Spa Review: The Spa at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental

Last year for Christmas, my dad got his ladies (me, my mother and my sister) Time Rituals to use at the Spa at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental. Of course it took us almost a whole year to coordinate schedules and actually go. So a week before Christmas, I flew in from Shanghai (yes especially for this) and we spent two luxe-y hours at the spa.

Heat Experience

I’ve been to the Spa at the Landmark a few times but never for a full-on massage and funny enough, never for work either. A Time Ritual gives you two hours of your choice of treatments and is a Mandarin Oriental staple. It’s interesting because if you wanted to, you could spend (or more like, waste) the time getting a pedicure and doing waxing. But you could also go for their more cash-worthy massages, facials, scrubs etc.

I’ve been rundown since my last week in Shanghai (where I apparently caught a cold/flu napping…weird) so I’m now stuck with a bad cough that makes it sound like I’m dying. My therapist Sunita suggested the Rasul treatment for 20 mins followed by their signature Oriental massage to detox and clear the congestion as well as get a little facial in there via the Dead Sea mud. She also suggested using Aromatherapy Associates’ Breathe Support oil in the massage to help clear up the congested feeling.

The Rasul is the only treatment I’ve done at the Spa and I really hadn’t intended to do it again when there was a plethora of other fun things to try but it just seemed like the best thing to do for my poor frail physique. Sitting in the Rasul with its honking huge amethyst crystal, caked in mud and waiting desperately for the steam to end also felt somehow soothing and calming. Maybe it has to do with the whole “Age of Aquarius” thing we wrote about at AsiaSpa earlier this year, but I did feel that now at year-end, a little time to reflect and be peaceful was a good idea. The dry heat, steam and final shower was good, and didn’t feel as long and torturous as it had the last time I went. I have a real love/hate relationship with steam…love what it does for you, but kinda hate the whole “I can’t breathe” feeling.

Rasul 1

That’s not me, obviously.

The massage was great. Someone once said to me you can really feel it in a therapist’s touch if they know what they’re doing and Sunita had that in spades. Her skills plus the combination of peppermint and lavender in the soothing oil really worked their magic on me. Sunita was especially attentive since I occasionally sounded like I was dying, and never showed any disgust at the germs I was polluting the room with (really sorry about that).

Spending an afternoon at the Landmark Mandarin’s spa is obviously not a stressful experience and we all had a really good time. Personally, the Time Ritual has an opposite effect on me from what’s intended I think. Obviously buying someone time is done to give them two hours of pampering, but for me to have that choice of choosing treatments kind of stresses me out! I like to know I’m getting the best deal so I get a bit stressed making sure I can get all my treatments in, and I can help but sit there wondering if they’re going to deduct the time it takes to walk from treatment room to Rasul, or the shower I needed to take post-Rasul, or the bathroom break I went for before the massage. Of course they don’t do that, they aren’t as petty as I am! But I couldn’t help but wonder…


Shanghai sightings

Hello internet world I’m back! Getting on to wordpress was a bit difficult here in Shanghai but I’ve finally managed to get my act together and write a post, ironically just two weeks before I’m supposed to head back to HK haha.

I’ve been in Shanghai for just over a month now and I’ve barely scratched the surface of the city. I came here to study Mandarin and I alternate between feeling successful and slightly more fluent, and useless unable to get by except for a few choice phrases.

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Cute old school mailboxes in an old laneway

But besides that, if I’m going to be honest, I came for a change of pace. I wanted to see what it would be like living somewhere else without having to invest in the whole moving countries thing right away. At least this way I could say I was doing something productive while having a good time.

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pretty fences

At the same time, this IS China. I was reveling in being able to eat doritoes on my bed as I blogged, but now I’m throwing an internal tantrum because one of my neighbours is definitely smoking and the smell is making its way into my room. But I’ve generally found that the things that annoy people about China (the spitting, the shoving, the near-maniacal driving by anything with wheels) don’t faze me, I tend to find it more amusing than aggravating (except for the smoking in the apartment. that drives me crazy). The only thing I find hard to get used to is having my friends so far away (technically a phone call I guess, but I don’t have a long distance calling plan), and also the lack of easy access to my magic skincare drawer back at home. When I ran out of serum earlier this month I felt like I had dry raisin face till I made it back to HK and restocked.

Of course nothing would make a proper Shanghai post without some pics of food, so here are pics of some of my favourites so far.

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Juicy soupy oily sheng jian. Delicious and oh-so-bad for the skin hah.

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Rice cakes drowning in crab sauce

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my RMB 1.50 lunch