On one busy afternoon in the middle of the city centre, I found myself a tranquil oasis tucked away behind the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, in the form of Banyan Tree Spa, located on level 53 of the highly anticipated Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur hotel that promises “sensorial treats ideal for the urban souls” to its patrons. Well, since I wasn’t sure whether I would fall into the urban soul category, one thing for sure: my body was aching, and it would thank me after some pampering ASAP.
I made my way from the hotel’s gorgeous lobby to the spa reception area, where I was greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable staff who offered me a refreshing welcome drink and a lovely-scented cold towel, which I learned was soaked in real jasmine flowers. I took time to browse through some of the many enticing treatments available, and realised how easily it was to be overwhelmed by the choices. If you were to find yourself in a similar situation and couldn’t decide whether to treat yourself to a facial or a massage, then I suggest that you go for the treatment that I had called the ‘Sense of Place – Malaysian Bliss’, which is a signature wonderment that combines turmeric honey cleansing scrub, Nusantara (Malay archipelago) massage, a goat milk facial, a scalp massage and a jasmine green tea bath. Yes, told you I was off to a serious pampering session.
Once I decided on the treatment, I filled out a form, followed by a brief consultation with my masseuse, the sweet Nui. She then brought me to my treatment suite, the Kasturi, in which to my surprise is a delightfully spacious inner sanctum, richly furnished and softly lighted with unobstructed views of the city’s skyline, including the majestic KLCC towers in all their glory. This is easily one of the best spa treatment spaces I have even been to in Klang Valley. The suite comprises a therapy room with two massage beds, a room with the city view where the foot soak takes place, a natural-lit bathtub room, and private en-suite steam room, toilet, lockers and large rain shower.
Nui suggested that I sit in the steam room for 10 minutes to prep me for the following treatments, in which I gladly obeyed – after just a few minutes in the room, my muscles relaxed and my mind started to slip into a state of respite. She then guided me to a plush massage bed and got to work by starting off with a gentle body scrub on my skin using the fresh in-house blend of ingredients such as turmeric powder, honey, tamarind juice and white sesame seed. Turmeric is said to be efficacious in bringing out the skin’s natural glow, and the honey scent smelled amazing too. She allowed the scrub to sink in for a few minutes before instructing me to wash it off in the shower, leaving my skin as about as clean and smooth as it can be.
Next, Nui began applying luxurious oil on me, rubbing with a warm, feather light touch. Her expert hands then carried on to work on my leg muscles and along my spine, with slightly increased pressure when she reached my incredibly tight shoulders and neck. “Ooh hard-working lady, the muscles here are so tight!”, she commented, referring to my upper back that made me smiled on my bed. Well, truthfully, it could be due to two things: being hard-working or spending too much time slouching while binge-watching on Netflix series – but to feed my ego, I went with ‘hard-working’, hah! I then turned over onto my back, and she repeated the same kneading and thumb pressure techniques again on my front.
My therapeutic journey continued with a facial, whereby Nui began lathering up my face with fresh yogurt. She then scrubbed and exfoliated my face lightly with milk and sugar, leaving my facial skin clean and soft. Honey was then layered onto my exfoliated face, followed by gentle massage. It felt surprisingly refreshing, as I was initially sceptical about how sticky honey might feel on the skin. Nui took the heaven-like feeling a notch further by giving me the ever-so-appreciated scalp massage with coconut oil thereafter.
I must have drifted in my daydream when Nui finally woke me up with a quiet whisper, inviting me to proceed with a therapeutic herbal bath made from green tea and dry jasmine. A serving of Greek yogurt, fresh fruit and a pot of hot lemongrass tea was placed on the side of the glamorous bath tub, all for me to savour while slipping further into the depths of relaxation.
After being enveloped in such blissful experience, to say that I left the spa relaxed would be an understatement – rather, I felt like a brand-new person, boosted with a genuinely renewed confidence and sense of wellbeing that I felt good enough to re-join the outside world make-up free. Perhaps, that’s what a wonderfully genuine pampering experience and self-care would do to you. As such, I must say that Banyan Tree Spa Kuala Lumpur is now inked in my good books; I would absolutely recommend it to my mother and all my friends. It is perfect for those who are hunting for an excellent spa with fantastic facilities and a tasteful atmosphere – definitely fitting for special occasions, or even when you just want to reward yourself.
My relaxing ‘Sense of Place – Malaysian Bliss’ treatment lasts for 150 minutes, and costs MYR795 per person. To make reservation, please visit www.banyantree.com.
This article is included in Gaya Travel Magazine Issue 14.1.