By Kamila Delart.
When I walk through the tropical garden towards the Sun Spa, following a path framed with oblong ponds mirroring the tropical palms and the frangipani trees growing above, I’m really excited! Three hours of indulgence! What a treat… Especially as the package includes a professional cosmetology treatment my face seems to be in dear need of.
While I enjoy the refreshing chilled lime juice, and soak my feet in a rustic wooden barrel with orchids and frangipani flowers floating on the water surface, Jason, the Spa Receptionist, presents me with a lovely tray containing samples of body scrubs and massage oil blends to select from.
With a small amount applied on the back of my hand, I feel the texture and smell the fragrance, very much inclined to choose the Sea Salt Body Scrub infused with the delicious essence of Lemon Grass. But noticing my slightly sunburned skin, Jason thoughtfully advises that I opt for the coconut-rice exfoliant instead as it will be much gentler to my delicate skin.
As for the massage oil, my immediate winner is the Tamarind blend. Anti-inflammatory, and an excellent source of anti-oxidants and vitamins, it promises to sooth my irritated skin, while the divine aroma is hard to resist.
Escorted by my therapist, Minah, to the ‘treatment room’, my initial enthusiasm temporarily wavers. Usually frequenting five star resort spas, finding myself in a small cabin shielded from the next treatment bed only by a curtain drape, and realizing that I will have to move to another room dedicated to wet-therapies to enjoy my body treatment, does not necessarily match my expectations. But I reckon it’s too late to change my mind, so I dutifully fold my clothes into a small basket, and lay down on the massage bed. Looking back – a brilliant decision!
It’s hard to comment on my massage as Minah’s gentle caring touch managed to lull me to sleep after only a few minutes. The ‘feared’ transition to another room is surprisingly smooth. Located just opposite my current room, I pretty much sleepwalk the few steps, and before I know it, Minah begins to apply a smooth and luscious coconut-rice body polish, repeatedly reassuring herself, that the pressure is light enough on my slightly sunburned skin.
A cooling body wrap with banana leaves completes the body treatment experience. Letting a stream of warm water reveal the silky skin of a newborn, I spontaneously decide to wash my hair. Although a multipurpose body & hair product is available, Minah rushes out to bring me a cherry shampoo, insisting that it is much more suitable for my fine European hair.
And then comes the highlight!
The eagerly anticipated facial.
While I do like the natural facial pampering with cucumber and yogurt, the daily sun exposure and high moisture climate left their marks over the last few months. So I really need a professional cosmetology care, helping me with congested pores and slight pigmentation resulting from being careless when it comes to diligent sun screen application.
Although my skin tends to be rather oily, my cheeks are for some reason very sensitive, reacting to most of the product I ever tried. So as usual, I advise my therapist to leave this area out. (A recommendation, most of the aestheticians in the past followed).
But Minah is determined to provide me with a complete experience, insisting that she will personalize my treatment, applying on my cheeks a product specially developed for sensitive skin, a whitening serum on my forehead to alleviate any discoloration, and deeply purifying products on the rest of my face, while employing the vacuum machine to thoroughly cleanse my pores. And it works!
Resting upon the mask application, I close my eyes, just to be surprised by an unexpected sound. Although my hair is meanwhile half dry, Minah made the effort to organize a blow-dryer, and is now gently caressing my scalp, and running her fingers through my hair to smooth it out.
Half an hour later, as I wait in a neighbouring restaurant for my dinner to arrive, James Kok, the owner of Sun Spa, approaches me, asking about my experience, and handing me a little bag, mentioning that I seem to have forgotten my jewellery. Too relaxed to remember, I look inside to find my nose ring, artfully draped on a tiny cardboard with the Sun Spa’s Logo. Too overwhelmed to speak…
Able to collect my thoughts only once I am in my car on the way home, I am reflecting upon this unusual Spa visit that forces me as a Spa Professional to question the general concept of an outstanding Spa experience which is increasingly associated with the provision of extensive wellness facilities and breath-taking interior design.
Don’t get me wrong. I do love to indulge in exclusive treatments provided in a lavish five star environment. But although thrilled by sensory ambiance, and impressed by extensive treatment offerings provided by internationally trained therapists, everything really comes down to the essence, doesn’t it?
We may be too self-conscious to articulate our deepest desires. But if we did not censor ourselves, would we not book a spa appointment saying: ‘Please, make me feel special! Let the world revolve around me and my needs. Just for these few hours…’
As published in Langkawi-gazette