If the tranquil mental state of nirvana were to manifest as a tangible presence, its representation might be the luxe Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s eponymous Spas. These award-winning, decadent retreats are celebrated by the ‘Oscars’ of the hotel industry, the Forbes Travel Guide Five & Four Star Awards. Of 48 Forbes Five Star Spas worldwide, the Mandarin Group claims thirteen – more than any other hotel company in the world.
The Five Star list includes the spas at Mandarin Orientals in Boston, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, as well as London, Singapore, Macau and two of three hotels in Hong Kong. Three new additions to this year’s honors list are the spas in Bangkok, Shanghai and Tokyo. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C. achieved Forbes Four Star spa status.
As a visitor to two Mandarin Oriental Spas, I can attest to the deserving nature of the Forbes Five Star ranking. Most Mandarin hotels exist within busy, bustling major metropolitan areas, but once inside the serene Spa oasis, the outside world disappears. These sanctuaries of calm are designed to provide both mental and physical rejuvenation, and they more than succeed.
Mandarin Spa treatments and therapies, all of which are developed in consultation with specialists in traditional Chinese medicine, are similar throughout the Mandarin Group’s hotels and resorts and can include a variety of disciplines such as nutrition counseling, meditation, fitness options, and beauty therapies. Each location features the highest quality skin care, such as exclusive Natura Bissé products from Barcelona. Restorative and rejuvenating Aromatherapy Associates custom blended essential oils are carried by all of the Spas.
One of the favored Mandarin Spa treatments is its signature ‘Time Ritual’ in which guests book two hours of time, rather than specific treatments, and consult with a therapist about individual needs. Respect for the uniqueness of each individual is the foundation of the Mandarin Spa experience.
My ‘Time Ritual’ began with a warm cup of detoxifying hibiscus tea and a healing reflexology foot bath during which time I discussed with my therapist what I hoped to gain from the visit. We selected two treatments that we agreed would do me good (a stress-reducing neck and shoulder massage, and a skin hydrating facial) and one that simply felt good (a scalp massage.)
The heated table, soft lighting, and melodious tunes served to put me in a trance that I half heartedly tried to reject; I didn’t want to miss a moment of bliss. Afterwards, my therapist spent extra time with me, generously answering all of my skin care questions. I left my treatments relaxed, with glowing skin, and a better understanding of how to take care of myself. The treatments were luxurious and amazing but the personal attention further elevated the entire experience.
Many of the Mandarin Oriental Spas offer a ‘Journey’ treatment that tips a hat to that particular city’s unique character, such as the ‘Peaches and Cream’ hydration Journey in Atlanta, or the ‘Commonwealth Comforter’ exfoliation Journey in Boston. In Las Vegas, casino cacophony can be diluted with a ‘Diamond Magnetic Lift’ treatment which helps to ‘purify body and mind, helping eliminate the effects of electromagnetic pollution.’ The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Macau offers a ‘Macanese Dragon Experience,’ developed to honor Macau’s Chinese heritage, and the Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo honors Japanese cultural traditions with a ‘Sakura Ritual,’ which starts off with an Azuki bean scrub.
The Mandarin Oriental hotels are favored by business travelers, and tailored to them is the popular ‘Red Eye’ treatment that promises to counteract the mentally and physically exhausting effects of long distance travel.
A personal fan of the the Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco, the Group’s first United States site, I am sad for the imminent departure from its Sansome and California Street location of 27 years. But devotees such as myself can take heart that our preferred hotel can be found worldwide: 13 in Asia, nine in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and six in U.S. metropolitan locations: Atlanta, Boston, Las Vegas, Miami, New York and Washington D.C. All offer the same sumptuous combination of 21st century indulgence and oriental charm, and most have a Spa that offers incomparable luxury.
Whether visiting a Mandarin Oriental for business or pleasure, their gorgeous Spas provide a welcome respite with unparalleled pampering.
For a full list of Mandarin Oriental Hotels and Spas, visit www.mandarinoriental.com.