The entrance to The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA on the 116th floor of the hotel.
There’s a dark side to my job that people often forget about: The deadlines (which are still standing no matter what time zone you’re in), the lack of sleep, the jetlag, the way your body feels after it has flown more than 20 hours from one side of the world to the other. The painful feeling you get along the backside of your legs when within seconds of deplaning a last-minute redeye flight to Hong Kong you have to immediately put on a pair of high heels and go into a business meeting. By the end of day two, you can’t feel your feet and your shoulders are permanently hunched over until someone helps you stand upright. Still, despite the late nights, puffy eyes, dark circles and tight muscles, I wouldn’t trade my job for anything. Especially not today.
With only two days left until opening of the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, the hotel employees and their trainers continue to work tirelessly to pull together the final touches in their departments. We’re currently in the “trial” phases – the middle of countdown where every department goes through trial situations and dry runs as if they were working directly with the hotel guest. To date, I’ve played the role of “guest” at 5 of the 6 restaurants, made use of the laundry service and played the role of first-time traveler to Hong Kong needing recommendations on things to do around the city. Today, however, was the best trial day yet. Today was spa trial day.
I arrived at ESPA, located on the 116th floor of the hotel, and checked in with the reception desk. After filling out a guest consultation form and enjoying a cup of jasmine tea, I was shown to the ladies lounge where I placed my belongings in the pre-assigned locker. The lounge-locker-room itself is small, but does offer a sauna and steam room, showers and vanity tables. Because of the size of the spa – only nine treatment rooms and two couples’ suites – you’ll likely never be cramped in the room but that’s irrelevant, because just on the other side is the relaxation area where you’ll want to spend the majority of your non-spa-treatment time.
The relaxation area is set up with four individual lounge chairs all divided by curtains. Each chair has a view of Hong Kong harbor, a reading lamp and refreshments. Just as I was pulling out my cell phone to check email (a no-no in the spa area that I attempted to get away with), my therapist, Sandy, walked through the doors.
Once in the treatment room, Sandy explained the treatment I was to receive (which was great because since this was a trial day, my treatment was chosen for me based on what the therapist had left to practice). Lucky me, I was getting one of the spa’s signature treatments: the 90-minute radiance facial with a jade stone eye treatment.
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