Spa Village of The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur has had a makeover! I thought it was rather fabulous before the change, so I’m curious to see how they could possibly make it better, and at the same time try out a new one of their signature experiences.
Stepping into the peaceful surrounds of the Spa Village quickly pushes the bustling city centre out of mind and transports me to a far more peaceful state of being. The entrance is bordered by water. A luxurious swimming pool with fountains and sun loungers line the right of the pathway, and a water feature and garden flank the left. Guests partaking in a treatment are able to use the pool facilities, and most who sign up for a package at the spa allow a little extra time to take advantage of this benefit.
The reception is spacious with a boutique to the left and treatment facilities to the right. Once registered guests are ushered to the relaxation lounge and served a chilled cup of lime and sour plum juice and a cold moist towel. A nature sounds playlist provides a background to a screen showing images of trickling water and lush verdant plants.
Previously treatment rooms were dimly lit with lots of wood paneling, locally woven fabrics and green. The refreshed spaces have a much more minimalistic feel to them, resembling Japanese contemporary design. There’s much more white in the revamp, and for me this creates a very peaceful mood.
The Chinese Peranakan Treatment (3 hours, single RM995 nett, couple RM 1750 nett) is the Spa Experience I’m set to try today. Reflecting one of the ethnic healing traditions found in the region, it promises to provide balance and rejuvenation with a bath, massage, facial, and moxa and rattan tapping therapies. Sound, temperature, aromas and textures are varied to create a one-of-kind pampering experience.
The ritual begins with a footbath. Himalayan mineral salt acts as a natural exfoliant and kaffir lime slices as a cleanser.
Milk nectar meditation purposes to calm the body and mind. The tub is in the private outdoor garden and filled with milk and red rose petals. My therapist scoops warm water over my back while talking me through some breathing exercises before leaving me to soak for a further 10 minutes. A rinse off follows in the garden shower, I choose from a selection of massage oils, and return indoors to lie prone on the large massage bed ready to have the tightness eased out of my muscles.
I’m impressed with the details; the massage bed is of high quality; a hygienic disposable cloth covers the face hold; a towel is placed under my shins to relieve pressure on the lower back; and the spa underwear is a smooth figure hugging mesh – none of those puffy panties that resemble baby diapers that I so dislike.
A light beating with rattan sticks stimulates my blood flow and soon the masseuse is working away at my knots and stretching my muscles with long deep strokes. For the next two hours I drift in and out of consciousness as my massage morphs into a facial. Pearl and rice based natural products give a deep cleansing, and the usual rituals of a facial are attended to, with some atypical extras delivering a truly local touch.
Perhaps the most unique supplement though is the egg undulation: rolling of warm boiled eggs over the face while mulberry leaves are placed on the eyes to improve eye clarity. Cold jade rollers succeed the eggs furnishing a distinct contrast in temperature and touch. The facial ends with a moisturizer that includes a blend of Chinese herbs.
An opening of the curtains and doors and whirring of the ceiling fan indicates the beginning of the final phase of the session: the moxa and rattan therapies.
A herbal paste is placed on the stomach, the launch of the moxa navel activation. Bundles of burning incense are drawn near the skin emitting intense heat and working to ‘free the chi’ and improve metabolism. It’s also said to ease indigestion and counteract jet lag. Bringing the treatment full circle, my body is again tapped with the rattan sticks, and a Malay massage of neck and shoulders ends the session.
Upon redressing, I return to the relaxation lounge where a hot ginger and lemongrass tea, and oat cookie are waiting.
This was one of the most unique spa packages I’ve experienced. I’m not sure that I’d roll boiled eggs on my face as part of a regular beauty routine, but combined with the other facets of the Peranakan ritual, it sure does make something distinctly local and well-worth sampling at least once. In fact, it has me curious about the other ethnic treatments from the region, and I’d be thrilled to visit once again for a completely new and invigorating experience.
Reasons to visit: beautiful facilities; one of the most luxurious spas in Malaysia; unique treatments inspired by local traditions; an incredible day out.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur
168 Jalan Imbi
55100 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2782 9090