Tag Archives: spa treatment

Bliss Spa, W Hotel Hong Kong: Fabulous Facial treatment review

As you all know by now, I love Bliss – the products, the spa, the brownies. And at the risk of boring you, I’ve found yet another thing to love about Bliss – their Fabulous Facial.

I was lucky enough to receive a gift-card to the tune of one free Fabulous Facial, thanks to the good folk at Flare Communications (did I forget? I love them too!). It’s a new treatment at Hong Kong’s Bliss Spa (set to replace their Best Of Skintentions facial) so there weren’t many details available about the procedure – but even when you’re heading all the way to Kowloon for a facial you know nothing about, the thought of the Bliss brownie buffet at the other side is enough to make it worthwhile!

The Fabulous Facial is intended as more of a maintenance facial than some of Bliss Spa’s more luxurious ‘special occasion’ type treatments. Your technician will take a close look at your skin, focus on your problem areas amongst the general basic facial routine and chuck some massage action in the mix too. The products used are from Bliss’ ‘Fabulous’ range, including their best-selling Fabulous Foaming Face Wash cleanser and exfoliator, Fabulous Face Lotion (with SPF 15) and the lightweight Fabulous Every Day Eye Cream; if you want, you can also opt for some more targeted add-ons, like eye treatments or masks.I had a lovely bubbly Bliss technician called Annie (much preferable to the po-faced whispering sorts you get at some joints) and as expected, my strawberry nose was deemed the focus of the session (strawberry like because it’s studded with big blackheads like a strawberry is studded with black seeds). This meant most of my hour was spent on… dun dun DUN… extraction.

If extraction ain’t hurting, it’s probably not being done right. I had to start doing breathing exercises (God knows how I’m ever going to get through labour!) to cope with the pain! I liked that my pores were opened up with hot towels, as opposed to the steam machines that make me feel like I can’t breathe, in addition to the searing pain of the extraction in the first place, and Annie was sympathetic to my plight but battled on – even finding blackheads behind my ears! [Gross.]

The rest of the facial was fairly standard – cleansing, toning, moisturising, a cooling eye mask – but all done with Bliss’ signature products, which means they smell gorgeous, work gently but effectively and are more than a few cuts above your average. What some may feel the treatment is missing is a really intense, deeply moisturising face mask (often left on during a massage or, in the case of my local, whilst the beautician goes off to watch TVB soaps in a room next-door). Whilst I did miss the sensation of a thick cream sitting on my face, I actually didn’t notice much difference in results come the end of the Fabulous Facial so perhaps these heavy-duty masks are overrated in the first place!

And the massage more than makes up for it! Most of the time, you’ll get a perfunctory rub of the head, neck and shoulders, but the Fabulous Facial goes above and beyond the call of duty. You get the usual head, neck and shoulders stuff – and very nice it is too – plus the back, arms, hands, legs and feet. And it’s all done with the skill of a masseuse as opposed to a beautician who’s given her boyfriend a few back rubs. Annie was really brilliant here – she had a light soothing touch, applied just the right amount of pressure and my arms, hands, legs and feet in particular felt really light and limber by the end. Even when she was applying products, it felt like she was massaging my face and it was amazing how fabulous I felt all-over after just a facial!

I also really have to mention the spa experience itself. I’m not going to bang on about why I love the whole concept of Bliss Spa itself (see here if you want that essay) but I loved the room I was in. As opposed to a dim, dark air-conned to the hilt space with Enya-esque plinky-plonks dripping in the background, I was in a light airy room with an amazing view of the harbour (not that I got to see much of it) and bright sunlight streaming through the window, with proper songs happening in the background instead – Nina Simone, Dean Martin and various acoustic singer-songwriter types are much preferable to panpipes and wind-chimes in my book! Getting to bask in that just-right heat was so absolutely relaxing and wonderful – better than the beach I reckon, with no worry of sunburn (and sand in your pants) to prey on your mind either!

As ever, I finished things up with the brownie buffet – a few may even have found their way into my pocket for the journey back (and lasted as far as the dressing room, nom) – and, as ever, I was sad to leave.

The immediate effects from the Fabulous Facial were, to be honest, fine rather than fabulous. My skin did look brighter but post-extraction, my throbbing nose was obviously giving Rudolph’s a run for his money. You’re recommended not to wash your face for at least five hours afterwards or apply other make-up and products; I followed this advice and I’m glad I did so, because the next day, the results were truly fabulous! When I emerged after only four hours sleep the next morning, I was honestly taken aback. My complexion was noticeably smoother, softer, brighter and glowing. Niggly blemishes had practically disappeared, my nose had calmed down and my blackheads had abated, even my trademark under-eye bags were lighter and less pronounced – effects that were still noticeable up to a week afterwards. It was basically as if someone had pressed a refresh button on my face.

So yes, the Fabulous Facial lives up to its name and yes, it lives up to everything I love about Bliss Spa too. Long may life continue to be Bliss-ful!

Read my review of Bliss Spa’s Blissage75 and Triple Oxygen Facial treatments

Bliss Spa’s Fabulous Facial costs $870 for 60 mins

Bliss Spa, W Hotel, 1 Austin Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 3717 2797

www.w-hongkong.com/en/bliss-spa

Sense Of Touch, LKF: The Sweetest Hangover spa treatment review

As you may have worked out from this blog by now, I’m rather partial to a good spa treatment (hi Bliss Spa and Elemis!). Sense Of Touch is a spa that has a lot of buzz and positive word-of-mouth in Hong Kong (plus the multiple awards to prove it!) – and now I’m going to join the ever-mounting chorus of praises!

Thanks to Sense Of Touch, Sassy Hong Kong and the lovely Vivien, I was invited to try their newest spa treatment – The Sweetest Hangover (the fact that this branch is in Lan Kwai Fong, THE nightlife spot in HK, should mean that name makes a little more sense!). It’s a 2- hour intensive treatment comprising of an organic seaweed bath, a sugar cane scrub and a full-body massage using a combination of essential oils – and it’s amazing!

The seaweed bath actually has real pieces of Irish hand-harvested seaweed floating around in it, which made me feel like a cross between something from a wildlife documentary and an alien from Doctor Who! But sans tub in my apartment, it was just exciting to be getting to have a bath in the first place!

Overall, it was a blissful experience – detoxifying, invigorating, refreshing and relaxing. By the end, my skin just felt out of this world (and in a good way, rather than a Doctor Who alien way). You can read a full review of The Sweetest Hangover, Sense Of Touch and all the beneficial best bits of the treatment at Sassy Hong Kong here – but this is just a quick garble to say, if you get the chance to try Sense Of Touch, GO GO GO!

The Sweetest Hangover is currently on promotion until 15th September for $1290 for 2 hours and normally costs $1590.

Sense Of Touch Lan Kwai Fong, 1-5F, 52 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central, 2526 6918

Elemis Day Spa, Central: Modern Skin Facial treatment review

UPDATE: Elemis Day Spa is now closed 😦

Following on from my first Elemis experience courtesy of their magical melting cleansing gel, I was lucky enough to be treated to one of their signature facials at the Elemis Day Spa in Central – and it was every bit as lovely as I’d hoped.

I was pleasantly surprised at how peaceful and relaxed the spa felt, even though it’s located in one of those anonymous commercial buildings right in the heart of bustling Central (the more hardcore among you could even pop to Lan Kwai Fong for drinks after, it’s that close). It’s luxuriously laid-out and spacious, the soft spa music soothing without being irritating and it felt so tranquil and ‘other’ that it was hard to believe the heat and hustle of HK was going on just a few floors below. Being in Central makes it extra convenient as well – it’s so easy to get to and perfect for slotting into and around your daily routine, especially if you’re working (or shopping!) nearby.

After a brief chat with my beauty therapist (and after the poor girl endured a detailed inspection of my face), she decided the Modern Skin Facial would be the best treatment for me, with a few modifications for my skin. It’s especially suited for young skin (relieved I still fit in that category), and by rebalancing sebum levels, regenerating skin cells and raising mineral levels, helps repair and replenish stressed-out smog-exposed complexions, a feeling most HKers can probably identify with! Given that my blackheads are visible from the moon, she also performed a thorough and relatively pain-free extraction session and my pores have never looked clearer or better.

The facial lasts around an hour of cleansing, toning, massaging and moisturising, though thanks to the extraction, mine took about ninety minutes – and even then, it just doesn’t feel long enough! I didn’t want to leave! Throughout your session, you’ll be treated to plenty of Elemis’ wonderful products – cleaners, toners, serums and creams galore – but in all honesty, it passes by in a blur of bliss. All of the products felt so soft, smooth and soothing and my therapist had the lightest and most calming of touches.

Be prepared for an amazing array of scents too; I felt I’d drifted off into the aroma equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. They were too many lovely ones to count, but they were all heavenly and invigorating without being overpowering.

I particularly enjoyed the Papaya Enzyme Peel (one of Elemis’ best sellers). Unlike so many exfoliators, it didn’t feel harsh or grainy; instead, it was more of a gentle wash, with an uplifting fresh citrus scent to boot.

The other highlight was the Mineral Rich Peel-Off Mask… or rather, the wonderful dry-scalp massage you get during it. Head massages normally set my teeth on edge but this was brilliant and weeks’ worth of headaches just melted away. While you’re enjoying that, the mask works deep in the skin to boost mineral levels (it contains zinc, copper, magnesium and Swiss Garden cress), combining with an earlier product, the Visible Brilliance serum, to deeply moisturise and clear your complexion. There’s also a lovely neck and shoulder massage later on too.

Overall, it’s a relatively straightforward facial – there are no fancy tricks or bizarre high-tech utensils – but for that reason, it’s basically the ultimate in straightforward facials, although at $1280  it may feel a little pricey (it’s worth checking out the many coupon websites in HK for some good discounts; I was lucky enough to be receiving a complimentary treatment). However, the products used are of the highest quality (acting as a good introduction to Elemis’ range of skincare) and the expertise and training of my therapist shone through in her confident and assured touch. I love that she didn’t provide a running commentary of the items she was using or give me the hard sell for any of them (a pitfall in many local salons). She also gave me some great tips about my beauty routine, for instance that I need to exfoliate closer to my lip area as I’m missing out some parts due to my eagerness not to eat products!

This is also one of those facials that leaves you looking great instantly. Unlike many that leave you looking a little oily, blotchy or with a breakout set to burst, I emerged from Elemis with glowing plump skin and a brighter more even complexion. A few days on my skin still looks remarkably radiant and with a definite noticable decrease in redness.

I finished things off with a final trip to the Zen Room, where there’s a small but perfectly formed buffet – and yes ladies, there are brownies! [Very tasty ones too]. But what’s even better than the brownies (and that’s a phrase I thought I’d never utter) is Elemis’ signature health drink, found in a teapot that should be labelled ‘Drink Me’! It’s a deeply soothing mixture of honey, ginger and lemon that’s absolutely greater than the sum of its parts; I often do a homemade version of this at home when I’m run-down and I can promise you, I’ve never managed to make it taste this good! Warming and sweet with a bracing little kick of ginger at the end – the perfect ending to a wonderful day.

I’d highly recommend the Elemis Day Spa for its convenience, its super-chilled atmosphere and most importantly, the quality of its treatments. Many thanks to Sarah at Communique for organising my day and all the lovely Elemis staff who made me feel so welcome. My skin is most grateful!

Elemis Day Spa, 9/F, Century Square, 1 D’Aguilar Street, Central, 2521 6660, http://www.elemisdayspa.com.hk

Blissage75 & Triple Oxygen Treatment @ Bliss Spa Hong Kong review

bliss spa w hong kong

Following on from my Bliss-full night, the time is ripe to tell you more about my personal experience with Bliss. Lucky me, I am the owner of one very lovely boyfriend who took me to stay at The W for my birthday. Of course, this was just an excuse to work in a chance to have treatments at Bliss Spa. If it’s good enough for Oprah, it’s good enough for me. BEST PRESENT EVER. And hands off ladies, you can’t have him! Here’s a review of the two treatments I received, the Blissage75 massage and the Triple Oxygen Facial.

Blissage75 ($1110)

Leaflet states: ‘A virtual countdown to butter’. For once, a leaflet that doesn’t lie. You just feel like your body is melting. The 75 stands for how many minutes this all-over body massage lasts and let me tell you, it’s not nearly long enough. It begins with this slightly weird but ultimately wonderful warm wax foot wrap where your feet are smothered with hot wax before being shoved in what feels like clingfilm. Odd on paper but truly amazing to experience – your feet just feel like they’re melting into a soft warm happy goo. Loved it. The rest of the massage was pretty good too and never made me feel uncomfortable; although the Blissage75 is perhaps a little short of the unique touches that make other treatments unmistakably Bliss, my body never felt better. No rest for the wicked though…

Triple Oxygen Treatment ($1250)

This facial was an ummm… interesting experience but the results are worth it. 85 minutes long and a great complexion-reviver for all skin types, your face will really go through the works – intensive cleansing, exfoliation, wraps, extractions, masks. Amidst all this, the therapist said, ‘I’m now going to rub some acid on your face’. This was as fun as it sounds. Prickly, tickly, itchy, I had to keep repeating to myself ‘Beauty is pain’ to stop myself from scratching my skin off/bursting into giggles as it felt like my epidermis was fizzing (and no, that isn’t a euphemism!). The drier your skin is, the more intense the sensation so I had particular problems around my lip area, which tingled for most of the rest of the session. At the end, you’ll get blast of oxygen spray which feels like you’re in a wind tunnel, albeit an invigorating healthy one (photo shows woman receiving this part at the Bliss Evening).

The results are instantly obvious, even though you’ve got that shiny pink post-facial thing going on – my skin positively glowed and was so much clearer and radiant. And this is no flash-in-the-pan facial – I felt the results were still visible months on. Plus, with their Triple Oxygen products (face mask, eye mask and moisturiser – click the words to read my reviews), you can replicate the rosy radiance effects at home – the energising face mask is my favourite and without doubt, one of my make-up miracles! And Bliss have now introduced a condensed, 30-minute version of this treatment that you can get at their counters too ($630).

My therapist then asked me if I wanted to head back to my room or return to the Brownie Buffet – stupid question alert! I then proceeded to undo all her good work by stuffing my face with brownie goodness. Never mind…

I know this might look a little pricey but I can honestly say, you get what you pay for. I’ve had massages and facials before but this was a luxury experience through and through; as I’ve mentioned before in my Bliss write-up, it’s all about the attention to detail and the little touches that make you feel special. So the fluffy bathrobe, the amazing views of HK, the décor, the lovely staff, the rubber duckies and of course, the brownies, make it worth it. Even better if like me, you can find someone who loves you enough to stump up for it. And I’m reliably informed by those in the know that these prices are pretty standard for the luxury spa experience.

I never wanted it to end, my whole stay at the W was a totally magical experience (will you think worse of me if I confess to crying when we left?!). Go on, treat yourself and indulge – your body will thank you for it, even if your bank balance won’t!

Read my review of Bliss Spa’s Fabulous Facial

P.S. Look! A duck!

Bliss Spa, W Hotel, 1 Austin Road, West Kowloon Station, 3717 2797

www.w-hongkong.com/en/bliss-spa

[Banner and interior photo from W Hotel Hong Kong’s website]