Say the word Monaco and what do you think of? Glitz, glamour, Princess Grace and celeb tax haven are probably the things that spring to mind… world-class facial treatments, not so much. But forget about Lewis Hamilton’s tax-dodging antics for a minute – because The Peninsula Hong Kong’s latest range of Margy’s Monte Carlo spa treatments is set to re-define all your current Monaco word associations.
Unlike every other famous Monegasque (and yes, I totally had to look up what to call someone from Monaco), Margie Lombard is not a member of the principality’s royal family but a renowned beauty expert who has treated some of the world’s most famous women, including Claudia Schiffer, Princess Charlene and errr… Shirley Bassey. Many clients have even been known to fly to Monaco especially for her treatments, but now those in Asia have a much more convenient destination to head to instead – The Peninsula Spa, where Lombard’s signature facials are now exclusively available in Hong Kong.
Without getting too bogged down in science, Lombard has made it her business to understand skin and the main reasons it degrades over time – so she can create products and treatments that specifically target these exact causes. There are four Lombard facials available at The Peninsula Spa but the mother of them all is The Ultimate Aesthetic Facial Treatment by Margy’s, which uses ultrasonic waves and controlled warmth to stimulate the growth of new collagen, contour the skin and reduce wrinkles. Combined with her line of highly effective, Swiss-made skincare products (Lombard’s range was one of the first to utilise collagen and hyaluronic acid), and you have all the ingredients for stunning skin.
Nevertheless I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to beauty treatments, so the sight of a beeping light-emitted piece of machinery for my Margy’s facial was enough to have me quivering in my fluffy Peninsula Spa bathrobe – even more so when my rather brusque therapist told me the aim was to heat up my face to an optimum of 40°C. Don’t I practically melt in Hong Kong’s 30°C+ temperatures? Didn’t I wimp out of the last super-hot spa steam room I attempted after all of two minutes? Did this therefore seem a wise thing to subject my skin to?
Before I had time to run off, my therapist was liberally applying a cooling gunk (that’s the scientific term, I believe) on my face, before then massaging the machine over my face to administer ultrasonic waves and controlled heat to the deeper tissues of my skin. Now I’m not going to lie and breezily claim that I barely noticed a thing; things do start getting steamy and not in an entirely comfortable way. However, as soon as the heat begins to feel too intense (my therapist explained this as being 9 or 10 on your “I’m too hot, get this thing off me” scale), just shout and your therapist will stop. This is likely to be at varying levels for all the different parts of your face; whilst the least sensitive areas of my complexion reached the optimum 40°C with me barely breaking into a sweat, other areas I pulled the plug in the region of the high 30s – which my therapist assured me was almost as good.
The other more unique aspect of the facial was my therapist’s technique for applying product and massaging your face – imagine the Spirit Fingers from Bring It On and you’re almost there. Using a light but effective pressure, her fingers did an upwards stroke-like dance over my features that not only felt super relaxing but also worked some kind of magic in terms of toning and de-puffing my face too. There’s also the application of a collagen mask, which I’m sure did great things for the texture, hydration levels and elasticity of my complexion, but did even greater things for my fondness of a jolly good head massage during my facials!
Time in spas always seems to run at double-speed, even when your skin is being roasted, and sure enough my 100 minutes of Margy magic was over all too soon – although as ever at The Peninsula Spa, you can put off the inevitable by hanging out in their gorgeous Relaxation Room.
Whilst the use of equipment in facials that looks like it would be more at home on the Starship Enterprise is certainly nothing new to me, I have to say, Margy’s Ultimate Aesthetic Facial Treatment is probably the first one where I have really noticed a vastly more obvious difference compared to the results yielded by good products and skilled therapists alone. My skin was noticeably plumper, smoother and brighter, my jawline leaner and more defined looking, and all signs of puffiness had been emphatically shooed away. With the help of a few Margy’s Monty Carlo skincare samples I was sent home with, these wow-worthy effects lasted for around a month (see post-spa selfie below with #nofilter, #nomakeup and my dog desperately trying to lick away all that Margy’s goodness).
Of course, with all these pros, there has to be a con – and it’s a big one. The Peninsula Spa’s Ultimate Aesthetic Facial Treatment by Margy’s costs a whopping HK$6,800 for 100 minutes, which is quite frankly crazy money. But when my therapist told me that a lot of her clients were opting for this non-invasive, wonderfully relaxing and richly luxurious treatment instead of Botox, it started to make sense. Compared to actual cosmetic surgery, this is small change, but with quick and significant results.
Having never had Botox or any other kind of surgical intervention, I can’t tell you how comparable Margy’s Ultimate Aesthetic Facial Treatment is to these things – but to an eye bred on eerily perfect celebrity faces in magazines and models on billboards, I do think the results were astonishingly impressive and very reminiscent of that coveted Hollywood glow. And hey, it’s still cheaper than a trip to Monte Carlo, right?
The Ultimate Aesthetic Facial Treatment by Margy’s costs $6,800 for 100 minutes
The Peninsula Spa, 7/F, The Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2696 6682
Note: this treatment was by invitation