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Asian Traditions Meet Tomorrow

By: Bryan Durocher
Posted: June 26, 2008, from the July 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
shirodhara treatment

Soothing treatment and talented therapists help the Mandarin Spa at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong provide its guests with a unique, revitalizing spa experience each and every visit.

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After observing the diversity and coexistence of East and West and the ancient and modern characteristics in each city, I was eager for my spa experiences, certain I would find insight for and enhance the work and success of spa owners and service providers in America.

Hospitality, culture and mindfulness

The riverfront Bangkok Marriott Resort & Spa in Thailand, often called a “resort in the city,” is truly a cool, green oasis in the heart of bustling Bangkok. Just minutes from downtown, it offers travelers every imaginable five-star amenity while the classic Thai architecture, lush gardens and cool river breezes provide welcome tranquility.

The resort’s Mandara Spa is one of the many premiere spas run by the Mandara Group in the Pacific Rim area and beyond, and in this location, it’s situated slightly apart from the hotel with a private entrance. The spacious, airy décor features a combination of modern appointments, indigenous materials and decorative accents, and treatment rooms with French doors open into verdant, green gardens.

Guests can opt for traditional Thai massage done outdoors by the swimming pool under the leafy shade of tropical trees, or conversely, in spa suites outfitted with two beds, showers, plunge pools, steam amenities, generous supplies of bottled water and even a restroom that offers complete privacy. The spa menu itself encompasses a comprehensive array of body, facial, massage and beauty therapies, with special emphasis on Thai-style massage and beauty processes. There is a spa cuisine cooking program as well that teaches students how to enjoy the Thai spa lifestyle at home.

I chose to receive the Mandara Spa Coffee Body Scrub, the Thai Herbal Facial and the Deep Tissue Massage in one of the spa suites. The service began with the spa’s signature Floral Foot Ritual, so to commence my treatment, I was seated in a comfortable chair and offered a special blend of tea as the therapist dipped my feet into a beautifully crafted bowl filled with flower-infused, aromatic water.