It’s been no secret that for the past seven months my feet have been beyond ugly. Severe problems with in-growing toenails have taken me on a hunt of Hong Kong’s podiatrists, through dingy rooms, paying obscene amounts (un-claimable on insurance) and experiencing the immense pain of toenail gouging. But the problem remained unsolved, leaving me with disfigured toenails but a fear of getting pedicures in case they made it worse. After chatting with other girls, it seems many of us get pedicures to hide such aesthetic issues with our feet – we use nail polish as a weapon against foot ugliness!
Cue my saviour, the incredibly charming and dashing Albin (below). Like any true hero he arrived with deep brown eyes, a melting French accent and just when I needed him most! However, he is no fairy tale knight, but instead a trained podiatrist specialising in the world renowned Bastien Pedi:Mani:Cure system. Exclusively available in Hong Kong at The Oriental Spa at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, this is a pedicure with a difference. Using medical knowledge, uniquely formulated products and a genuine love for protecting hands and feet, the Bastien technique is all about creating and restoring healthy skin and nails that are so beautiful, you won’t want to hide them under polish.
Entering the spa’s treatment room is far more enjoyable than any dodgy podiatrist’s room – comfy chair, spa sounds, soft lighting and endless cups of The Oriental Spa’s signature ginger tea. Following a vaguely similar format to a normal pedicure, Albin explained the process then began by cutting and filing my nails using a glass nail file, diamond dusted drill and other wickedly cool gadgets. He then moved onto sorting out my little “problem”. Whilst the tools he used looked similar to ones I had seen before, he showed me the damage previous podiatrists had caused and how simply he could actually fix the problem. He delicately and painlessly worked his magic and left my toes pain-free for the first time in 2012. He even offered to give my nails a quick five-minute onceover should the problem return and is adept at ridding people of calluses, corns, hard skin and more.
At no point were my feet immersed in water as he explained that softening the skin and nails makes them harder to work with. A light buffing was finished with a radiant mother of pearl cream applied using a handmade French chamois. The buffing was super relaxing and left my toe nails shining as if they had had a French pedicure; this effect lasts for weeks and is why most devotees of this foot regime don’t need to paint their nails afterwards. We then moved onto the bit I normally dread – the removal of dry skin. Although Albin was holding a rather scary looking scalpel, it wasn’t painful in the slightest; where manicurists often file our feet raw, he isolated exactly what skin needed removing, leaving enough to offer protection.
Finally, we moved onto my favourite part – the massage. This isn’t just for pure enjoyment (although it was incredibly relaxing!) but is all about circulation and improving the elasticity of the skin on our feet. Throughout the treatment Albin restored my faith in foot doctors… well, those trained in the Bastien technique, working in the lavish settings of the Landmark Mandarin Oriental’s spa! He gave me endless tips on foot care (we should always give our nails two polish-free days per week to keep them strong), effortlessly resolved my in-growing toenail problem and left my feet looking the healthiest they have looked in a long time. Considering how frequently we all treat ourselves to pedicures, it’s worth visiting Albin at least once to restore the health of your whole foot in a way that will make all other pedicures seem irrelevant. Yes it’s more expensive than your standard pedicure, but not ridiculously so; in fact, it’s actually cheaper than going to a clinical podiatrist and is so effective in restoring the soul to your soles that I doubt you would ever need to go to one.
I can’t stop staring at my still shining and actually pretty looking feet. And I can’t stop recommending the treatment to everyone. Luckily, the Landmark Mandarin Oriental have laid on a fantastic offer AND giveaway for you to get the Bastien experience too!
SASSY OFFER: If you book yourself in for a Bastien pedicure before 31 October, you will be upgraded from the pedicure worth $990 to the Bastien Duo, which also works on your hands and is worth $1500. Bookings must be made by the 21 September; quote Sassy on booking to get the offer!
SASSY GIVEAWAY: To celebrate a visit by none other than Monsieur Bastien Gonzalez himself in a few weeks, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Spa are offering one lucky Sassy girl a chance to win a treatment with the foot God himself. With a client list including celebs and royalty, you will be putting your feet in very good hands!
The giveaway has now closed. Congrats to our lucky winner, Bee!
The Bastien Pedicure costs $990 for 1 hour.
The Oriental Spa at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong, 2132 0188