Five new hotel spas join the ranks of Southeast Asia’s most pampering retreats
By Rebecca Walker
—Mulia spa, Bali
Swaths of creamy stone, specially commissioned artworks, trickling water features, and cutting-edge facilities set this expansive refuge apart on an island already well stocked with sublime spas. Set smack in the middle of the Mulia Bali resort complex in Nusa Dua, it has 20 treatment rooms done in muted beige and bronze tones complemented by two state-of-the-art “wellness suites”—one for ladies, one for gents—equipped with hammam tables, aroma steam chambers, ice-fountain rooms, oak saunas, and hydrotonic pools. The roster of treatments is no less ambitious, with an eclectic array of East-meets-West therapies ranging from coconut-wood massages and Javanese lulur rituals to an almond-and-oatmeal scrub that will leave you glowing (Jl. Raya Nusa Dua Selatan, Bali, Indonesia; 62-361/302-7777; themulia.com).
—Vana Spa, KohSamui
Nestled above the sands of Chaweng Noi Beach is one of the latest additions to Starwood’s exclusive Luxury Collection family, Vana Belle. The resort’s Vana Spa has four elegant treatment rooms replete with soaking tubs, steam facilities, and spacious relaxation areas, all exuding contemporary tropical charm. Guests can choose from a number of locally inspired and signature treatments that use marine-algae products from Thalgo. If time isn’t an issue, book the Rodjana’s Rejuvenating Ritual, three and a half hours of bliss that begins with a spice-infused foot bath and continues on with herbal compresses, an Ayurvedic head massage, and a cool marine-extract facial (9/99 Moo 3, ChawengNoi Beach, KohSamui, Thailand; 66-77/915-555; vanabellekohsamui.com).
—Willow Stream Spa, Makati
Although the heart Manila’s financial hub might not sound like an obvious place for pampering, the Willow Stream Spa—shared by the Raffles Makati and the Fairmont Makati—is an undeniable oasis. Sprawled over 1,200 square meters, this sleek sanctuary features five soothing treatments rooms, a mineral pool, a eucalyptus steam room, a nail studio and hair salon, and an outdoor terrace with access to a palm-lined swimming pool for post-treatment lazing. Filipino hilot massages are a specialty, as are rice body scrubs, botanical facials, and a Jetlag Recovery treatment aimed at revitalizing lackluster skin (1 Raffles Dr., Manila, Philippines; 63-2/555-9777; raffles.com).
—Kayangan Spa, Langkawi
Located near Langkawi’s busy Chenang Beach, the spa at the six-villa Seri Chenang Resort is small but striking, with a pair of couple’s treatment suites and a steam room infused with plant essences from the resort’s herb garden. Taking cues from age-old Malay healing practices, memorable treatments include an urut massage administered by a traditional healer and a gentle kneading with oiled bamboo rods. For something more decadent, try the two-hour Halusan treatment, which includes a dry body brushing session, a body mask, and a cucumber rub (Chenang Beach, Langkawi, Malaysia; 60-4/955-8275; serichenangresort.com).
—Chi, The Spa, Singapore
Whether you spell it chi or qi, it’s the life energy whose free flow underpins the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. It’s also the inspiration for the Shangri-La group’s in-house spa brand, the latest iteration of which has opened in the renovated Garden Wing at the Shangri-La Singapore. There’s a distinct urban resort vibe courtesy of the hotel’s lush grounds, and guests can choose to take their treatments alfresco in the gardens or in one of nine rooms. The spa menu is comprehensive, offering an array of massages, facials, wraps, body polishes, and signature rituals; try the Singapore Wave, which incorporates Chinese, Indian, Malay, and Thai techniques into a 90-minute muscle-melting massage (22 Orange Grove Rd., Singapore; 65/6737-3644; shangri-la.com).
This story originally ran in the June/July 2013 issue of DestinAsian.