We all know and love a good brunch… and recently, we’ve become big fans of the sparty… but let me introduce you to the newest portmanteau you need to learn – splunch! A spa day crossed with a delicious lunch, it perfectly combines two of my favourite things in life – pampering and gluttony.
The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong has just launched its very own take on splunch with a Summer Splash Package, that includes two hours of spa treatments, a sumptuous lunch buffet at Café 103 downstairs and full access to their swimming pool and all their heat and water facilities for the day. Sounds a pretty sweet deal, right?
After a morning dip in the pool, followed by a quick play with the experience shower (Sassy tip: brace yourself for a blast of cold water at first, but the minty Arctic Mist is a winner!), I was then led through the spa’s plush chocolate-y interiors to my treatment room. Given the absolute killer view through the window, it was almost a shame to close the blind for my treatment to begin – but don’t worry, you can lap up that incredible vista (this is the highest spa in the world, don’cha know) in the relaxation lounge later!
The package includes one face and one body treatment – either a 90-minute Radiance Jade Facial and a 30-minute express body massage, or a 90-minute Lava Shell Body Treatment and a 30-minute express facial. Since I’d already tried the blissful Jade Facial before (see my review here) and my stressed-out body was in desperate need of some downtime, I opted for the lava shells.
After a fantastic foot bath – where I was impressed that my legs were treated to a proper scrub and massage rather than the usual perfunctory splashing of warm soapy water – it was onto the bed for my 90 minutes of massaging. The lava shell treatment is essentially a spin on the hot stone massage, except the shells feel much lighter, softer and smoother on your body compared to stones (plus, they look like something straight out of The Little Mermaid – too cute!). The feeling of these little balls of glowing heat rolling up and down my body was amazing, although sadly I think they lose their heat quicker than stones too.
My therapist adeptly picked up on the parts of my body with the most tension – my back, shoulders and neck – and worked these out wonderfully, without ever taking the pressure to uncomfortable levels. I also loved the use of warm, rather than room temperature, essential oils, which left my body feeling even more lissom and relaxed.
Then it was onto my facial. After studying my skin under the UV light (and watching your face start glowing several scary colours), it was decreed I had combination skin – dry and tired in some areas, oily and giant-pored in others. Well, I do like to present my therapists with a challenge! Although I was slightly sceptical at getting a decent facial in just 30 minutes, I was actually really impressed and this easily surpassed longer facials I’ve received. I loved that this felt like a continuation of the massage, with long strong strokes round my face and eye area – super relaxing and stimulating – and of course, the extra head and shoulder massage thrown in while you have a mask applied is always a winner. I felt my therapist did a good job of trying to cater for my combination skin in such a short time, although the ESPA moisturiser may have been a little too rich for me as I had a bit of a breakout the next day.
After that, I could have schlepped around taking advantage of the complimentary refreshments in the relaxation lounge or even headed back up to the pool, but I decided to hit Café 103’s buffet straight away – and you’ll definitely wanna bring your appetite (perhaps skip breakfast!), as a total feast awaits.
I was particularly wowed with the appetiser selection, which included loads of fresh salad options, delicious toppings, roasted vegetables, pickles, sundried tomatoes… basically, everything you could think of! There was also an amazing array of cold-cuts, including beautiful wafer-thin Iberico ham, high quality smoked salmon and heaven knows what else (oh yes, a whole soba station)!
Compared to this, the meagre selection of hot mains was a little disappointing – a roast of the day, a somewhat soggy pasta station and a few Chinese options. Nevertheless, we were back on form with desserts, which had a heavy focus on chocolate (hey, not a problem for me!) – which, given Café 103’s previous incarnation as The Chocolate Library wasn’t surprising. My fave items were actually the non-chocolate items – a summery coconut custard tart – but there is SO much to pick from (make sure to scoop up things that look ornamental, like the mini macarons and chocolate beans!), that you really will be spoilt for choice.
The Ritz-Carlton’s Summer Splash Package costs $1,988 per person – which is actually a pretty amazing deal given that the Jade Facial/Lava Shell Massage normally costs $1,900 on its own! Factor in the express treatment, an unlimited buffet lunch (both a good few hundred dollars each) and full use of the spa facilities and swimming pool and you definitely have one of the best luxury hotel offers out there at the moment. My advice would be to plan your schedule carefully; the buffet starts at 12pm and ends at 2pm on the dot, so make sure you have enough time to take full advantage of both that and the spa facilities and think about how you want to order your day.
Given that I don’t have many days off left for a proper holiday and my boyfriend works unpredictable weekend hours, I can easily see myself booking in for another Ritz-Carlton splunch as a nice, relaxing but still luxurious alternative to a staycation. Come on, let’s make this splunch word stick around!
The Summer Splash Package costs $1,988 (plus 10% service charge) including two hours of spa treatments, buffet lunch at Café 103 and complimentary access to the swimming pool and heat and water facilities. The offer is available Monday-Friday until 30 September 2013.
The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA, The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2263 2040