There aren't many quiet sanctuaries in Hong Kong where you can truly escape from other human beings - but the Rosewood's new Asaya Lodges offer the chance to disconnect into the Zen bubble of an on-site stay at the hotel's wellness centre
Imagine this: you are in desperate need of quality "me" time but cannot get away for a three-day weekend. And the idea of a rushed few hours at a hotel spa for a massage will not quite do the trick for top-to-toe and inside-out pampering. What to do? What to do?
As far as staycations go, there aren't a lot of choices in Hong Kong if you want a quiet sanctuary away from other human beings for longer than a sneaky spa session. Naturally, you could check into the hotel for a staycation, but then you'd have to traipse through the hotel crowds to the spa each time you want a treatment.
There are, maybe, two hotel spas offering overnight suites in Hong Kong (and one is at the airport!) where the spa will come to you. But that will change when Rosewood Hong Kong throws open its Asaya Lodges doors on January 1, 2020.
An extension to the hotel's wellness centre, Asaya, the hotel's two new lodges, will cater for single and double occupancy, respectively. Ahead of its much-anticipated opening, STYLE checked in for an exclusive first-look preview of the facilities and what the lodges will have to offer.
According to the wellness centre's literature: "Asaya's approach to wellness allows you to explore what you need, based on where you would like to go to". More than just ad hoc treatments offered at most spas, Asaya aims for a more 360-degree wellness concept based on five distinct pillars: emotional balance, fitness and nutrition, physical therapies, skin health and community.
Given today's demands on us all, at both work and at home, it is an excellent all-encompassing wellness concept which caters to not just physical wellness, skincare and massages, but also acknowledges our need for emotional balance and mental wellness.
As such, the treatments range from programmes such as singing bowl therapy, meditation and mindfulness to couples and family bonding sessions, and even community and awareness programmes. The spa menu is so comprehensive it will easily take you an hour to peruse and digest before choosing.
To complete the concept, there's also Asaya Kitchen, a restaurant offering organic and healthy fare. They weren't kidding when they said they have everything to take you where you want to go. Asaya spans the sixth and seventh floors of the Rosewood Hong Kong, with the spa and Asaya Kitchen on the sixth floor together with the pool and gym. Besides the treatment rooms, the spa also includes the Atelier where you can have your skin analysis done or have a massage oil or scrub tailor-mixed for you.
The two lodges - the Camelia at 73 square metres (788 sq ft) and the Gardenia at 90 square metres (969 sq ft) - are nestled within a calm, green courtyard on the seventh floor. My butler, Vittorio, shows me into the Gardenia, which opens up into a nice sitting area with a large flat screen television on one side and a small dining/tea table on the other side.
A narrow doorway takes us into the bedroom; a quick glance shows a charging cable, but also a small cloth bag for your phone, and another large-screen television. In the Asaya Lodges, the point is to get away from it all: people, emails, messages and, definitely, the internet (before you panic, yes, there is free Wi-fi).
Midway through to the changing room, Vittorio opens the magic box that contains all the wonders anyone could ask for: the Sleep Box. Inside is a set of essential oils, a Votary pillow spray and a hi-tech sleep mask, complete with an iPad installed with a sleep app to lull you into more than 40 winks. A frequent traveller who constantly wakes up with no idea what timezone she is on, finding this box feels like hitting the mother lode. A comfortable, encompassing blackout eye mask with built-in speakers channelling a selection of nature sounds or Zen music, the Silent Mode sleep mask was a new toy we were thrilled to explore.
But, first, back to the lodge. The bathroom was huge with double rainshowers and a large bathtub. A door on the side leads to the spa room, with two spa beds and a treatment machine. Strangely enough, while the make-up table was in the changing room, the spa room offered the only basins with space enough for brushing your teeth or washing your face, but since the room is intended for spa activities, it can be a bit dark and slightly cramped. You also need to separate your toiletries and make-up, obviously, since you'd be needing them in different rooms.
There are many small and thoughtful touches to the lodge though. The elixirs that you get in the evening just give you a shot of goodness as you get ready for sleep. The complimentary personal bar is filled with home-made, wellness-oriented snacks from Asaya Kitchen and an impressive selection of organic and fresh juices.
If you feel like spending a quiet evening reading, there is also a carefully curated selection of books, from mindfulness and meditation to other wellness topics. And, while you're not encouraged to watch too much television, Asaya has provided some videos of simple and quick exercises you can do in your room.
A stay at Asaya Lodges allows you free access to other areas of the spa such as the vitality pool and the heated room that is kept at a constant 35 degrees Celsius so that people with hypertension or heart problems can use them without aggravating their conditions.
The Asaya Lodges package - which start from HK$13,000 (US$1,665) a night - includes a wellness lifestyle assessment with an expert Asaya therapist and physiotherapy treatment, followed by a personalised skin health treatment with a resident skin therapist, and includes the personal wellness bar and wellness amenities.
My therapist, Agnes, arrived at the appointed time for my Rosewood Extreme 360 by Evidens de Beaute and Radio Frequency, a deep dermal heating to stimulate collagen, working to rebuild the structure of the skin, resulting in lifting and firming. But, first, it was back down to the sixth floor to get my skin analysis done with the spa's 3D Pear system. Agnes delivers some encouraging news: my skin age was actually a couple of years younger than my actual age. Yes, I was hoping for 10 years younger but, with my usually lazy skincare regime, I'll take anything I can get, fine lines and all.
We schlep back to the treatment room and settle into my eight-step facial that was supposed to smooth signs of ageing, and is designed for "mature, dehydrated, tired and dull skin". I'm ticking all the boxes of the description so I'm quite excited to see the results.
Agnes prepares me for the ritual, explaining to me in a clear voice the steps she is going to take from cleansing to exfoliation right up to the mask, before giving me my dose of radio frequency. It is a soothing and relaxing ritual and I slip in and out of consciousness.
When the bell goes, Agnes brings me a mirror. I am amazed to see lighter laugh lines and lighter wrinkles around the eyes. My dark circles from insomnia were also lighter and the bags under my eyes - where were the bags under my eyes? My skin felt smoother, plumper and definitely more moisturised.
Asaya has also slotted in a singing bowl therapy session with Kit; I have heard a lot about the therapy but have never tried it. Anything that deals with stress, depression and fatigue sounded good to me. With my eyes covered, I can feel Kit moving around the room and feel her placing bowls next to my feet and above my head, although I can't quite hear her explanations. I decide to go with the flow.
When the vibrations start, it dawns on me that I might have more pent up stress and fatigue than I thought. It's not as relaxing as I expect; emotions swirl around inside me and vignettes of my life flash through my mind. At the end of it, I just hope that the therapy has managed to release some of the negative energy from me.
Before I check out the next morning to return to the real world, Agnes turns up again for my Aroma Atelier massage. Again, we return to the Atelier so that she could blend me a massage oil suitable for my needs. We settle on camomile, frankincense, black pepper with a dash of ginger, and proceed back to the lodge where Agnes proceeds to give me one of the best massages I have had in a long time.
In strong, steady strokes, she manages to find all my problem spots - lower back and shoulders - and, without even causing me to cringe in pain as most masseuses usually do, manages to loosen the errant muscles.
I can feel the tightness seep away and could already feel less stress in those spots the minute I got up. It's been a couple of weeks and I'm happy to report that I'm still feeling the great effects.
As part of the Rosewood, you can obviously dine at any of the restaurants on the property if you can bear to leave your lodge. Otherwise, you can still eat in more Zen-like surroundings at Asaya Kitchen which offer more health-conscious selections. The menu is not huge but does offer enough choices for a good meal. Or you can just opt to stay in your Zen cocoon and order in-room dining from Asaya Kitchen.
Besides the two lodges, there is Social House on the same floor as well. The premises can facilitate small cosy parties of up to eight people and is perfect for hen/stag/birthday parties, or just a day out with the girls. The facilities come with a private steam room and vitality pool for guests' use. And, if you're lucky enough (like I was) to stay during a time when Social House is not in use, you might just be able to persuade the spa to let you use the steam room or vitality pool.
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