Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

[Shanghai] CHI, The Spa at Pudong Shangri-La

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CHI, The Spa at Pudong Shangri-La

Add: Pudong Shangri-La, Tower 2, 6/F, 33 Fucheng Lu / 富城路33号浦东香格里拉2号楼6楼
Tel: 5877 1503
Hours: 10am~12am
Website: www.shangri-la.com
Price: CHI Balance (1 hr 15 min) 1,280 RMB
Visited: Feb 2012

Mandala symbols, tribal embroidered textiles, Himalayan accessories, scented incense, Tibetan singing bowls – welcome to CHI, The Spa at Pudong Shangri-La. This 800 square-meter haven of tranquility, very obviously inspired by architectural aesthetics of Tibetan temples, combines Himalayan design elements with Chinese principles of harmony and balance. A mystical and truly enchanting space.

At CHI, spa treatments and products are tailored based on the Chinese philosophy of the five elements, in which metal, water, wood, fire and earth are in balance with the positive yang and negative yin energy within the body. To start, I was given five bottles – each with a unique blend of essential oils – and asked to pick out my favorite scent, which supposedly would be what my body needed the most at that moment. For me, it was the metal.

There was also a short questionnaire that helps guests determine which “element” is in need, with multiple choice questions about favorite colors, tastes, time of day, etc., and interestingly my result from this questionnaire is also metal! Coincidence?

I was then led through the hallway to my treatment room titled “Namshe”, which means “confusion and disturbances” in Tibetan (opposite of “Yeshe”, a consciousness of clear thinking.) The room, like the other 8 private suites at CHI, is complete with an affinity bath with color therapy, herbal steam and shower, relaxation lounge and changing, toilet, vanity areas. A sense of seclusion guaranteed.

I scheduled to receive the CHI Balance (1 hr 15 min/1,280 RMB), a unique blend of Asian techniques personalised to suit the guest’s current yin/yang status, focusing on the earth element (building chi), wood element (moving chi) and fire element (clarity and peace of mind). It started with a warm foot bath with rose petals and the essential oil of choice (metal for me), and I was impressed by how thorough this first step was done – complete with soaking, exfoliation, and massage – not the symbolic 3-minute soak you get from some other spa establishments.

The in-room teapot and teacup are also of exotic Tibetan designs.

One of CHI’s signature features found in all the suites is a beautiful sliding screen based on the traditional lattice work of the Himalayas. This lattice screen separates the area where you receive the foot bath and the actual treatment room, and by crossing the treshold you leave all confused thoughts behind.

The therapy room was comfortably lit in a warm yellow. After a quick shower, I laid down on the bed and began the CHI Balance treatment. Its techniques include acupressure, energising massage for yang stimulation, and a relaxing massage for yin calm. I was having a rough week and wasn’t getting enough sleep (staying up late to blog, that’s right), and soon dozed off at the soothing strokes of my therapist. I do remember turning over once or twice, and my therapist softly asking me whether the pressure was right, to which I probably mumbled “yes it’s perfect”…but it’s all a blissful blur.

I was gently woken up with a spray of scented mist on my face, and three soft chimes of the cymbals from afar. After a cup of warm tea, the still half-conscious me was escorted back to the reception area. What a sensuous experience! For those looking to mentally depart from Shanghai for just a few hours, book a spa treatment here. The thoughtfully designed environment and massage treatments will surely soothe your body and revitalise your spirit. I left feeling relaxed and recharged, ready to take on another week of Shanghai.

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Written by sugarednspiced

February 24th, 2012 at 9:07 am