Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Published on: 11/2/07 5:55 AM

Travel: Singapore Spas


Pure Hedonism


Kick off those shopping shoes and slip into something more comfortable as we take you spa-hopping through the island city of Singapore, home to some of the best spas in the world.


For a country that is forever re-defining its tourist attractions, Singapore does one great job. It’s been pushing the spa experience for a while now and nothing loath, I decided to give it a try.
After all, what did I have to lose but my dry skin and stiff joints?


Shiatsu massage
My first stop was the curiously named Andana Spa on the sixth floor of the Paragon building on Orchard Road.
Soothing surroundings, the sound of gently falling water, blossoms abloom in corners, the spa does a pretty good job of making one feel welcomed. I signed up for a Shiatsu massage.
This entails immersing oneself in a hot therapy pool, and then, just giving in to the sheer joy of warm water jets pounding the tiredness out of the body and replacing it with new energy.
After a while, an attendant directed me to the sauna where I sat for as long as I could manage, which was about 20 minutes; next was a very brief dip in the cold therapy pool, something that can really sift the sissies from the bravehearts, I assure you!
Soon, I was in the massage cubicle where Margaret waited to give me the Shiatsu Power Points massage. What can I say?
Margaret re-introduced me to parts of my body I never knew existed, made me believe I could try out for a contortionist’s job, and all of it sans pain, sans even a twinge of discomfort.
I walked out of Andana looking good and feeing great. Andana, like many spas in Singapore, offer couple’s treatment packages too.


Foot Ritual treatment
The Foot Ritual treatment at the Essence Vale Day Spa on Orchard Road, was almost better than a facial. All the reflex zones in my feet were stimulated so well, thanks to Kim, who used lightly- fragranced ginger-infused herbal oil on the top and soles of my feet.
I really felt the connection; my feet felt great, my whole body felt even better. Since Kim smiled more than she talked and since I was feeling decidedly drowsy with all the pampering, it made for a silent, but oh-so-enjoyable experience.
With all that attention, my feet were now smooth as silk and looking rather nice, but it, and I myself,
needed some more prettification.
Nailed down
And for that I headed to the Mandarin Hotel’s Nail Spa for a manicure and pedicure; it was a procedure that took all of an hour under the tender ministrations of Janet, but I really can’t think of a more relaxing way to spend an hour.
Emerging with my toenails painted a deep rose and fingertips gleaming a blush pink, I found myself gesturing more than I normally did!
The best part of it was that the polish, sequins included,  stayed on for a full month, through many a washing up, keying of endless stories, prising open of a few tins and cans, and such tasks.
Now,  that’s a professional job for you.



De-stressing scalp massage
Another day, another spa.  I was back at Orchard Road, at Le Salon in Ngee Ann City for a de-stressing scalp massage and it was an interesting experience. It was done totally without oil by a soft-spoken Chinese wraith of a girl, so soft-spoken I didn’t catch her name.
She used just her nubile fingers to probe, pull, knead my scalp, nape, neck, brow, eyes and chest as I
lay prone, listening to soft music.
After a full hour of all this concentrated attention, my scalp was tingling with new life and so was I. A hair wash and a blow-dry later, it wasn’t just a new life but a new look, too!


Collagen facial
Spa Estheva in the Palais Renaissance on Orchard Road, I had been informed, did a great collagen facial, and so there I was, at the elegant if spartan spa.
The facial, administered expertly by Frances, lasted one-and-a-half hours, and involved the liberal use of creams and lotions that put an instant glow on my face.
A glow, I found to my delight, that really lasted days. The spa’s hugely popular Choc De-Ager treatment, where pure chocolate is drizzled over your body before being massaged gently into the
skin, is a spa-addict’s (or even a chocoholic’s) dream.
Spoilt for choice
The island has many spas that offer a mind-boggling range of treatments.
Most of these, like the foot reflexology massages, are hugely popular with men, as are the exfoliation treatments. Increasingly, a number of ‘exclusively for men’ spas are opening all over the
island with steam rooms, saunas, jacuzzis, even meditation rooms.


Aromatherapy, Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), mud pools, Japanese wooden hot tubs, flower baths, Balinese massage, herbal wraps, hot stones, each and every treatment is as efficacious as it
sounds enticing.
Prices start from SGD 35 and can go all the way up to SGD 300-400. All the places offer value for money, you can be assured of it…this is Singapore, after all.


Visitors to the island spend so much on shopping; it’s just a matter of re-directing some of that budget to spend on oneself. Me, I’d rather schedule a trip just to spa-hop all over the island!


Spa Etiquette:


Book an appointment and reach the place a little before your scheduled time.

Try and leave your jewellery and valuables behind, though most spas do have lockers where your stuff will be safe.

Do not go for a spa treatment on a full stomach or after having had a lot to drink.

If the therapist is using too soft a touch or conversely, too much pressure on your face or body, speak up. You need to make your comfort zones clear.

During the treatment, just go with the flow, relax completely, breathe deeply and evenly.

If you have medical concerns, inform the therapist before your treatment starts.

Don’t hesitate to ask if some instructions aren’t clear.

Do not get up immediately after the treatment, just lie back for a few more minutes.

Tipping is not mandatory, it’s your call. All the same, a little something in appreciation would be welcomed, like anyplace else.


                                    This ran in the Jetwings magazine of  Sep-Oct 2007


Related Links:


Andana Spacollagen facialDe-stressing scalp massageEssence Vale Day SpaFoot Ritual treatmentLe Salon in Ngee Ann CityMandarin Hotel’s Nail SpaShiatsu massageSingaporeSpa Estheva in the Palais Renaissancespas

Sheila Kumar • November 2, 2007

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