Vancouver’s spas offer a realm of different pricings, treatments and services. Few would debate that the A list starts with the Shangri-La Hotel’s CHI, renowned for rolling out the red carpet treatment for each and every one of its clients.
The journey begins before you visit the spa when a brief questionnaire is filled out to determine your element, which will influence your treatment. The CHI Spa therapies are based on the Five Elements Theory, in which Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth need to be balanced to harmonise with your body’s Yin and Yang. Once your element is determined, certain scents and treatments are employed to balance your Chi.
Arriving at CHI, you are immediately transported into another mindset, your daily thoughts and stresses diminished as you inhale the aromatic scents and observe your surroundings of Asian-style furnishings, made with teak and bamboo. Your therapist will great you and escort you to one of the private suites for you treatment. There are no communal change rooms; each room is fully equipped with a soaker tub, steam and shower, fireplace, bathroom and change area. There are closets to hang your clothes and luxurious cashmere robes to change into. Couples can book the 79 square foot couple’s suite, but even the single suites are roomy at 42 square feet.
CHI offers many treatments to restore a more youthful you. The body wraps are fantastic; try the one-hour CHI Skin Polish, an exfoliation with mineral salts and citrus oils that will remove dry skin, stimulate the lymphatic system and encourage the body’s flow of, well, chi. If time permits, book four hours for the Vitality Ritual, which includes an aromatic bath or steam shower, a rub, mud wrap and healing stone massage. Many of the massages begin with a steam shower and ritual foot washing, which leave you completely relaxed so you can enjoy your massage even more. There are also yoga sessions, excellent facials, and top of the line pedicures and manicures, so your outside you looks as good as your insides feel.
The therapists are precisely tuned into your needs. Selected for their calm mindset and healing powers, they never just go through the motions: There’s a genuine sense of care that comes with each treatment. When you go from one step to the next — for instance, shower to massage table — a small bell is rung to remind you. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t be summoned in this way in our day to day life.
Post-treatment, you’ll be in no hurry to rush back to the real world. And why bother rushing? Stay for CHI’s “Authentic Spa Cuisine” and ease back into the reality that will eventually face you. Based on your element once again, the hotel chefs cook up a plate of delicious and healthy cuisine. If you are lucky enough to be Earth, an element of peace and harmony, they recommend salty and sweet foods and currently serve a poached ahi tuna with organic quinoa alongside a pear, apple and ginger juice. (That said: All meals are equally tasty.) Champagne is also an option for those who need still another sedative.
Once your chi is restored you’ll return to the world able to deal with the stresses far better. And after CHI Spa, you will certainly be in balance. 1128 West Georgia Street, 604 695 2447.
Image courtesy of Shangri-La Hotel.