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Newly weds Stephen and Lara unwind at a remarkable ‘spa in the sky’ on their stopover in Hong Kong, one of the world’s most frenetic cities. Photo courtesy of globalphotos.com Sydney’s laid-back lifestyle seemed a world away when we touched down on a hot and humid Hong Kong evening....

Heavenly Hong Kong

Newly weds Stephen and Lara unwind at a remarkable ‘spa in the sky’ on their stopover in Hong Kong, one of the world’s most frenetic cities.

Photo courtesy of globalphotos.com

Sydney’s laid-back lifestyle seemed a world away when we touched down on a hot and humid Hong Kong evening. Somewhat overawed by our surroundings, we wandered out of the vast airport and caught a bus into the city.

According to the map downloaded from the hotel website, our destination was Shanghai Street in Mongkok – officially the busiest place in the world – we hadn’t realised how busy. A few wrong turns, some helpful directions from the locals and half an hour later we were finally gazing up at the 42-storey Langham Place Hotel, a splendid sight soaring into the neon lit sky.

Entering via the lower ground floor we took the elevator up to the cool of the main reception area. The lobby was impressively spacious with marble floors, contemporary Chinese artwork and a chandelier the size of a small car. We were greeted swiftly and offered cold towels to refresh our hot hands and faces while our Club Room reservation was checked. An express elevator (with amazing views of the city below) whizzed us up to the 36th floor, in what felt like the blink of an eye.

We were welcomed to the Club Room floor by Vincent Nicot, Club L’s genial manager and offered a much needed sit down and a glass of chilled champagne. Vincent spent ten minutes telling us all about the 665-room five star property, which opened in 2005 and offers numerous guest services and facilities. The hotel is directly connected to the new Langham Place Shopping Mall with 300 shops, 50 restaurants, a cinema complex and an underground station. And with a location in Mongkok in the heart of vibrant Kowloon, a myriad of colourful local markets are right on the doorstep.

Before taking us to our room, Vincent showed us around Club L, an exclusive area for guests staying on the top six accommodation floors. Open 24 hours a day, it has two relaxing lounges and breath taking views of the city. If the panoramic views didn’t keep us enthralled, we had other distractions like iPads to play with, connected to the wireless network; a computer area with a printer and dedicated airline check in; massage chairs; newspapers from around the world and a large tropical fish tank.

There was also a bar and dining area with complimentary 24-hour snacks and beverages including champagne, wine and spirits. A lavish buffet served breakfast and afternoon tea and high quality Western and Asian dishes were available throughout the day. As Club L guests, we also had use of the luxurious roof top swimming pool and fitness centre. Vincent made us feel we were valued guests – we only had to ask if we needed anything to make our stay more comfortable.

Our fantastic room was modern and tastefully furnished, with a vast sumptuous bed and a floor to ceiling window covering almost an entire wall. The room’s array of technological treats included a sophisticated entertainment system, an iPod, wireless broadband and a portable touch screen phone that we could use around the hotel to access news, weather or to send short messages.

The state-of-the-art marble bathroom came with a designer glass sink, separate power shower with rain shower feature and an oversized bathtub. Hidden speakers and an automatic blind in the glass wall between the bedroom and bathroom gave us the option of watching the TV in the bedroom while soaking in the bath!

In Chinese, the word ‘chuan’ means flowing water and the aptly named Chuan Spa was one of the reasons we chose Langham Place as our final honeymoon destination. Straddling the top three floors of the hotel, it is one of the first luxury spas to offer treatments based on the principles and techniques of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The spa also offers over 60 international beauty and health treatments in ten luxuriously appointed treatment rooms. The rooftop fitness centre and 20-metre heated outdoor pool and cabanas are also part of this fabulous ‘spa in the sky.’

Our signature Chuan Harmony treatment was booked for first thing in the morning. After being warmly welcomed to the spa, we were taken to a quiet room and talked through the basics of TCM over a cup of green tea. The philosophy of yin and yang and the five elements dates back to ancient China and represents the belief that the universe is made up of two opposing but mutually dependent forces. The interaction of yin (feminine, negative) and yang (male, positive) creates the need for five special elements to expedite change within the world and keep a balance.

The spa facilitates the unity of yin and yang with treatments designed around the five elements that form TCM’s core: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. After our sensory assessment, it was decided that our treatment should focus on Wood, an element associated with the sense of vision and a preference for the colour green.

We were shown to separate changing rooms to shower and relax. These were simply stunning, the grey stone floors and dark wooden cabinets creating a very relaxed environment. Facilities included onsen-style showers, a steam room and sauna and an amazing 40°C Oriental hot tub, complete with water jets and incredible views over Hong Kong. Soaking in this extraordinary tub was one of the highlights of my whole trip!

Relaxed after our separate bathing rituals, we headed down a candle lit staircase for our treatment, passing a wall of cascading water on the way. Entering the feng-shui inspired spa was like stepping into a fragrant Chinese garden. We felt instantly uplifted by the exquisite water features and streams, bamboo plants and works of art designed to delight the senses.

Our shared treatment room had two beds and was dimly lit with fragrant candles. After being asked to breathe deeply several times, the treatment began and expert hands delivered a therapeutic treatment incorporating acupressure and other relaxing massage techniques. Our knotted muscles were eased and tension hot spots skilfully kneaded away at exactly the right pressure. Lasting a blissful hour, it was the best massage either of us had ever had and left us with a tangible sense of wellbeing.

Following the massage, we were shown to an en suite bathroom for a champagne Jacuzzi. We expected a pleasant soak in a bubbly bath while we sipped a glass of champagne. We could hardly believe our eyes when the attendant poured an entire bottle of champagne into the Jacuzzi! We were left to relax for as long as we wanted, with water and a platter of fresh fruit to enjoy. It was surreal to be bathing in rather than drinking the champagne, but was fun and invigorating.

We ended our indulgent and soporific morning stretched out on comfy day beds in one of the spa’s peaceful chill out areas. As we continued to unwind, we marvelled again at the views over Hong Kong and smiling staff served us more tea.

Our spa journey from start to finish was an amazing experience and one we will never forget. It was as revitalising as it was enjoyable. We were never rushed – on the contrary, we were encouraged to take our time and enjoyed complete privacy and attentive therapists throughout. We can’t recommend the amazing Chuan Spa and the Langham Place Hotel highly enough and will return at the first opportunity.

The Langham Place Hotel
555 Shanghai Street, Mongkok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
www.hongkong.langhamplacehotels.com
Tel: 00 852 3552 3388 Fax: 00 852 3552 3322

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