28 December, 2011

Sassy Review: Radiance Facial at The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA

28 December, 2011

Many of you have probably taken the chance this holiday season to get away and recharge your batteries somewhere nice and relaxing. Lucky you. Unfortunately, the furthest I’ll be going is the New Territories… and given that I looked like I should be auditioning as an extra for The Waking Dead, Team Sassy made the executive decision to send me to a luxurious spa treatment at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong instead!

The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA is the highest hotel spa in the world, located on the somewhat dizzying 116th floor – and I can wholeheartedly say that the least pleasant part of the experience is the popping you’ll get in your ears when you zoom up there! The rest is pure luxury, from start to finish, and my skin is currently sighing with thankfulness.

The spa itself is decked out in soothing velvety chocolate brown tones, which immediately put me in a relaxed frame of mind. I was led to the changing rooms – which also include a sauna and an amazing shower with a setting of ‘tropical rain’ (which sadly I didn’t have time to put to use, though the child in me did press the button and look on in wonderful!) – before meeting my therapist, Amy, to discuss my treatment.

‘Are there any specific issues you want to target with your treatment?’ she asked. I think she was just being polite. The huge dark circles under my eyes and my dull sallow complexion probably indicated tiredness and stress as being my major problems! Thus, I was set up with the Radiance Facial with Jade Stone Eye Treatment – a revitalizing and brightening facial to help refresh my tired skin and recharge my energy!

Unfortunately, this is where my review will get a little hazy… as the next 90 minutes passed by in a cloud of calm too blissed out for me to remember! My face was immaculately cleansed, toned, exfoliated, moisturising and nourished by Amy’s soft supple hands, with a selection of gorgeous smelling and feeling ESPA products. There was generous use of wonderful warm towels, a fantastic neck and shoulder massage and a general feeling of my troubles melting away beneath Amy’s expert touch.

At various points, I was invited to deeply inhale some essential oils Amy wafted above my face – I selected the oil earlier and apparently my choice of Sandalwood further cemented how in need of total relaxation I was! I also have to wax lyrical about the fabulous long head massage she gave me; often, these feel like someone inexpertly attempting to wash your hair, but this felt so wonderful and unwinding that I’ll happily admit it made me fall fast asleep!

The other absolute highlight was the use of Jade Stone rollers on my eyes and face. I’m sure many of you will have seen these types of thing before – like mini paint rollers but made of cool marble or stone – and I’d previously assumed them to be a bit of a gimmick. I am now thoroughly converted and will be attempting to employ a minion to roller my face at any possible opportunity! These felt nothing short of miraculous on my skin. They were stunningly cold, but not in a shockingly unpleasant way; rather, it was a delicious tingling refreshing sensation that instantly felt like it was quelling and soothing my tired skin and dull complexion. I could practically feel every pore coming back to life and sucking in that enriching feeling!

Finally, there was a special application of ESPA’s Skin Radiance Moisturiser, a lovely light but rich hydrating cream that helps to reduce pigmentation and instantly brighten the skin. The other thing I loved about the treatment was how quiet and calming it was; often therapists feel the need to explain every stage to you, but Amy did this right at the start, meaning I could switch off and enjoy my 90 minutes in total peace.

I then made my way to the relaxation room, and lounged back in the bright sunshine with a magazine and some citrus tea. The views are truly astounding and just served to make me feel even further – happily – from the hustle and bustle of busy Kowloon. I could have stayed there, basking in the secluded sunshine, all day.

Unfortunately, I did have to leave… but not before I checked myself in the mirror (not wanting to scare away any shoppers in Elements with usual shiny red post-facial face!). I was actually really impressed with the results. My skin looked brighter and more radiant, felt softer and more hydrated and I definitely had a bit of a glow going on, if I do say so myself! What’s more, a red area of flaky dryness by my eye was no longer around and any other trace of dullness had totally disappeared! I was happy to emerge into Elements without a scrap of make-up on, which is really saying something!

The Radiance Facial does not include an extraction or any other acne-blasting treatments; instead, it’s very much a relax, refresh and rejuvenate type of treatment. As such, it’s 90 minutes of utter laidback luxury. Meh… the New Territories don’t sound so bad after all!

Radiance Facial with Jade Stone Eye Treatment, 90 minutes, $1,485 plus 10% service charge

The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA, 116F, The Ritz-Carlton, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2263 2263

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