Here at Prestige, we’re inundated with news from beauty brands and spas all promising the elixir of youth, hope in jars, miracle cures, magical lotions and potions that promise to stop the passage of time, preserve the folly of youth – or at least youthful skin –and keep the perils of unnatural pollutants and natural ageing at bay.
So when the latest harbinger of glamorous guarantee landed we were about to humbug the whole gambit, but the prospect of a mini getaway to Melo Spa at the Hyatt Regency in Sha Tin, to try Elemental Herbology with two of the city’s best-known beauties – fashion blogger Faye Tsui, and model/influencer Saffie Ng – had us most intrigued.
The venue, located between the campus of Chinese University and the leafy residential avenues of Kau To Shan, is a “staycation” destination that we’re thrilled to discover. As we walk around the calm, soothing environs of Melo Spa, we assume that the place was named with a light wordplay on “mellow”. We’re told, howevr, that the spa is named after the humble pomelo, an apt appellation for the Sha Tin venue given that, in Cantonese, pomelo translates to Sha Tin grapefruit. There are nine private spa suites, four of which have private outdoor terraces overlooking the Kau To Shan hills and five with views of Tolo Harbour.
First to arrive is Faye Tsui, who chooses a sea view. Before her impending trip to Paris Fashion Week, she’s keen to check out the latest offering from the spa: a natural relaxing experience with Elemental Herbology’s facial and body treatments and homecare products.
Elemental Herbology’s products utilise five-element theory, a cornerstone of Chinese philosophy, in tandem with natural, synthetic-free ingredients to cater to different skin characteristics. Brand founder Kristy Cimesa relates that during her years studying Chinese medicine and practising as a spa therapist, she felt there was a huge chasm between high-performance brands that were results driven and brands that emulated a home-spa experience. She wanted to create a line that offered ultimate nutrition for skin; thus Elemental Herbology was born, combining skin nutrition with well-being through its blending of five element theory with innovative technology and natural botanicals.
We note that the products – popular with Kate Hudson and Jennifer Lopez – are free from synthetic fragrance and artificial colour. With paraben preservatives and mineral oils to ensure the skin is cared for from the inside out, the products are matched with special massage techniques to achieve perfect equilibrium. Therapists choose suitable products for guests based on skin type, lifestyle, environmental factors and the season, providing a tailor-made experience every time.
After her spa treatment, Tsui says, “The massage is relaxing and beneficial, you can feel your body is thankful for this hour that you just gave it to revitalise. My favourite treatment is the body message, where they ask about your daily routine and then get the best oil to fit your needs. I feel fantastic after and ready to go, go, go!”
Saffie Ng arrives in advance of a catwalk show where she’ll be seated front row and look very much the glamazon. But before striking a pose all evening for the photographers, she opts for a mountain-view room and tries the Five Element Aroma Facial and the Five Element Aroma Massage.
After her treatment, she says, “The massage is very relaxing, I really enjoyed it. After 10 minutes I was totally into the comfort zone. It wasn’t until I was told to flip to the other side that I realised I’d fallen into deep sleep! It’s pretty self-explanatory how relaxed I was. I really enjoyed the experience of peace and pampering, it is my escape from the hustle and bustle of the modelling, teaching [yoga] and personal training life.”
Sipping green tea, she continues, “What I like the most about this massage experience is that the therapists consult with me on my body status and feelings before we start. I like this unique personal experience. I had to fill in a small questionnaire to determine my element of the day. Then the massage therapist analysed and chose what is suitable for my mental and physical needs.”
Spa facials, treatments and massages are not just for pampering and superficial aesthetic purposes; they can also provide a deeply healing exercise. Ng explains how she relied on good massages after a bad accident.
“Since my motorcycle accident a few years ago I’ve been suffering from scoliosis, although yoga helps to ease the pain of my crooked back, it’s still an ongoing discomfort. I’ve been training and running a lot recently –my back and lower half have received a lot of pressure and I’m constantly exhausted. So when the therapist asked which part needed attention, without hesitation I said my bottom half is calling for help. She asked me in the beginning so that she could provide the right amount of pressure and knew exactly what I needed.”
One of the greater appeals of the spa is its location, far from the concrete jungle, with both girls saying they feel they’re in a distant resort surrounded by verdant vistas. “I’m quite excited to know there is a place in Hong Kong where I can get away from the busy city and relax in the countryside” says Tsui. “From the moment I arrived, I could feel the stress melt away.” Ng continues in the same vein: “The spa is spectacular and beautifully decorated. The view from my room was gorgeous, I felt serene and calm as I stepped inside.”
As the girls leave, we ask them if they’d come again. “Of course,” is the unanimous answer. While Ng wants to try the Ho-Leaf and Rosemary Muscle Melt, Tsui wants a booking after her European trips. “Yes, I definitely want to go back, especially after fashion week. Six-inch heels on Parisian cobblestones is painful. Can you help me book a suite?” Sure.