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Bright Lights, Soothing Cities

By: Bryan Durocher
Posted: June 11, 2008, from the October 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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The spa’s 10 treatment rooms are among the largest in the city, and offer glimpses of the dramatic skyscrapers and sky above. Five of the rooms feature a shower, a bath and a private restroom, and two of them are large enough to accommodate couples treatments. One of this facility’s delights is a hidden relaxation room behind a seamless door in the treatment area, where clients can relax completely in private.

Clients can choose treatments from an extensive a la carte menu of body, facial and hand offerings. Each service is provided in secluded, serene rooms filled with softly lit candles and tropical flowers floating in relaxing hydrotherapy pools. The Mizuki Spirit (240 minutes, $437), a signature spa ritual, begins with a deep soak for two in a traditional Japanese Hinoki cypress tub, a foot massage, the Bamboo and Essence Massage, a facial, and a traditional Japanese tea ceremony with matcha—a powdered green tea.

What a view

Across town, in the financial district of Nihonbashi, The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo is the city’s other major player. Occupying the 36th floor, this hotel takes advantage of breathtaking views. The 179 luxurious guest rooms and suites set a contemporary tone that conveys harmony and serenity while reflecting Japan’s timeless artisanship. The location also is the first time that Mandarin Oriental’s award-winning spa concept has been brought to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Tradition, quality and innovation—the hotel’s core values—are combined with a mission to delight and satisfy every guest. This is evident in the spa’s space, which is situated on the top two floors of the tower. From the facility’s nine luxurious and serene private rooms—including five private suites—guests can take in the views. The couples treatment room features an adjoining relaxation area. The spa decor combines indigenous materials and symbols to create a unique Japanese feeling. The vast space also contains a vitality pool, water lounges, a dry sauna and a crystal steam room.

At the Mandarin Oriental, the client’s experience is emphasized. Guests indulge in personalized journeys created from more than 40 heat and water treatments. The spa clientele consists of 80% hotel guests and 20% local residents, and most are of Japanese descent. Services emphasize Asian tradition and Western modalities. Clients are invited to arrive up to an hour before an appointment to begin their spa escape. This includes being presented with a pair of slippers to signify the departure from the outside world.