“Spa? Right this way, sir.”
Thus, began our journey up to CHI spa from the first floor of the Marounuchi trust building that houses the Tokyo Shangri-la. But not before the doorman gave a 90 degree bow (and held it) as the elevator doors closed on us. An already very fine Tokyo 5 star hotel, the Shangri-la Tokyo’s level of service stands out from the neighbouring Canadian chain hotel the way Cristiano Ronaldo would tower over a kids league lineup.
We climb, the elevator powering us effortlessly up the 40 odd floors. 41 floors later, we emerge into the elegant Shangri-la lobby then taking a turn to another set of elevators for our spa destiny.
Our friendly attendant hands us over to the CHI spa staff and bows out. Some people might find it unnecessary but I like how Shangri-la staffers put respect and a lot of omotenashi into their work. The doorman and escort bows and does it for everyone from hotel guests to spa goers like myself.
I’ve blogged extensively about the dark teak wood interior and dim, serene lighting that give the CHI spa the “secluded paradise on Earth” feeling that the words Shangri-la evokes. It’s a formal space, with well-manicured and courteous staffers and a solid golden summoning bell marking each treatment room. But CHI spa isn’t stuffy. You can come in slippers and a maxi dress without eliciting strained smiles from the staff. They’re here for you.
My treatment for the day is the Kisetsu summer seasonal treatment, which features natural botanical products for well-being from Japan.
One image here shows a Binchotan charcoal sack, a reminder of what it meant to bath in the days before fancy bath oils and body exfoliates.
Kisetsu involves a very luxurious and relaxing bath to draw out impurities and followed by a Bamboo charcoal scrub and shower. For the bath part, I was ushered into a very nice charcoal bath and soaked for 15 minutes. Jacuzzi optional. I could feel my body unwind, pores open up and impurities taken out by the charcoal.
After the bathtime was up, I used the bell (this is #luxury) to summon my therapist and was asked to move to the bed. I would lay down to be scrubbed with a bamboo charcoal mix. I asked for a mild exfoliation as my skin tends to be on the sensitive side, and she was perfect.
I went into the shower feeling weightless as the dead skin cells and other impurities just fell off me. This is how every spaist out there should feel – buttery soft, rejuvenated and glowing.
Still not finished either with my Kisetsu treatment as Eri needs to do the 60 full body massage! This is all part of the program as once your skin has been steamed and scrubbed, there needs to be an oil massage to complete and make your body feel whole.
CHI spa therapists have a deft touch and this shows their dedication to their craft. Needless to say, 60 minutes went by very slowly and I came out even more relaxed than before.
It’s at this time I wished I were a spaing hotel guest and could just retire to a wonderful Horizon room for the night. Taxi-ing back to Toranomon was a labour.
I always come back again for another Kisetsu treatment at the spa by the trains. They’re that deserving and most certainly in the Tokyo top 3 luxury spa experiences.