If you haven’t already heard of Banyan Tree, then it is well past time you acquaint yourself with this five-star brand. Located in Hangzhou’s beautiful and tranquil Xixi Wetlands, Banyan Tree offers its guests unparalleled service in spa, hotel and dining amenities.
I had the privilege of being invited by Lily, the hotel’s spa manager, to experience the newest autumn/winter spa package.As we sat overlooking the hotel’s picturesque lake, Lily explained a little more about the treatment I would be receiving. The unique feature of the treatment is an herbal compress pouch, composed of traditional Chinese herbs like Huangqi (黄芪) and Shi Chang Pu (石菖莆)among others, which relieve muscle pain and stimulate blood circulation while nourishing and moisturizing the skin.
Afterwards, I was shown into a dimly lit and fragrant room where I met Banyan Tree’s master therapist, Dew.A lovely woman from Thailand, Dew was trained at a special academy in Phuket, where she studied various techniques in Thai, oil and herbal therapy.Her years of experience and specialized training was apparent as soon as she began; as she massaged my hands, she asked me what kind of pressure I like, what areas she should focus on, any areas to avoid, and if the music volume was comfortable, and then she walked me through what I would be experiencing. Every little detail was attended to, including the cup of chrysanthemum and goji berry tea, which I had mentioned was my favorite when we had lunch earlier.
Dew was ever skillful as she worked out every knot in by body, including those I didn’t even know I had. The combination of Chinese herbs and hot stones within the pouch was aromatic and soothing, while warming me, as I felt my skin absorb the secret mixture. After the first hour, I felt as though I had slipped into a coma of peace and relaxation. The end of the two-hour treatment included a cold jade stone facial, which was a fresh and invigorating contrast to the warm and relaxing herbal pouch. The cold jade stones were used after each portion of the facial (cleansing milk, toning, exfoliating scrub and massage cream) to tighten the skin, leaving it looking young and refreshed.
Banyan Tree is an oasis within an often polluted and noisy city, and so it was hard to say goodbye after my ultimate afternoon of luxury and relaxation. Located in the Xixi Wetlands at 2 Westbrook Resort on Zijingang Road, the hotel offers parking and is a non-smoking indoor facility. For more information on bookings and pricing you can visit their website at www.banyantree.com