Of spas and the best of the best in Asia
WordPress is having its PMS today so I could not upload any picture. Else you would be able to see my bareback being massaged. Not!
It felt like eternity that I havent put up a post here. I wasnt in a mood to post anything here but life goes on. For the past couple of weeks I have been experiencing one spa after another, just to de-stress and calm myself down. I didnt realise there are so many spas in Brunei, like mushrooms after a rainfall. I always refer to this useful site called Sanctuary Guide for guidance on the local scene, apart from words of mouth of course. Words of mouth works best in Brunei so dont waste your money on expensive advertisements and, dont forget us, bloggers :p
It is really hard to decide which is the best in Brunei as there are a number of factors to determine that special award. Personally for me, the location is a priority. I had this wonderful Asian massage for almost two hours and when I stepped out of the place, what did I see? Car wash, car tyres and sound pollution coming from nearby workshops. There goes serenity.
Another factor for me is the massage therapists, not sure if some are really qualified to be call as such. There was this spa with products I love but I didnt like the therapist. She was really rough though I have told her many times to be a bit gentler. I dont know, maybe she was having a bad day or PMS. The next day my body ached and I called her boss. Nope, I didnt return back to the spa; that was the first and the last.
Ambience is also important. You want to have a wonderful, blissful heaven and not a ‘kedai kopi’ or kiosks atmosphere. I was at one spa owned by a Bruneian and all throughout my session, the therapist was exchanging remarks and gossips with the other in the next room. I didnt finish my session and asked her to stop, paid for the session and complained to the lady boss. The boss put her long face. I thought she was upset with her staff but it turned out she was angry with my comments. Well, its her business and I was her customer. Not recommended.
Expensive does not equate to high standard. An expensive (to me) package that I bought for one session at one of the hotels proved to be one of my regrets. I was wrapped with mud all over my body except my hair. I wish it was chocolate so I could lick it and let it melt in my mouth. I fall asleep as it was so good but was awoken with a shiver as the mud had dried up and the therapist was out of sight. When I called her, she rushed and apologised profusely for ‘leaving’ me. I asked what the time was. When she told me the time, I realised she has left me in cracked mud for more than three hours!
Next, I was supposed to have an hour soak but because I had three instead of an hour mud-wrap, the therapist asked if I could step out of the bath in less than half an-hour. I asked why and she said there’s another customer waiting and all baths were fully utilised at that time. Fine, I was already cold so I agreed to step out. Then I was supposed to have two hours of Swedish massage and you guessed it, its only an hour, maybe less. Oh why do this things happen to me? When I dressed-up I asked to see her boss and I complained on their poor service. At least, this time the boss was sympathetic and upon checking on the time I was in, she agreed to give me a discount by almost a quarter. She also noted on the attendant’s name and promised she will be dealt with. I left, unsure if I wanted to go there again.
I won’t say that I always have bad experience but when you are paying, your expectation is high. I did have a couple of good time at least at a couple of spas and health saloons. I wanted to venture out to Belait and Seria. I will ask my friends there for recommendations.
In the meantime, what prompted me to put up this post is this news on the Fifth AsiaSpa Awards held last night at a glittering evening in Hong Kong. I wish I was part of the scene. Read more here. I wonder when would Brunei be recognised as a spa haven. This spa-tourism is not new in other countries and I sincerely hope the Tourism Department is considering this type of tourism. Eco-tourism? Sabah and Sarawak are also doing the same so why not spa-tourism in Brunei. Anyone out there who would like to be my partner? Seriously.
Okay so the winners of the AsiaSpa Awards 2009 are (and where is Brunei?):
Destination Spa of the Year: Six Senses Destination Spa, Phuket, Thailand
Urban Spa of the Year: Bliss Spa, W Hotel, Hong Kong
Day Spa of the Year: Green T. House, Beijing
New Spa of the Year: The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Sanya
Spa for Men of the Year: Chuan Spa at Langham Place Mongkok, Hong Kong
Spa Retreat of the Year: COMO Shambhala Retreat, Uma Ubud, Bali
Eco-Spas of the Year: Spa by Mandara, Alila Villas Hadahaa, Maldives
Socially Responsible Spa of the Year: The Shinta Mani Spa, Cambodia
Medi-Spa of the Year: S Medical Spa, Bangkok
Asian Spa Capital of the Year: Thailand
Spa Association of the Year: APSWC – Asia-Pacific Spa & Wellness Coalition
Spa Event of the Year: Global Spa Summit
Spa Personality of the Year: Karina Stewart, Co-founder, Brand & Concept Director, Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary
In-Spa Training of the Year: CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La
Spa Academy of the Year: Banyan Tree Spa Academy
Spa Design of the Year: Green T. House, Beijing
Best Children’s Spa Menu of the Year: Ice Cream Spa, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Spa Treatment of the Year: “Hilot Trilogy”, Mandala Spa & Villas, Boracay
Holistic Treatment of the Year: “Sound and Stone”, Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, Australia
Men’s Spa Treatment of the Year: “Man Space Healing Balance Massage”, i.sawan Residential Spa & Club, Grand Hyatt, Erawan Bangkok
Spa’s Therapist Team of the Year: Mandarin Oriental
Spa Product of the Year: Algotherm
Anti-Ageing Product of the Year: Aromatherapy Associates, ‘Fine Line Face Oil’
Natural Product of the Year: il?, ‘il? Face Oil for Glowing Radiance’
Men’s Product of the Year: Pevonia, ‘Easy-Glide Shaving Emulsion’
Spa Cuisine of the Year: The Farm, Philippines
Spa Marketing of the Year: CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La