The old joke that in Guangzhou you can buy, trade and make something all in a day is one that never grows old because it’s true. I’m here as a +1 as my partner does the business trip and I get to do what I do best – spa!
At the fairly new Mandarin Oriental Guangzhou spa in Tienhe, it’s all about the fourth floor. Most of the entire fourth floor of this 25-floor hotel is taken over by the spacious spa, a well-equipped gym, a 25m outdoor lap pool and a beautifully-designed Thai reminiscent garden walk out to my awaited destination.
The Spa at the Mandarin Guangzhou is, by all accounts, a very handsome and well-thought out spa. Mood lighting and a cylindrical entrance wall of local stone welcome guests into the lobby. Clean lines, warm tones, both Asian traditional (read: teak wood) and contemporary spa (LED candle lights!) décor and furnishings create an inviting and comfortable environment for my spaing.
Southeast Asian elements such as fresh orchids and Chinese decorations meet with a rich, luxury feeling created by top of the line bathroom fixtures, toiletries and comfortable robes. This hotel spa’s treatment beds have one of the most comfortable face-down pillows I have ever had the pleasure of being on. It was just so plush!
The largest of the MO GZ’s treatment rooms is the Peony Couples Suite – a room with unparalleled luxury from a walk-in wardrobe closet to its own steaming shower room and hot sauna. The shower is computerized so you can select a shower to your own liking (they are conveniently listed right there on the wall). You can select: a slow, hot wave, water massage; a fast, hot, constant water massage and steam.
Their ESPA rose bath oil bathtub experience was definitely the epitome of bathing and every woman should be this lucky for once in her life.
In the spacious locker room guests will find a large vitality soaking pool with jacuzzi massage jets (the Four Seasons Guangzhou will forever rue the day they omitted this quintessential spaing feature), individual shower booths and a hydro-therapy-meets-high-tech shower featuring three different (tropical rain, arctic mist and island storm)misters sprinkling, spraying and spewing water at different and fluctuating temperatures. It has a light and scent therapy effect as well.
As Guangzhou grows and becomes an increasingly urban, cosmopolitan and very competitive spa place, that meant the MO: GZ spa had to develop a series of restorative treatments that would respond to the demands of customers from the jetlagged businessman to the weekly ‘aunties’ there for some pampering.
Sara Codner, spa director at the Mandarin Oriental Guangzhou, gives an example: “The Jetlag Reviver massage focuses on relaxation. If you’ve been flying all week and need to recover from the 12-14 hour time difference. Whereas, the signature Mandarin Oriental Essence targets the lower back and shoulders with medium pressure and our signature Oriental massage oil blend.
Noteworthy is the Anti-Pollution facial offered by the Spa. Must be popular among local women because of all the air pollution the city sees from being a manufacturing base for the entire world.
Down to the nitty-gritty: my treatment was the Crystal Light journey for 2 hours. On a super-comfy, state-of-the-art treatment bed, my therapist would basically massage me with a crystal of my choice ranging from a light pink to a dark obsidian one. My only regret is that the therapist only knew what the crystal would do but not much more. For instance, she couldn’t tell me, if it was a Star Aragonite crystal or something more about its background.
This massage begins with the feet as the Chinese believe that everything begins there. My therapist explains that this treatment is designed to increase energy flow and put you on a journey to inner peace and relaxation. As I enjoy long, rhythmic movements and occasional pressure on certain points, I fall into a state of relaxation that may or may not have involved dozing off – a sign of a great treatment. Although not deep, I find this pressure penetrating and when my neck and shoulders are worked on, it’s hurts in a good way, as this is where I store my stress.
Guangzhou, please, don’t stop buying, selling or trading because I want to come back to the MO: Guangzhou and the Spa again and again!