Since pre-historic times, our early ancestors believed that bathing in mineral water has curative powers, and is a relaxing way to treat several types of illness. In fact, archaeologists discovered, in areas near hot springs in Europe, some Bronze Age offerings paired with ancient weapons, indicating that there must have been some ritual purifications connected with the presence of these bodies of water.
Historians confirmed tribes from the early civilization believed in the healing and purifying properties of water by indulging in complex bathing rituals. These made people travel long distances just to take a bath in the hot springs, giving rise to the discovery of interesting places along the way, a boost to what was then the start of tourism.
The location of these hot springs gave rise to what we now call a “spa,” which the dictionary defines as a place where mineral-rich spring water is used to give medicinal baths. Some early chroniclers said the name was actually lifted from a town in Belgium with the same name, which had the most popular mineral spring sought after by people from different parts of Europe suffering from various illnesses. Others also said the word originated from “Espa,” a word, in a Belgian dialect referring to a “fountain.”
Whatever the word’s origin is, spas are now very popular all over the globe, frequented by the elite and the upper middle class who are always looking for ways to counter today’s frenetic pace of life. Although the current spa locations may not have natural hot springs where guests can take their thermal baths, entrepreneurs have, nevertheless, opened them up by offering facilities that simulate the rituals that provide the same effects.
Here in the country, any metropolitan area offers many spas to choose from. Many fall below, while a few exceed our standards. It is quite amusing to see the plethora of choices one has. Because of the prevalence of these establishments, I asked myself, “What do I really want from a spa?” Complete relaxation, feeling of rejuvenation, quality facilities and impeccable service come to mind.
The recently launched Conrad Spa seamlessly integrates health and wellness treatments and activities with the panoramic, breathtaking and calming view of Manila Bay and its famous sunset. Its signature treatments in a luxurious setting is deeply rooted to local culture and, if required, may even be availed of together with a healthy cuisine curated by the hotel’s Executive Chef Daniel Patterson.
The facility is serviced by a staff of 16 and is managed by Tanya Talreja, a former local resident, schooled at the local international School Brent, and later moved to Singapore to put up her own company.
Conrad’s wellness facility has six treatment rooms, including two couple rooms with sauna and bath tub for friends or couples who might want to enjoy together the spa’s services. It makes available only indigenous ingredients for a holistic and natural treatment that always results in the ultimate sensory experience.
The Conrad Spa features ESPA products known for its tri-active formulas that contain unique combinations of plant and marine ingredients and essential oils. When asked what other treatments they offer that may be considered out-of-the-ordinary, Talreja quipped that their Milk Bath, patterned after those of the ancient Egyptians, results in a smooth and soft skin. They can also give a Beer Bath, which is European in origin, and is designed to improve circulation.
Since I could not imagine myself bathing in a tub filled with beer, I decided to try out the spa’s regular services, and subjected myself to their popular three-hour treatment. First, I was given a very relaxing whole body massage, loosening up the tense, seemingly knotted muscles from my head all the way down to my toes. This was immediately followed by a facial, which started with a cleansing procedure, using a dual-action Shave Mud, followed by an invigorating face wash. Then my face was exfoliated with a clarifying Skin Scrub, after which the attendant made a firm Mask on my face, ending with a hydrator Moisturizer.
When the entire procedure was over, I never felt so good, so relaxed, so rejuvenated. Certainly, I was on my optimum state of wellbeing. Now I understand why early travelers bravely crossed miles and miles of terrain, even some uncharted territories, just to reach a spa. There’s nothing like feeling fresh and relaxed. With the Conrad Spa within easy reach, I don’t mind making a habit of this “journey to feeling good.”
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