I had two wonderful experiences this week:
Darling beauty editor is pregnant which means many treatments are out of bounds for her. Which means that yours truly will be at the recieving of hopefully many more offers to review.
For starters, up for grabs was a massage treatment at a five star hotel in Central. This one promises to energise your chakras. The timing was good because:
a) V was away and it gives me something to do
b) I had been very very stressed out so physically needed a massage.
I ended up booking the treatment for a weekday and this meant that I ended up arriving just in time. But from the moment I entered the hotel itself, everyone was unfailingly polite. Yes, one would expect this at a five star hotel but it’s Hong Kong where the arrival of brown skin often causes smiles to falter just a little. This did not happen.
I was greeted with perfect graciousness at the sap and led to their locker room and shower area where it appears that women were changing after a routine gym session. Who goes to the gym in a five star hotel, I wonder?
Pondering this thought I am led to a relaxation area where I wait for a few mintues till my ‘therapist’ arrives. It is dimly lit with comfortable looking rows of beds and I wonder for a moment if the massage is to take place here possibly with other people around. There are magazines and options of rejuvenating tea or water flavoured mildly with orange (I know some people hate this but I love mild flavouring or citrus, it makes me feel healthy).
A few minutes later, the therapist arrives and leads me through a labyrinth of dimly lit corridors to the therapy room where she sits me down and brings me a tray with four crystal bracelets. I have four choices to put on and hopfully reap the benefits:
a) Wisdom and peace (purple crystal)
b) Romance and love (light pink crystal)
c) Cleansing and removal of negative energy (white crystal)
d) Fertility and balancing yin and yang (moonstone)
I know it’s silly and probably just a gimmick but I found myself pondering my priorities. I easily discounted love and romance (which seems to be going ok despite having screamed down the phone at V that morning) and fertility (no brats yet please) and narrowed down on removal of negative energy (which I seem to abound in) and wisdom and peace. I finally chose the latter because:
a) If I attained peace I assume that covered negative energy removal
b) The purple bracelet was prettier (to be honest that was the clincher but peace is good too)
Then, the therapist explained the focus areas of the massage and we got on with it. I’m not going to write too much about it because I still have to write my review but it was blissful. The room was entirely comfortable and just the right temperature. The therapist was clear and could speak English and anyway, used exactly the right amount of pressure, not gnawing at my stressed out shoulders as is the want of many masseurs who go at my knotted muscles with the best of intensions but very little success. I liked the way she held out the towel so there was no awkwarness when turning over.
After the massage, I had the option of using the hotels steam and water facilities. These include three steamed rooms decorated in different cololured mosaic tiles with crystals as their central piece, creating a bewelled atmosphere. There is also a vitality pool which I gave a miss because I couldn’t be bothered to put on a swim suit. Using the steam was a girl who later just hung around texting someone. Again, I wondered at people for whom this is routine.
I ended the evening with an awesome shower. I never fully appreciate people who go into ecstacies about showers until I step into a real good one. Which this one was. It had the Rainforest shower on the top and jet showers on the side as well as amazing products.
In the makeup area, they provided the basics as well as cleanser, toner, lotion and deodorant which no self-respecting client of the establishment would use but which would come in handy if you’d forgotten something. I mused over more girls who walked in obviously after excercising and to whom this was routine enough to bring their own shower gel.
The main thing, though, was when I walked out I felt a surprising sense of calm. I had had one of the more stressful days of the month. And my problems weren’t over when I left the spa but I was able to forget them. I don’t know if it was the massage that had really energised my chakras or the the crystal that worked. Or just being in the middle of the city but yet away from it. I’ve had spa treatments before but I’ve never come away so calm.
It’s been a few days and I have managed to cling on to that feeling. Every time I feel my blood pressure rising or my muscles tensing (which they are right now inexplicably) I hark back to the peace I experienced in that zone and I relax.
I have not yet taken off the crystal bracelet.
Went for lunch yesterday with a perfectly beautiful person to a perfectly wonderful place.
I met Cris through Hot Korean Friend and my first impression was that she is an awesome person. You know how some people just strike you as being evanescent and their genuineness shines through their skin (it helps if they great skin, of course, or maybe the people they are makes them glow. But how come they’re pimple free too? Are pimples the sign of inner angst? Possibly, given the hormones and everything).
Anyway, Cris called me out of the blue a few days ago to set up lunch and I joyfully agreed. It helped that Cris is Korean and runs an art gallery and I am going to be doing a story on that very subject and needed to bounce off ideas. But in case you accuse me of being a story-whore (which I sadly am), I would have had lunch with Cris anyway. It just helps if you have a good reason for taking a long lunch hour.
Cris suggested The Pawn, a place I’ve been dying to go to. The restaurant is an old building that was restored after much wrangling and is a demonstration of what can be done with structures in Hong Kong even if they are not typcially ‘heritage’.
To get to the restaurant you walk up a narrow staircase – they retained the old stairs but added a brass edging- and emerge in the cosy ‘living room’ where the bar is set up behind the erstwhile pawn counter. Apart from lots of aging wood, leather and burnished tones, there’s a worn-looking foozeball table. Some of the walls are covered with worn wooden planks with the paint scraping off and pieces of metal. You can take a lift to the upper floor and in the little corner where you wait for the lift, there are seats that fold up at which you can watch the busy old district below (most of which the dreaded Urban Renewal Authority is renewing aka selling to developers to build yuppie towers on).
Upstairs, the dining area is tastefully laid out in an old world style though the art on the walls is Tsang Kin-wah’s polite patterns which on closer examination are revealed to be composed of rather shocking words. Fortunately for stiff upper lip diners, the decorater took care to commisison art work with tempered foul language.
The staff at The Pawn clad in checked trousers and white shirts is friendly and the menu interesting. It’s not unaffordable (HK$350 for three courses without wine) and the wine list is impressive (and expensive if you go for the Lafite). I had a goats cheese, beet and pomegranate salad which was good and erm healthy and a risotto which was excellent. I have had a lot of bad risottos in my life and this one comes second (best) only to the pumkin and shrimp risotto in Hong Kong University’s Medical Faculty restaurant. For desert rasberry shortcake with cream and syruppy fruit on the side. It’s a small menu but the food is really good unlike many expensive restaurants I’ve tried.
Best of all we had great conversation. This is one person I hope to see again. And I owe her a really big lunch.