Review of the Spa at the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong

My ridiculously lovely boyfriend decided to book me in for a half day spa package at The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong on Monday, just "because it's a public holiday." 

So, thanks Labor Day (oh...and the boyfriend of course)!

The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong HK spa massage facial private suite view hong kong harbour

Naturally Peninsula Lunch (included)

I started off with lunch at the iconic Peninsula Hotel lobby (Amanda previously reviewed their famous Peninsula High Tea here) although this is normally offered by the poolside above the spa (we opted to eat in the lobby so my boyfriend, who wasn't a spa guest, could eat with me). The lobby had a beautiful tropical colonial style decor with high ceilings, gold finishings, and a live string quartet playing. 

the peninsula hong kong lobby afternoon tea lunch restaurant

The spa's signature lunch set, known as the Naturally Peninsula menu, was included in the half day spa package, which meant I had a variety of very healthy options to choose from.

Let me stress two words: Very. Healthy.

The menu offered light, nutritious cuisine that uses sustainably sourced ingredients...at the expense of flavour. 

the peninsula hong kong lobby afternoon tea lunch restaurant naturally peninsula set menu
the peninsula hong kong lobby afternoon tea lunch restaurant naturally peninsula set menu

For my starter, I selected the poached scallops with arugula pesto and carrot ginger salsa. The scallops were slightly smaller than expected, and missed the deliciously creamy texture I prefer in my seafood. The "salsa" turned out to be tiny diced carrots, which were rather bland, and the pesto was heavy on the garlic, overwhelming the rest of the dish.

the peninsula hong kong lobby afternoon tea lunch restaurant naturally peninsula set menu

My main was also lacking in real flavour, being the pan fried Kurobatu pork escalopes with celeriac and apple sauce. The pork was cooked well without being too dry, but relied too heavily on the sauce (which was similar in consistency to baby food) for flavour. The small portion of tomato and quinoa under two sprouts of broccoli were well balanced, but the boiled potato slices were unappetizing.

the peninsula hong kong lobby afternoon tea lunch restaurant naturally peninsula set menu

Fortunately, this was somewhat redeemed by the caramelised pineapple with citrus sauce and sherbet, which was sweet but nicely matched by what appeared to be vanilla bean icecream and crunchy caramelised pineapple toffee on top. This was also perfectly complemented by my hot mint tea (included in the set lunch).

the peninsula hong kong lobby afternoon tea lunch restaurant naturally peninsula set menu

Spa Lobby

We had lunch for around an hour before wandering up to the spa, where a welcome drink of ginger, honey, lemongrass and cinnamon (all my favourite ingredients!) was served to us, accompanied by hot towels. The spa interior was an interesting mix of wood and marble touches with large candles flickering along the back wall.

The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong HK spa massage facial private suite view hong kong harbour
The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong HK spa massage facial private suite view hong kong harbour

Private Suite

After filling out a brief consultation form, I was taken upstairs to my private suite. Inside, I was shown the fresh fruit platter next to a reclining chair, and Chinese wooden cabinet with a safe (to lock away my valuables), robe and slippers, and a small fridge with fresh fruit juice and coconut water.

On the amenity table next to this were various haircare products, a dryer and a hairbrush.

The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong HK spa massage facial private suite view hong kong harbour
The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong HK spa massage facial private suite view hong kong harbour

At the front of the room was a large glass window with the spa's signature view of Victoria Harbour, including the Wan Chai Exhibition Centre directly opposite. Tucked against the stunning view was a hot tub with a jacuzzi function, which the spa therapist turned on for me as soon as we entered the room. The tub was perfect for my size, meaning I could stretch out fully and just touch the end. Within reach of the tub was a bottle of Evian water and a bowl of pink sea salt (to be used in the tub, not your drink), along with flowers known as the Hong Kong Orchid (or Bauhinia) floating in a decorative metal basin nearby.

The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong HK spa massage facial private suite view hong kong harbour

Next to the tub is a steam room and shower in one, which the therapist had already turned on for me before my arrival. It was easy to switch between the two functions, although it did take a minute for the steam to evaporate from the shower. The steam room/shower came with a block of marble that you could sit on inside while enjoying the steam function - but keep in mind that the steam all comes out from one pipe vent and directly onto the floor, so you want to keep your feet away from that unless you're a fan of scorching heat!

The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong HK spa massage facial private suite view hong kong harbour

I was left in peace to enjoy the private suite facilities for about an hour - you can see from the quick video tour below what the room looked like.


Massage Treatment

My therapist came back an hour later and guided me through what would happen during the treatment; that is, we would begin with a one hour full body oil massage (both back and front of the body), and finish with a one hour customised facial with an optional leave-in hair mask. I was asked about where I was feeling most tension in my body (erm, everywhere!) and if I had any skin concerns (nope, I'm pretty unconcerned when it comes to my skincare routine, haha).

She then asked whether I had problems sleeping (absolutely!) and what I planned on doing after the treatment (dance and acrobatics *sheepish look*), she picked two body and two facial oils for me to smell and choose from.

The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong HK spa massage facial private suite view hong kong harbour

Then the bliss began. 

The full body massage was relaxing, although I had told her that I would prefer firm pressure (which she complied with on the shoulders, where I had pretty obvious knots). She also frequently checked whether the temperature, lighting, music and pressure was to my liking, but otherwise left me alone in silence to drift into a peaceful state.

The only thing I would say is that having been used to traditional Thai and Chinese massages, I felt that the one hour went by far too quickly without all my knots being fully ironed out. This is, in all fairness, the style of the spas at the top five star hotels: they would prefer the massage be relaxing and reinvigorating rather than a battering of your body into submission (which is what mine often needs).

Facial Treatment

What really impressed me was the time and care my therapist took to examine my face. She pulled out a UV light and explained to me where she felt my skin needed some help: my slightly oily T-zone and my dark under eye circles were her top priority. She felt that the skin texture and tone of the remainder of my face was generally good, but that my cheeks probably could use some exfoliation to help stimulate the growth of new skin. 

I was also pleasantly surprised that she asked me whether I wanted any extractions, after assuring me that they would not be painful and leave me looking red and blotchy. This was a surprise because other hotels such as the Ritz Carlton have a policy of refusing to do extractions, much to my annoyance (see my review of the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong ESPA and my review of the Ritz Carlton Macau ESPA). She also double checked that I was happy for her to use the steam machine on me, which I was.

After the usual cleansing, steam, and exfoliation, she began the extractions. As promised, they were not particularly painful: probably because she only did one or two. Knowing that my skin wasn't really needing extractions, I was grateful that she didn't go overboard and try to squeeze my skin where it wasn't necessary.

The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong HK spa massage facial private suite view hong kong harbour espa

The usual toning and moisturising, as well as shoulder and neck massage was given, along with a hairmask that was surprisingly not as heavy and oily as the one used at the Ritz Carlton (having said that, I still preferred to wash it off that evening before I went to bed, as my fine hair had turned rather limp looking). With a facial mist spritz, I was finished and left feeling relaxed...and wanting more.

Finally, I was then given 15 minutes to freshen up before being escorted from the suite back to the spa lobby.

The half day de-stress spa package cost HK$2,400 / US$310 (excluding 10% service charge) for the 120 minute treatment of massage plus facial. The private spa suite is an extra HK$700. Given that the overall cost included a three course lunch at The Peninsula Hotel and one hour use of the private spa suite, I thought this could be considered value for money. 

While you should manage expectations when it comes to the spa food menu, the view of Hong Kong Harbour will be sure to impress any hardened spa-addict.

The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong HK spa massage facial private suite view hong kong harbour

xx Carmen

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