An unrepentant night owl, I’m always on the hunt for spas willing to deliver treatments outside the parochial 9-to-5 time frame. And in a decade of reviewing the world’s top spas, I’ve found that the only spas that cater to midnight massages are, predictably, in the Asia Pacific region. There’s nothing quite like surrendering to shiatsu under a full moon with a satisfied belly full of satay and pho. So you can imagine my glee at hearing of a 15-hour spa treatment at Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa that starts at 6 p.m. and wraps up at 9 a.m. The aptly dubbed Dusk till Dawn journey comes with a night’s stay in the resort’s CHI Spa Ocean Bures, the largest beachfront spa suites in Fiji, complete with two massage tables, private lounge area, king-size bed and deep-soak tub on a wrap-around terrace. Sign me up!
When dusk settles, my therapist leads me to the terrace for a Himalayan salt bath, scented with eucalyptus and softly lit candles. As I soak, she presents a melon bowl of freshly cut papaya to nibble on as my eyes feast on a spectacular South Pacific sunset.
After I’ve towelled off, she begins the all-natural body polish using lavish strokes and a brisk tempo. I then hydrate and rest in the outdoor shower and sizable aromatic steam room. About 9 p.m., she begins an aroma massage. While I recover from 90 minutes of kneading and pulling, she sets out the meal I pre-selected on check-in. A tuna tartare starter, seared salmon on spiced couscous main and coconut sorbet for dessert. After this post-spa dinner, I flop onto the feather bed and pass out. I rouse at midnight and stumble into a massage table on my way to the bathroom, suddenly recalling I’m still technically mid-treatment. At 7:30 a.m., I wake to a tray of fluffy croissants, granola and freshly squeezed juice. A bright-eyed aesthetician arrives to start my day – and conclude the treatment – with a deep cleansing facial.
This full-body reboot is the ultimate spoil-fest, leaving the body bathed and buffed and the face refreshed and refined. With its use of traditional Chinese and Himalayan healing philosophies, this treatment restores balance and harmony.
There are endless activities at Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa, and there’s the beauty of doing absolutely nothing. I like a hotel where the only threat to maximum relaxation is a possible coconut concussion. To prevent any mishaps, the resort de-nuts its sky-high trees weekly, and the best byproduct? A copious supply of fresh coconut water, every fit girl’s fantasy. The resort’s ace card is its top-notch spa built dramatically into the shoreline of the property’s 109-acre Yanuca Island. Joined by a causeway to Viti Levu, the luxurious coast-hugging resort likes to play cupid, with private picnics and whirlpools built for two, gestures that make every guest feel like they’re on a sensual bender. Exploring the onsite Shangri-La Marine Education Centre – a collaborative project with the community – is a must. All in all, a seriously dreamy stay.
Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa at Yanuca Island Cuvu, Sigatoka, Fiji; 1-866-344-5050; shangri-la.com; $382 for 15 hours.
Special to The Globe and Mail