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More than Just a Facial


Fancy a body scrub with crushed pearls? Here, unusual treatments at some of Asia’s premier hotel spas

Published on Sep 8, 2010

The Maldives were once the source of money cowries, small polished shells that served as a form of currency in many parts of the world. Today, they’re the source of inspiration for the Kandu Boli Experience, offered at Shangri-La Villingili Resort’s CHI spa. The four-hour treatment begins with an exfoliating body polish with crushed mother-of-pearl. After a relaxing soak, guests are treated to a massage incorporating smooth tiger cowrie shells, which are placed at pressure points and over the ears to provide a soothing soundtrack of the sea.

Kandu Boli Experience US$480
Villingili Island, Maldives; +960 689 7888;


Jade has a special place in Chinese culture; it symbolizes beauty, wisdom and immortality. The lustrous green stone is also believed to have healing qualities, especially for the kidneys, which, in Chinese medicine, play a central role in health. At the St. Regis Singapore’s Remède Spa, guests can sign up for a 90-minute massage that uses warmed jade stones as well as an oil infused with cedarwood, rosewood and vetiver to help rejuvenate tired limbs and rebalance qi. The treatment ends with a gentle facial massage with cooled jade stones.

Warm Jade Stone Massage S$280
29 Tanglin Road, Singapore; +65 6506 6888;

Four Seasons Shanghai’s new 760-square-meter spa, Qin, offers four seasonal “rites” that involve ingredients long-favored by the Chinese (plum blossom, ginseng and sandalwood). The 2½-hour Green Dragon Spring Rite starts with a tea-blossom footbath followed by an invigorating foot massage with warmed bamboo sticks. Next up are a body scrub with dandelion and rhubarb and a body wrap made of peach blossoms and tangerine that leave your skin feeling smooth and cleansed. Guests are then massaged with an oil infused with gold, believed to help absorb pollutants and leave a healthy glow.

Green Dragon Spring Rite RMB1,700; RMB2,800 for couples
500 Weihai Lu, Shanghai, China; +86 21 6256 8888;

True to its belief that you should be able to eat whatever you put on your skin, the four-hour signature treatment at Six Senses’ eco-luxe property off the coast of Phuket reads like a menu at a Thai restaurant. Guests start with an herbal foot soak, followed by a papaya body scrub. Tense muscles are then kneaded with a fragrant compress containing lemongrass, galangal, tamarind leaves, camphor, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon, and then your visage is buffed with products made with milk, cucumber, honey, coconut, carrot, banana, yoghurt and oats.

Signature Yao Noi Ritual Bt9,000
56 Moo 5, Tambol Koh Yao Noi, Amphur Koh Yao, Thailand; +66 76 418 500;


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