SpAn­iSh OA­SiS

Seren­ity is built into The Spa at Man­darin Ori­en­tal, Barcelona, thanks to its tran­quil de­sign and tra­di­tional ther­a­pies, as Cathy Wagstaff dis­cov­ers.

Signature Travel & Lifestyle - - Travel & Style -

There are some places that have an ef­fect on the spirit sim­ply by virtue of be­ing there, but few have in­flu­enced me quite as quickly as The Spa at Man­darin Ori­en­tal, Barcelona.

Upon en­ter­ing the subter­ranean space, an oa­sis un­derneath the mid-20th­cen­tury avant-garde lux­ury of the ho­tel above, my breath­ing slows, my mind qui­etens and my heart­beat be­comes a con­scious fo­cal point.

This is the ge­nius of pa­tri­cia Urquiola, the Mi­lan-based Span­ish in­te­rior de­signer, whose cel­e­brated min­i­mal­ist phi­los­o­phy stretches from the top-floor pent­house Suite above to this serene re­treat in the heart of the Cata­lan cap­i­tal. While the ho­tel is all about light – guests en­ter through a glass-crowned, white-walled atrium on a walk­way sus­pended over pol­ished black tiles – here the vibe is dark and sen­sual. The black ceil­ing over a jade-green pool that wouldn’t be out of place in a Bond vil­lain’s lair is soft­ened by wooden floor­ing.

in the two ori­en­tal suites de­signed for Thai mas­sages, there are spa vi­tal­ity pools, fu­tons and flow­ing flo­ral wall­pa­per in shades of gold, choco­late and cream.

Spa sen­sa­tion Man­darin Ori­en­tal is renowned for its Sig­na­ture Spa Ther­a­pies, in­vok­ing the group’s rich Asian her­itage re­gard­less of where its ho­tels are in the world. The treat­ments, each one hour and 50 min­utes long, were de­vel­oped in con­sul­ta­tion with Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Medicine and aro­mather­apy spe­cial­ists, de­signed to rid the body of any­thing that might block en­ergy and re­store equi­lib­rium. For those seek­ing un­par­al­leled in­dul­gence, the Mas­sage Ex­ec­u­tive pro­grammes of­fer re­ju­ve­na­tion over a full day, but for me, pre­par­ing to board a flight back to Aus­tralia later today, a lit­tle bit of bal­ance is ex­actly what i need.

i slip off my shoes with grat­i­tude as i fill out a ques­tion­naire tak­ing stock of how i’m feel­ing and what kind of en­ergy blocks might be stand­ing in the way of my to­tal well­be­ing.

i’m glad i’ve ar­rived the rec­om­mended 45 min­utes ahead of my ap­point­ment to take ad­van­tage of the steam room and re­lax­ation area, both sleek, low-lit havens de­signed to van­quish any fi­nal wor­ries that have man­aged to linger.

When it’s time to shower and wrap my­self up in a robe in time for my treat­ment, i’m al­ready in a state of bliss. Dur­ing the cer­e­mo­nial wash­ing of feet with pep­per­corns and salt, my ther­a­pist alerts me to an im­bal­ance of yin and yang in my sys­tem.

An ori­en­tal merid­ian mas­sage with cus­tom-blended essen­tial oils is just the thing, she says, to bring me back to a state of equi­lib­rium and op­ti­mal state of well­be­ing.

i couldn’t agree more, be­cause when the knead­ing ends, the Ti­betan chimes sound and it’s time to tran­si­tion back over a steam­ing cup of tea, i’m feel­ing like my­self again – just the ver­sion of me that’s ready to take on the world (and a long-haul flight).

Travel file www.man­dari­nori­en­tal.com/barcelona

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