Wednesday, February 17, 2010 3:05 PM EDT
I am obsessed with this place. Hands down the greatest spa experience I've had to date. I say this in full confidence: Perfection.
You can imagine that perhaps I would be the kind of gal to choose a pampering interlude over lunch/necessities -- I've seen some spas in my day. Perhaps I've not experienced this level of heaven because, I have to admit, it may be a bit more of a splurge than I'm used to, but I know one thing now: I am ruined forever.
When CJ of foodnetwork.ca and I visited Vancouver a little while back, we had the extreme pleasure of experiencing the city's newest luxury property -- and Canada's first Shangri-La property -- The Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver. (The room is another, equally enviable story which will be up for your viewing pleasure shortly, featuring one of my riveting video tours.) These media trips are super fun, but also very hectic, which is why when Communications Director Jill Killeen suggested she check me into Shangri-La's signature Chi Spa, I couldn't even play it cool -- I think I actually jumped up and down.
Drawing upon ancient Chinese wellness practices the design is like a retreat in the heart of an imaginary Eastern jungle. I felt like an orchid -- suspended in perfect humidity, surrounded by exotic fragrant foliage, bathed in earthy tones and dappled light. Upon arrival an otherworldly woman accommodated me in the impeccable little lounge, where I filled out my elements chart. I ended up being "Fire", surprise, surprise, (you can take this same questionnaire online, here), and received an amazing custom-blended tea to enhance my fiery nature.
The actual Tibetan singing bowl in my room, which my attendant put to use.
Following a little nosh on dried berries and fruit, I floated down the hallway into one of the 5 'spa-within-a-spa' rooms -- self-contained rooms that render traditionally shared spa facilities obsolete.
Inside, not a detail is left untended. The decor and accessories bring just as much joy as the treatment; from the brass water cauldron (for washing my feet!), ornate jewelery box and tea set, to the rustic pagoda-inspired trays displaying your crushed flower treatments and exotic extracts, everything is an aesthetic feast. Not a nick is visible, not a string hangs off a towel (because we've all seen that even at high-end establishments.) Even the lighting emerges an art at Chi, where illuminated screens replace walls and light fixtures with one, elegant focal point.
What follows is a hazy cloud of indulgence. Suffice it to say that I could not be happier that Toronto is getting a Shangri-La Hotel, in which will be a version of their signature Chi Spa. Spouses take heed: if your partner likes a touch of luxury in his/her life, gift them a trip to this exquisite establishment. You will not regret giving them your money.
Here are some more tantalizing details from my lucky visit at Chi Spa;
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