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Hotel spa offers heavenly experience

By Mai Shoji

Looking for the best spot to view the Tokyo Sky Tree and also be pampered in heavenly style? One of the most exclusive spots is The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo in central Nihombashi.

The spa’s concept is “Sense of Journey” and they take pride in merging techniques from all around the world, including ancient and contemporary Chinese, Ayurvedic, European, Mediterranean and Thai traditions.

My journey took off on the 36th floor of the hotel as I met the helpful receptionist. As recommended, I arrived 30 to 45 minutes early for my appointment for a cup of herbal tea, a private consultation and enough time to enjoy the “heat and water experience.” Amenities and goods, such as bathrobe, hair accessories, razor, brush and paper underwear were all prepared in advance in your own electronic locker.

Before the treatment began, I was able to take some time to appreciate the sky view sauna, crystal steam room, vitality and tonic pools. This is where it made me feel as if I owned the city. Can you imagine floor to ceiling windows and sitting in a huge acrylic transparent bathtub, with nothing to block the view?

I arrived at the lounge 5 minutes before the treatment appointment where I was served another cup of herb tea. My therapist then came to pick me up and introduced herself to take me to the treatment room. The course of short trips to each room builds the expectations of the journey.

The Spa has four treatment rooms and five private suites. I highly recommend the Harmony Suite for couples, and the Tranquility Suite, if you are by yourself. The corner room gives you a three-side view of Tokyo and the floral bath overlooks the city. My appointment time starting at 4 p.m. for 2 hours was ideal as I could experience a spectacular sunset just before the start of the ritual, and also the night view as I opened my eyes when the treatment finished.

The therapist started by washing my feet in a beautiful golden Balinese bowl. She explained everything she put into the bowl to cleans the toxins in your body. She added salt, Amethyst, azuki beans, and crystal. Apparently, this blend varies in different countries where Mandarin Oriental spas are located. Then she chimed an Asian bell to start off the ritual.

The Time Ritual (110 minutes/44,000 yen weekdays/ 46,000 yen weekends, 170 minutes/66,000 yen weekdays/ 70,000 yen weekends) that I tried is personally tailored to each customer’s needs. I requested substantial time on a facial and Asian shiatsu. The therapist used products such as Aromatherapy Associates Balance Deep Cleansing face Mask to help close open pores, Aromatherapy Rose Hydrating Face Mask to add more hydration to my skin, Renewing Rose Cleanser, Rose Overnight Repair Eye Cream, Rose Radiance Skin Serum, Revive Morning Body Oil, etc. All of which were amazingly fragrant that it takes you to a different place.

She started back treatment using hot stones and then massaged the back of my legs. The hot stones placed on lymph spots were amazing. She places fairly big ones on my stomach, then in back of my knees, and heated pebbles in between every toe. They gradually warm you up and permeate in your body. This is certainly recommended, especially for women who suffer poor circulation. Next came the facial and while I was treated with facial masks, she massaged my arms and front legs to maximize treatment time usage.

I regret not taking a photo of my before and after because it was clearly poles apart. The stone’s warmness and pressure encouraged better circulation in the feet, while the facial massage provided more hydration, and I was amazed with the clearness on the face as a result.

All through the treatment, the therapist makes sure she doesn’t make any sound so as not to disturb the relaxing and/or sleeping guest. For example, they are very careful in opening and closing doors of every shelf, taking out and putting back treatment products, and even trying not to make a noise when walking. All in all, the experience was inducing to harmony of body, mind, and soul.

Other recommended menus are Mandarin Oriental Signature Spa (110 minutes/44,000 yen weekdays/46,000 yen weekends), which consists of oriental meridian massage combined with therapeutic oil treatment, Swedish body massage (80 minutes/32,000 yen weekdays, 34,000 yen weekends), which gently releases tension and knots using oil, and Thai massage (110 minutes/44,000 yen weekdays/46,000 yen weekends). And if you want to pamper yourself in addition to the courses, there are optional treatments such as Azuki Scrub, blended with sesame seed, patchouli, ginger, geranium, and sea salt to maintain beautiful skin.

I should point out that these spa treatments aren’t only for women. I know many guys are skeptical about spas. However, as I mentioned earlier, I recommend the Harmony Suite for couples. As a matter of fact, according to spa manager Hisako Otsuki, 30 to 40% of guests at the hotel’s spa are men. I imagine the best gift for a lady might be a spa voucher. But since it is now old-fashioned to think that men enjoying the spa is unconventional, I nominate a spa package as an avant-garde gift for men.

Open daily 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Call 03-3270-8300 for reservations and more info.

© Japan Today

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The farther down the economy drops, the more pampered the decadent class become.

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I know a couple of women who go to a different hotel spa on weekends once a month to pamper themselves. They spend most of the day there, getting the royal treatment and then enjoying the restaurants. No boyfriends, of course. I guess they can afford it because they live at home.

My girlfriend tried to get me to accompany her to a spa once but I backed out. I know the story says otherwise but I can't grasp the idea of spas being for guys. It's also hard to take two hours out of a weekday to go and weekends and holidays would be too hard to make a booking in a hotel.

Still, the Mandarin Oriental is a great hotel, by the way. I enjoy the restaurants and I can guarantee that the view of the Tokyo skyline from the restroom window is superb.

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What outrageous prices! If I want a spa, I will go to Thailand.

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What a waste of money. Instead of paying 20,000 yen per hour for a spa, these women who live at home sponging off of their parents should put it toward rent!

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If you have the $$$ and time, enjoy life!

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"If you have the $$$ and time, enjoy life!"

And if you don't have the $$$ or the time, suffer! LOL!

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I've been to a spa before. A very good one too. It was horrible, boring and an utter waste of time and money. Go to a small country in and soak in the onsen instead. Or stay home with a book and snack, or take a nap in fuzzy warm blankets.

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Sounds like a cheap ad I see on TV after midnight.

Been to many spa's across europe, etc and never got similar treatments. Said that at those prices they would go broke back home.

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These 5-star hotel spas have a huge loyal clientele of Japanese women (my girlfriend is one of them) and they go almost once a week. I had a peek at the Mandarin's spa and it is truly world-class but I resisted my girlfriend's urging to try it (she can afford it but I can't).

Anyway, people who patronize these hotels don't consider it a waste of money. It's fun to pamper yourself once in a while.

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