UPDATE: Sense Of Touch Sai Ying Pun has now closed; don’t worry though, the awesome Sense Of Touch Tseung Kwan O is still very much open!
Soho – say whaaat? Poho – pah! These days, Hong Kong’s hottest area is strictly Westside, with more hipsters heading there than a gallery opening serving craft beers and burger sliders.
So far, most of the buzz has been around Western District’s new bars and restaurants, but now there’s something to make us beauty geeks sit up and take notice too – Sense Of Touch Sai Ying Pun.
I’m a big fan of Sense Of Touch, a homegrown spa chain that has now grown to eight locations in Hong Kong, as I think that they deliver quality and consistency across all the venues I’ve visited. The Sai Ying Pun Sense Of Touch is a little smaller than most of their other spas (i.e. the Tseung Kwan O branch) with only around five treatment rooms, but it’s still just as stylishly decked out as all its bigger sisters. I loved the colourful armchairs and Vietnamese-style white latticework screens in the foyer, where manicures, pedicures and foot massages take place. Meanwhile, the treatment rooms are simple and small – but they certainly don’t feel cramped or bare either.
I was booked in for Good Morning Vietnam – an exfoliation, steam shower and massage treatment that’s only available at Sense Of Touch Sai Ying Pun. Your 105 minutes of pure pampering bliss begins with an Elemis ginger and lime scrub, which is every bit as invigorating and defiantly un-abrasive as only the best scrubs can be.
After that, my lovely therapist Yamu ushered me into the steam shower, conveniently located right within the treatment room. Sadly, steam treatments are slightly wasted on me; I get too easily bored, never mind hot and bothered, to truly soak up their benefits. Here, the steam comes from under the in-built shower seat – meaning that when I sat down, my legs very quickly felt like they were minutes away from Mount Vesuvius! Add in the fact that I’d just watched an episode of the Miss Fisher Mysteries where its eponymous plucky heroine nearly died thanks to being locked up in a steam room, and I decided I was happier standing up and simultaneously showering myself to prevent boredom, over-heating and potential murderous assassins. Those of you with less active imaginations will probably enjoy it far more than me!
That being said, I couldn’t deny the crazy soft skin I emerged with post-steam. The exfoliation had also had an unexpected benefit of quelling a nasty bit of eczema on my neck – by essentially scrubbing off all the dry flakes of skin that I’d been itching away at over the past week, it was in smoother better nick than it had been in months!
Then it was onto not nearly long enough of a massage session with Yamu… no massage is ever long enough, right? Yamu got my medium pressure intensity just right and I drifted off almost immediately, which can only mean very good things!
My skin has given up trying to understand Hong Kong’s recent weather mood swings, so I was recommended the Visible Brilliance Facial to cure my complexion woes. Again using Elemis products, this treatment is designed to revive dull skin and restore radiance – and thanks to the cold-humid-what-the-hell conditions of late, my grey sallow skin was definitely lacking a bit of get-up-and-glow.
The facial is pretty standard in its steps – there’s cleansing, toning, exfoliating, masks, moisturising, the whole shebang – but it was all done most excellently using incredibly relaxing moisturising strokes. I was especially impressed with my extraction session, which was very thorough (I got the sense my therapist was aiming to clear all my blackheads rather than just whatever she could fit into the allotted time) and was somehow not nearly as painful as usual but still very effective. And of course, once we got to the head and shoulder massage section, I was out like a light!
The results were pretty fantastic. My skin was visibly clearer, plumper and firmer, whilst my blackheads and clogged pores had waved white flags and gone into retreat mode. It was totally the re-balancing rejuvenating treat my complexion – which had gone without a facial for a long while – had been in need of, and that fresh bright feeling lasted well into the rest of the week.
Apart from the signature steam treatments that aren’t available elsewhere, Sense Of Touch Sai Ying Pun also has a couple of other great things going for it. Most of their treatments are currently a little bit cheaper than at their other locations, whilst you can get an extra 20% off massages, facials, nails and waxing if you go on Monday-Wednesday. Now if that isn’t a reason to head West for your next spa session, I don’t know what is! Even hipsters need some pampering every now and again, right?
Good Morning Vietnam costs $1180 for 105 minutes. Visible Brilliance Facial costs $1280 for 75 minutes.
G/F, 8 The First Street, Sai Ying Pun, Western District, Hong Kong, +852 2806 8959
Note: these trials were by invitation