedding and swears she lost 14kg because of it! Me? I felt pretty good after the treatment, but didn’t drop any pounds. For the full effect, you need to have at least three session to see visible results. Want to try it out? They offer a taster for $120.” – Melinda Murphy
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental
What: Oriental Essence Massage ($210, 60 minutes; $270, 90 minutes)
The experience: “This massage is inspired by traditional therapies using custom-blended essential oils to soothe and treat the whole body. Best for de-stressing, it focuses on stress points in the neck, back and shoulders. There is also some treatment of pressure points on the face and head to ease tension.
The therapists here are very experienced and professional. They’d always chat through the options with you beforehand to make sure they’re aware of your preferred massage pressure. I chose a lavender and neroli oil for stress and relaxation, but they also have specific blends for those with water retention or those who travel frequently. The spa ambience is amazing: soft beds with temperature control and plump soft towels. It really is pure luxury! You are also allowed to arrive up to an hour before your treatment to use the steam and sauna room for the full experience.
After my massage, I headed to the comfy lounge for a hot tea and some snacks. My skin felt soft and supple to the touch, and had a light glow from the oil, which didn’t feel sticky or uncomfortable. The therapists recommended to leave the oil on the skin after the massage to allow it to soak in fully.” – Jacqui Young
Healing Touch Spa
What: Bojin Orthopaedic (60 minutes, $80.25)
The experience: “This unique therapy uses ancient Chinese techniques to address problem spots like stiff neck, lower back pain and tennis elbow. The massage focuses on stimulating the meridian channels (qi flows) and acupressure points using a specialised tool known as the bojin. This helps to release built-up tension, improve circulation and treat stress.
Stiff shoulders and tension in the neck are common issues for those with desk-bound jobs, as with accompanying stress-related headaches, so this treatment was perfect for me. My Thai therapist Khem was warm and friendly, without being imposing. She checked in regularly with me to ask if the pain was bearable, and even threw in a much-needed Thai massage (lots of cracking – I loved it!) at the end to wrap up. The bojin aspect of the massage was not entirely pain-free but because I stuck through with it, the stubborn muscle knot on my right shoulder was miraculously erased by the end of the session. The next morning, I woke up well-rested and relaxed, albeit with slight muscle soreness then went away the day after.” – Anthia Chng
Healing Touch Spa
Multiple outlets islandwide
Aramsa The Garden Spa
What: Aroma Rich ($180, 60 minutes)
The experience: “This aromatherapy massage at Bishan Park’s Aramsa Spa lets you customise and mix your essential oils at a special aromatherapy bar. There are close to 30 different scents for each personality and moods as the focus of this massage is on the mind, body and soul of the individual. It’s meant to be a relaxing treatment, which means soft to medium pressure is used during the massage, so you shouldn’t expect the same kind of strength typically used in deep-tissue techniques.
After choosing my scents, I was led through a door and into a garden. The stone floorings and greenery made the atmosphere super serene. The treatment rooms are really spacious and the outdoor garden adds a calming touch. The massage itself was very relaxing and comfortable; I was constantly wishing it would never end! After it was over, I was brought to the waiting lounge, where I was treated to some housemade ginger tea and biscuits to munch on. You have the option of enjoying the quiet space, or you can head outdoors where there are chairs to relax in. If you’re doing a couple’s spa, you get to unwind in your own outdoor bath!”– Beatrice Ng
What: Balinese massage with herbal ball compress ($108, 75 minutes)
The experience: “Tamarind Spa’s nondescript location – on the second floor of a shophouse in Serangoon Gardens – adds to the space a cosy and exclusive vibe. This spa has been around since 2003, and they’re best known for their massages.
I sipped on some hot tea while filling up a detailed first-timer form, then chose the eucalyptus essential oil for my massage. There are other options like lavender (for relaxation) and lemongrass (for detoxification), but eucalyptus caught my eye as it claims to help with muscle aches, and I’ve been working out more lately. Using slow and long strokes with deep finger pressure on specific areas, the signature Balinese massage helps to release tension in the body. It focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue, hence promoting better blood and oxygen circulation. Coupled with a 15-minute round of Thai herbal ball compress, which involved pressing a warm herbal ball around tight spots like my shoulders, this was the ultimate treatment for those with sore muscles or built-up tension in problem areas. I fell into deep sleep and woke up in a blissful state, where the knots on my back were smoothened out, and my tight calve muscles more relaxed.” – Anthia Chng