9 March, 2012

Sassy Review: a day of pampering at Amrita Spa in Central

9 March, 2012

My friends have been all abuzz recently with talk of Amrita Spa (thanks to a fantastic Valuup deal a few weeks ago!); at Sassy, we pride ourselves on keeping our fingers on the pulse, so I quickly set off to see if all the raves were deserved!

Amrita is hidden away in an unpromising side street nearer the Sheung Wan side of Central, then tucked away in an even more unpromising-looking commercial building! However, one simple ring of the keypad and you are quickly transported to a cosy comfy haven.

The interior is done up in a Victorian-style, with white furniture and stained glass window decoration. It’s super quiet (exactly what I want from my spas!) and has a soft candlelit glow that makes it feel really homely, inviting and intimate, a far cry from some of the more sterile anonymous spas in the city.

Although the reception and changing rooms are a little small, the treatment room itself is Tardis-like and surprisingly big! There are two beds, with two adjoining rooms either side – one containing a Vichy shower (more on that later!), the other a Jacuzzi.

The first step of my treatment was a Pevonia full body scrub and my therapist quickly got to work using soft assured strokes. The scrub product itself felt much less abrasive than ones I’ve had elsewhere and afterwards, my skin felt nicely tingly as opposed to entirely sloughed off!

Next it was on to the Vichy Shower – a treatment that’s generally only available in luxury hotel spas. For the uninitiated (and until that day, I was one of them!), it’s a series of shower heads that cascade water over you while you lie on a bed underneath them; essentially, a lie-down shower for the lazy!

Actually, it’s much much more than that, and the experience was utterly wonderful. Your therapist manoeuvres the shower heads up, down and all around your body; it’s like being caught in the most divine shower of rain. The water is so lovely, warm and gentle that it seems to wash away all your stresses and troubles in a blissful tropical waterfall. When you lie on your back, a towel is placed over your face to ensure you aren’t splashed to oblivion; also, the bed itself is padded nicely with towels so you’re comfy and I was given both a disposable bra and undies to wear, so I didn’t feel too exposed either. It was so glorious I’m thinking of enquiring whether I can have one fitted above my dining table!

Afterwards, my skin felt lusciously soft and smooth – it felt like I’d shed a skin in there, thanks to the earlier scrub! I barely had time to admire my new squeaky-clean exterior before it was time for the final element of my treatment, a facial.

Now, the advantage of having two beds in a room became clear – your therapist doesn’t have to faff around with changing sheets and cleaning up after a scrub whilst you hang about aimlessly… instead you simply hop onto the next bed for the other part of your treatment!

Ivy, my therapist, took one look at my skin: ‘Dry!’ With that, she prescribed the Valmont Discovery Experience, which is especially good for hydrating and moisturising. In addition to Valmont, a Swiss brand of skincare, Amrita also has a wide range of Elemis and Pevonia facials available (including a caviar one!), so there really is something for everyone and every skin type!

The next 75 minutes whizzed by as I slipped into a spa-induced semi-coma. Under Ivy’s touch, this was one of the most accomplished facials I’ve had in a long time – she knew exactly the right places to put pressure, exactly the right places to go gentle and exactly the right ways to stroke and massage my face. There’s cleansing, exfoliating, toning, a deep hydrating mask (left on for around 20 minutes) and lots, lots, lots of moisturising!

There was also a serious extraction session (thankfully without one of those steam machines that always suffocate me) and a fantastic shoulder massage that made me wish I’d booked in for a full body one! I was also treated to the Valmont Eye Contour Treatment, which totally refreshed and rejuvenated my delicate and weary-looking eye area.

Afterwards, my skin was brighter, plumper, softer and near enough glowing with radiance. I’ve since received dozens of compliments about how great my skin is looking… which, much as I’d love to credit to my make-up skills, must mean Ivy worked some magic on me!

There were a few minor things – my slippers had seen better days and the towels on my first bed felt a bit damp (an occupational hazard in HK’s current humidity I’m sure) – and although the Valmont products clearly worked wonders, I found them a little too strongly perfumed for my taste.

However, my overall experience at Amrita couldn’t have been more lovely. I liked its cosy feel, the facial was fabulously relaxing and I’ll definitely be back for a Vichy shower… or two… or five hundred. Coupled with reasonable prices and the comprehensive range of treatments available, Amrita is a fantastic local find and a secret haven of peace and indulgence in the city.

Pevonia full body scrub, $380 for 20 minutes; The Vichy Experience, $480 for 20 minutes; Valmont Discovery Treatment facial, $795 for 75 minutes and Eye Contour Treatment, $580 for 30 mins

Amrita Spa, 1/F, 8 Gilman’s Bazaar, Central, Hong Kong, 2815 5590

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 11am-8pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am-7pm


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