By Archana Heenpella
Photos Indika Handuwala
For those in search of opulent and luxurious RnR, CHI, The Spa at the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo comes close to providing transcendental service.
CHI flexes its superiority by specialising in treatments that incorporate premium skincare and therapeutic products. These blend natural herbs, plants, and botanical extracts, staying true to its Asian heritage.
It was also interesting to discover that the massages are based on traditional healing methods that are prized in many continental cultures, including Chinese energy flows, Thai pressure points, and Balinese strokes.
Hosting seven private rooms, much to the benefit of its high-end clientele, CHI exudes plush comfort that is central to modern, high-end spas. Upon immediate entry to the premises, guests are welcomed with a cleansing, rose-flavoured cooler before being ushered into a dimly-lit waiting area, with each seat given a private nook. While tranquil music filters through the room, guests are set at ease with the palpable tranquillity of the spa.
The staff are nothing but professional and are trained to be completely attuned to guests’ needs. You can guarantee that they will anticipate whatever you require and are nothing but polite and helpful.
The private room I was taken to was carefully designed, exuded comfort, and barely veiled luxury. The rooms feature an attached bathroom, a plush sofa, and enough of actual walking space so that guests don’t feel cloistered.
CHI, The Spa specialises in two signature treatments – the Asian Blend Massage and the Aromatherapy Facial – although these aren’t the only treatments they offer. Opting for the facial, I expected to receive an indulgent and aromatic treatment. What I was actually treated to, however, was so much more than that.
After being settled between the silky, heated blankets, I was forced to relax as my skilled masseuse, Irosha, positioned me into a more relaxing position and performed Chinese energy flows, in practised strokes, across my arms and feet. This is meant to relax guests and prepare them for 60 minutes of facial cleansing, toning, and rejuvenating.
First, all of my makeup was removed using a gentle tropical-scented cleanser. From the get-go, the aromas I was sniffing out were relaxing enough to bring me close to sleep several times. I was also treated to a toner, which, as explained to me, was meant to get rid of any impurities on my face.
A scrub which gave off a rich chocolate aroma was also applied, cooling my warm skin and soothing my face. In the one, glorious hour I was being pampered, it was quite evident that the facial had been designed with the ultimate intuition. Alternating cool and warm ointments were applied at equal intervals, which meant that whenever I felt like my face needed some cooling or warmth, that was exactly what I got – magic!
A quick steaming and blemish extraction is also slotted in for those who opt for the Aromatherapy Facial. This was done expertly with minimal pain and discomfort, leaving my face primed for the effect of the face-care products being expertly applied.
My lips and eyes were also brushed with a cooling gel, refreshing my senses and leaving me gloriously relaxed.
A thick seaweed mask was then slathered on my face for 15 minutes, smelling as earthy and organic as one can imagine. This stage of the facial is meant to prevent the formation of any blemishes and, as I can personally attest, leaves your face feeling supple and smooth.
Many zesty and citrus-scented Kerstin Florian serums, moisturising creams, and masks later, I was presented with an unexpected surprise.
Completing a full circle of wellness and therapy, I was given brief massages on my hands, feet, and head. A final bit of moisturising cream was added onto my skin as my facial wrapped up, leaving it soft and dewy for many hours after!
I can confidently attest that time passes way too fast for anyone who enjoys this treatment. Given the pleasant array of scents and sensations, the Aromatherapy Facial is a sensory adventure and overload, in the best possible way.
While it didn’t come as a surprise, my experience left my skin feeling fresh, soft, and even-toned. The service was exceptional and the comfort and luxurious treatment I enjoyed simply proved that CHI, The Spa is the one to beat. Located on the fourth floor of the opulent Shangri-La Hotel, guests are rendered mindless with bliss the minute they’re ushered into this other-world of wellness.
There is, however, one caveat.
With my facial clocking in at Rs. 17,500, CHI, The Spa might not necessarily be the most affordable option out there. That being said, you will find it difficult to find a comparable experience almost anywhere; CHI certainly doesn’t fail to deliver what it sets out to do.