by Chisato Endo
I love massages and have tried a few spa treatments, but never in a spa as famous as ESPA. And since I got to know that ESPA at RWS has Japanese-inspired outdoor onsen pools, I’d been waiting for an opportunity to experience them as well as the first-in-Singapore “Indulgence Hammam Ritual”. I trooped down with a friend to find out just how good the global leader in spa is.
The lobby was bathed in soothing colours and warm lighting. A pleasant receptionist welcomed us and guided us to the consultation lounge where we were served welcome drinks (pineapple and lychee), freshened up with chilled towels and filled up the consulting card.
The special thing about the card is personalization, the heart of treatments at ESPA. With over 20 different types of treatments available, they’ll probably cater to even the most specialized requirements – be it a foot rub for the mother-to-be or even grooming needs for men. You could also indicate on the card specific areas you would like the therapists to focus on. Naturally, I ticked the Hammam treatment.
When making the appointments, we were advised to arrive an hour earlier to enjoy the pre-treatment facilities and that was what we did. It would be a pity not to come an hour earlier to get into the mood of things since that’s already included in the treatment cost.
Here’s the thing about ESPA: the facilities are amazingly extensive, with separate male and female pre-treatment facilities which include vitality pools with air and water massage jets, outdoor plunge pools and warm pool, dry sauna, crystal steam rooms and unisex Forest Onsen pools.
After a quick visit to the ladies locker room to change into our swimwear – where an ESPA attendant is always ready to assist – we headed straight for the outdoor plunge pools. The fresh air, light breeze and massage jets helped us relax and set the mood for our next stop: the Forest Onsen pool.
I am really fond of the Forest Onsen pool, which is shaded by trees and surrounded by big rocks with a small waterfall at about shoulder height. I grew up in Japan and this reminded me of onsens that I used to visit often in my youth. The water is not as hot as an actual Japanese onsen, which is good if you prefer a milder soak.
After the warm dip in the pools, we rested and leisurely snacked on some apples at the tea lounge that overlooks the Forest Onsen. It was the perfect prelude to our Hammam Experience.
The Hammam Experience
Stepping into the Hammam treatment area felt like going into a totally different world. Unlike other parts of ESPA, the Hammam area is furnished with marble slabs and stones complete with some cute Turkish style kettles and bowls. In Japan, we’d call them ‘kawaii’!
What’s nice is that we were given the option of having the treatments together or in our own private rooms. We took the group treatment since that is how they do it in Turkey and we wanted as authentic an experience as possible.
While sipping mint tea (served from a very cute tea pot) in the warm room, our spa therapists gave us a rundown about what we were going to experience. They were donned in black swimwear, which could only mean one thing: it was going to get wet.
Our treatment started with a soothing, warm hair wash, which reminded me of how my mother used to do it back when I was still a kid.
Next, we were told to lie face-down down on the marble slab. It was hard but thankfully warm. I didn’t know what to expect but when the spa therapist started literally throwing water onto my body, I was so surprised I started laughing. A hard body scrub followed, and a second water splashing session. Every time they splashed water on me, I admit I laughed – I couldn’t help it! I found out later that this water splashing treatment was supposed to invigorate our bodies and get the blood flowing.
Next, the therapist used a pillow case and created a thick foam of soap bubbles that they use to wrap my entire body with. It was a soft, light and comfortable feeling when the therapist started giving me thorough foam massage before rinsing me with water.
Lastly, we had our bodies covered in green mud body masks, before going for a 10-minute steam room session. The Hammam treatment ended with us rinsing off and the therapists helping us towel dry.
Some Post-Treatment Loving
After this, guests can proceed to the sleep zone for a nap accompanied by soothing music; we didn’t take up this offer as we had other plans but a peek into the sleep zone revealed a cool, quiet, warmly-lit area filled with cleverly private lounge pods; it looked so conducive for sleeping and was sorely tempting.
For ladies, don’t forget to check out the Finishing Studios to get your manicure and pedicure. We had our nails worked and I have to say it was professionally done. We also saw a variety of ESPA products to purchase for home use. Like all products used for the treatments, these are all made from natural ingredients at ESPA’s own factory in UK.
We spent nearly 3 hours at ESPA at RWS and came out feeling rejuvenated, refreshed and raring to go again. My skin felt like a new born baby’s after the rigorous scrubbing during the treatments. It was a one-of-its-kind experience and I personally liked the Hammam treatment. I’m already looking forward to future sessions at ESPA.
Although it may seem pricey at S$200++ for a one hour Treatment Session, the price includes use of ESPA unique signature heat experiences, pools and various relaxation areas. In all, that price gave me an incredible 3 hours experience to a more relaxed and contented ‘me’. On days that I feel like really pampering myself, ESPA is now an option.
Enjoy a 60-minute signature massage at ESPA worth $200+ when you sign up with RWS Invites, Resorts World Sentosa’s premier loyalty programme. Better yet, park for free when you pamper yourself. All with an annual membership fee of $150.
For more information, visit the website.