The Spa: Chi Spa at The Shangri-La Sydney
A ruthless lust for relaxation, coupled with naked opportunism, can lead to spa hubris - a feral state of magnified restlessness. Who knew it was possible to overdose on wellness? In an industry littered with rose petals and loofah worship, The Shangri-La's spa concept is a welcome reprieve. A decompression chamber for the city's cognoscenti, the spa draws inspiration from the origins of the Shangri-La legend and strives to deliver a more substantial, mindful well-being. In Sydney's competitive five-star hierarchy, this stunner often comes out on top.
The Australian Botanical Retreat evokes the healing potency of the continent's natural elements, sourced from local communities that use traditional harvesting methods. At a running time competitive with Avatar but without all the squirming, this fragrant journey begins with a full-body exfoliation with lemon myrtle and eucalyptus polish. Enzyme action from lemon myrtle is a spike to the senses, with notes of nasal-clearing eucalyptus. Now that I'm breathing with what feels like a fresh pair of lungs, the therapist starts with a lickable wrap of warm honey, macadamia and pink clay which is clearly psychologically as well as physiologically cleansing. Who wouldn't feel all buttery and delicious after getting the spa equivalent of a full patisserie? After a refreshing rinse comes a 60-minute body massage - whatever and wherever you fancy. Koala, come hither.
Magnesium-rich Australian pink clay and alpha hydroxy-packed wild bush honey work synergistically to moisturize weathered, sun-damaged skin. The mixture's anti-bacterial properties purify and act as a natural humectant, sealing in nourishing moisture. After the treatment, guests rehydrate with spring water, and then sip a cooling hibiscus-tea elixir rich in vitamin C and antioxidants for a takeaway immune boost.
Chi Spa at The Shangri-La Hotel Sydney on 176 Cumberland St., Sydney, New South Wales; (612) 9250-6000; shangri-la.com; 2 1/2 hours for $327 ($392 on public holidays).
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