During a recent stay at the Shangri-la Sydney, I was invited to a CHI treatment, a luxurious private spa experience based on authentic Asian natural healing treatments.
CHI massages and treatments have their basis set in the Chinese theory of the Five Elements (metal, water, wood, fire and earth) to harmonise the body’s energy. The Spa at Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney is the only one in Australia and also features treatments highlighting Australian native ingredients.
Private welcome area
In dimmed surrounds with dark timber and lattice-like panels, I am taken into a private welcome area where I sip Jasmine tea, complete a form and discuss allergies and health issues.
Jasmine tea in waiting room
Today I am being treated to a Lemon Myrtle and Eucalyptus Polish, a 50 minute long treatment which forms part of the Sense of Place, designed to acquaint weary travellers with their surrounds.
I am taken inside Jampa, my private treatment room; the name means loving, kindness and compassion. My therapist shows me around the luxurious space with an entry hall, separate bathroom and shower and explains that discretion is key to the experience. There is a private closet where a bath robe hangs, a jewellery box in which to secure my items. She gives me disposable underwear and leaves the room. I am told to get changed and when ready, I sit in the treatment room on the chair and ring a bell. It is only then that she returns to the room.
Waiting chair with bell
I change into my wrap, take a seat and ring the bell as I was told. She enters the room, and sits at my feet, pouring a fragrant warm liquid over the lower half of my legs, then dries them off. She leads me to the massage bed where I am to disrobe and lie face down. As I do, she holds a towel upright as a barrier between us to ensure discretion.
I lie in on stomach and she begins working the Lemon and Myrtle and Eucalyptus scrub from my feet upwards, using a combination of massage techniques including lymphatic drainage. The dark curtain is partly drawn, allowing a glimpse of light to seep through. The oriental music soothes my spirit and she begins working on my calf muscles. The fragrant scent of the lemon myrtle and eucalyptus perfumes the room. I feel the tension dissipate from my being.
I lose sense of time until I am asked to turn over. She holds up a large towel ensuring total privacy and she repeats the treatment on my front from my feet up. A small towel makes its way over my upper chest area and collar bone and the main towel is slipped below my navel as she massages my abdomen in slow rotational movements. This is bliss.
The towel covering me is folded around me like an origami as I lay still horizontal. I am asked to sit up and when I do, she clips it together with her hand and leads me to the shower. Again, I have total privacy. I shower and rinse off the scrub, change into another disposable underwear and slip back onto the massage table. What follows is a luxurious full body massage, easing away any remaining tension. The perfumed body butter she uses feels like silk on my soft skin.
I am aware of the time and don’t want to the treatment to end. Then I feel weight on top of my ankles, it is the bath robe. She lifts off the face towel and I am a new person. Relaxed, calm, refreshed, I sense an inner glow.
CHI, the Spa Suite for couples
There are several CHI massages and treatments, all unique to the Shangri-la. From Wellness Massages, Body Therapies, Sense of Place, Facials to CHI Journey, the experience is designed to bring a lasting sense of well-being.
The CHI Spa offers six private treatment rooms, two of which cater for couples where they can enjoy a CHI experience together. And that is something I will save for next time.
More in the Shangri-la Sydney series:
Shangri-La Hotel Sydney
176 Cumberland St
The Rocks Sydney Australia
T: (61 2) 9250 6000 F: (61 2) 9250 6250
* Image courtesy of the Shangri-la used with permission
Gourmantic were invited guests of the Shangri-la Sydney and experienced the CHI treatment as a guest of the hotel. All observations and opinions are my own.
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