Heavenly Hong Kong

The city’s spas deliver an array of treatments and amenities for ultimate relaxation

By: Janice Mucalov

Plateau at Grand Hyatt
An in-room massage at the Plateau at Grand
Hyatt is a great antidote for jet lag.
Blissful, luxurious, serene. Hong Kong boasts some of the best spas in the world. Heavenly havens for relaxation and rejuvenation, they draw upon both Western wellness philosophies and traditional Oriental wisdom, which concentrates on rebalancing the flow of vital energy, or qi, throughout the body. Many of the top hotels have spas, and most are open to non-guests too. On a recent visit, I was pampered at two of the finest.

The Spa at Four Seasons

All ivory marble and stone, this 22,000-square-foot urban sanctuary is uber-luxe. Spread out over two floors, the men’s and women’s facilities are separate, with their own elevators between their private lounging/changing areas and treatment rooms. There’s no need to worry about bumping into the opposite sex without make-up and your hair unflatteringly tied up in a towel. It’s worth arriving early for your treatment to soak in the large, bubbling, mosaic-tiled vitality pool first. Forgot your swimsuit? No problem. Disposable bathing suits are on hand. Other hydrotherapies include a Finnish sauna, ice fountain with crushed ice flakes for cooling down, an herb-infused steam room with heated mother-of-pearl recliners and a Rhassoul chamber with tropical rain showers.

Clients can relax on a chaise longue, sipping ginger tea or chilled lemongrass guava juice, until an attendant accompanies them upstairs to their treatment rooms. Several of the 16 marble therapy rooms have wall-to-wall windows with knockout views of Victoria Harbor; others overlook the Four Seasons’ pools or rooftop gardens. Two lavish spa suites, popular with couples, feature their own vitality pool for two, relaxation daybeds, LCD television and private bar. (You can lounge in your suite for an additional hour before or after your treatment.)

My journey of pampering culminated in a tea foot-bath and Jade Stone Massage. Based on ancient Chinese practices, this elaborate full-body massage incorporates hot and cold jade stones to relieve stiff muscles. The Oriental Infusion, another appealing Eastern treatment, starts with an herb rub and exfoliation before you’re embalmed in linens which are saturated in Chinese herbs to relax in an aromatic steam room, and finishes off with an acupressure back, foot and head massage.

Other treatments on the spa menu include a Peppermint Sports Pedicure (you can watch a DVD while getting your feet buffed), Diamond Luxury Lift Facial, Honey Vanilla Cream Bath and Chakra Hot Oil Massage.

Clients who stay at the Four Seasons can also enjoy the hotel’s beautiful infinity-edge pool, lap pool, whirlpool and plunge pool on the rooftop of the sixth floor. The infinity pool, which overlooks the junks and passenger ferries gliding about the harbor, is fitted with speakers to provide music underwater for swimmers.

Another added bonus to staying at the Four Seasons is its very convenient location in central Hong Kong. The hotel is connected to the palatial International Finance Center Mall, where you can catch the direct 25-minute Airport Express train to the Hong Kong International Airport and even check in your luggage too. The hotel is also very close to the ferry piers, including the Star Ferries terminal for the short scenic cruise across the harbor to Kowloon.

Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
Hotel spa room at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
Plateau at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

One of the “top 15 world’s best spas,” according to the 2007 Travel & Leisure Readers’ Poll, the Plateau at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong provides a true resort spa experience in the heart of the city. The whopping 80,000-square-foot facility has 23 rooms, including 14 spa hotel rooms part of a new trend of bringing the spa into the guestroom.

Very Zen-like in appearance, these bright and airy spa hotel rooms are used for three- and five-hour treatments and by travelers wanting a residential spa experience. They feature a king-size futon bed, balcony overlooking the harbor and a huge spa bathroom with a sunken black-marble whirlpool tub and glass rain shower. If you stay overnight, you get a daily massage for two. Starting with a welcome tea service, the multi-treatment programs include a salt-and-pepper scrub with reflexology that concludes with a light spa meal and a fitness package, which combines a personal training session with a Vichy hydro massage, cucumber green-tea facial and infinity bath.

A three- or five-hour program also allows you to take advantage of the hotel’s fitness facilities, including an outdoor jogging track. You can also lounge by the gorgeous free-form rooftop pool, which is surrounded by lush palm gardens and offers dazzling harbor views. If hunger strikes, the outdoor grill serves healthy cuisine. It’s a great way to spend a day.

Don’t have a day? Then book a single treatment in one of the signature spa suites instead. These suites consist of two large black-marble rooms one a lounging area with a couch and flat-screen TV, and the other with a harbor view, heated massage table and large sunken whirlpool.

The Plateau Massage, which I enjoyed, uses a combination of shiatsu, Thai and Swedish techniques. Your therapist presents a wooden tray with four pots of balms to choose from, such as the rosewood, lemongrass and mint blend to energize the skin. At the end, you leave reinvigorated and ready to delight in exuberant Hong Kong again.


Chuan Spa at Langham Place
Menu of 60 holistic treatments based on traditional Chinese medicine.

The Peninsula Spa by ESPA
Includes harbor-view saunas and Asian tea lounge.

I-Spa at the InterContinental Hotel
Feng Shui-inspired spa with healing treatments.

The Oriental Spa at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental
Includes yoga and Pilates studios plus 700-square-foot couples spa suite.