Jun 13, 2017
1. SPA STUDIO | MANDARIN ORIENTAL
The boat you take to the iconic Oriental Spa symbolizes the entire experience: it’s a journey. The Spa Studio is a whole other animal. Housed in the hotel in a set of former suites, it’s an urban escape for folks who don’t have all day. There’s a waxing bar, and a massage loft where you can grab a cat nap or order champagne with your neck rub. But the stars are the collagen-enhancing facials from QMS, created by a German trauma and cosmetic surgeon, that leave pores tight and skin plump (mine included two masks, one Phantom of the Opera-style and the other more Sith Lord-y), and the only Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio in town. French podiatrist Bastien Gonzalez is a beauty-industry rock star thanks to his blade-only, health-centric nail treatments, and he’s hired equally dapper and charming (no coincidence, we’re sure) French podiatrists to run all his studios. Here, trust Alex Lutin—armed with pearl cream and a chamois-leather buffer modeled on Gonzalez’s great-grandmother’s—to hone your nails to a month-long shine. Talk about polished.
mandarinoriental.com; QMS facials from Bt3,350, Bastien’s pedicure Bt3,250.
2. THE ONE SAND BATH THERAPY
If you’re down with onsen, you might try soaking next in sand. Specifically, these volcanic, larger-than-average Japanese grains. Climb into the tub and your therapist will rake sand all over your body, turning you into a human Zen garden. The sand exerts pressure on you equally from all sides, so it can get hot, heavy, and, yes, maybe claustrophobic. But quell your mind, relax, and power through, because all those little bits are filled with 50 vitamins and minerals that detoxify, boost immunity and circulation, and stave off signs of aging. We’d call that a great day at the beach.
3. EFOREA | MILLENNIUM HILTON
Indian massage and Thai therapy. Chinese acupressure and Swedish massage. Egyptian reflexology and Native American spirituality. Fusion is usually for food, not fingertips. But treatments at the Eforea spa meld distinct healing traditions in dense 30-minute sessions. These “journey enhancements,” developed by master therapist Sean Jordan, an Englishman who has studied healing from the Himalayas to Central America, may be booked solo or flowed into other treatments. Such flexible customization ensures you never receive a cookie-cutter massage, and while I was as skeptical of the blurred spa lines as I would have been had they offered me paneer pizza, my masseuse had magic hands, weaving together all six traditions in continuous flow. She was representative of the other innovation here: getting the therapists involved in the treatments via body movements, meditation and breathing. “The therapist is the channel, the conduit through which you experience healing,” Jordan told me. “Unless we make the therapist happy, it’s impossible to translate joy to the guests.” Consider the message delivered.
hilton.com; from Bt1,600.