The spa at Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai has a theme – transformation – symbolized by the butterfly . Throughout the spa you will see butterfly motifs, from small butterflies gathered on a wall to a large magnificent butterfly, reveling in the beauty of her final form. The 13 treatment rooms are all named “Butterfly”, but in 13 different languages, such as Papillion Room (French) and Wu Dip Room (Cantonese).
Mandarin Oriental invites you to undergo your own transformation at the spa – let go your aches and pains and emerge a new person renewed and rejuvenated. I was booked for the Oriental Essence massage, a signature massage of Mandarin Oriental which can be found in their spas all over the world and is specially designed to relieve stress and tension.
Spa guests are invited to arrive 30 minutes early to make use of the hotel’s heat and water facilities. I made sure to do that and was very glad I did. The sandy coloured marble and oak wood floors created a feeling of peaceful serenity. It was one of the most beautiful hotel spas I’ve ever been in – a lofty temple devoted to wellbeing. There was a dry sauna, wet steam sauna and aroma experience showers. In front of the saunas, there was an ice fountain with iced towels for cooling off.
Guests can lounge on these tepidarium chairs after the sauna.
When it is time for your treatment, a spa employee will come to find you and lead you to the treatment room.
My therapist, Newman, let me smell the massage oil he will be using – an uplifting and intriguing blend of ginger, mandarin and frankincense. Newman rang a chime and led me through deep breathing exercises to inhale the scented massage oil and start the journey of transformation. He worked with slow, determined movements, with the precision of a highly trained therapist who was deftly aware of the anatomy of muscles and tendons. An obvious benefit of a male masseuse is that they are stronger and can really work on your body through pulling and stretching. Newman took my back apart and reassembled it again properly aligned.
As implied in the name, the Oriental Essence massage uses a variety of Eastern massage techniques. Newman used zhi ya (finger acupressure), tui na (pushing rolling movements) and long relaxing strokes to banish all the tensions in my body.
When I flipped over for the next part of the massage, he tucked a hot rolled towel under my neck. The heat radiated through my just loosened neck and shoulder muscles in a very pleasant way. We continued with a soothing neck, shoulder and scalp massage. Too soon the chimes rang again to signal the end of the massage.
Newman led me to the relaxation room where fruits, nuts and caffeine-free tea were laid out for guests.
The relaxation room overlooks a verdant bamboo garden and guests are invited to stay as long as they wish. Sipping hot rooibos tea and watching the graceful green bamboo sway gently, I felt an immense sense of tranquility. The excellent massage had left me floating on a cloud and the relaxation room was like a warm, soft cocoon to rest in.
Just before I left the spa, I was invited to try their range of retail products. There were products from Clarins and an organic skincare brand from Germany called Amala that I wanted to try. A spa employee gave me a quick skin consultation and recommended some products to massage onto my face. I left the spa with a renewed body and a recharged soul – ready to take on any new challenges ahead.
Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, Shanghai,
111 Pudong S Rd, Pudong, Shanghai, China
+86 (21) 2082 9868