An Au­then­tic Thai Spa Ex­pe­ri­ence The aro­mather­apy mas­sage par­tic­u­larly com­ple­ments the De-Age­ing ses­sion and are threaded to­gether with a com­mon fo­cus of sooth­ing the mind, body, and soul.

HI Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - STORY ANTARA BOSE — HiWeek­end@time­so­fo­

A new spa in town, lo­cated at the Cen­tara Ho­tel Mus­cat in Ghala, is the per­fect place to have an au­then­tic Thai spa treat­ment to de-stress.

Lo­cated strate­gi­cally in the heart of the busi­ness district of Ghala, the Cen­tara Ho­tel Mus­cat is a fresh new take on busi­ness ho­tels. From wel­com­ing trav­ellers from across the bor­der to be­ing the per­fect hub for quick

busi­ness meet­ings, Cen­tara prom­ises

‘some­thing to re­mem­ber’ for all its

guests. I found my area of in­ter­est when their ex­clu­sive spa Cenvaree called out to me.

Greeted with joined hands and a bow, I knew Cen­tara re­ally meant it when they said ‘au­then­tic Thai spa’. With a team of ex­pe­ri­enced all-Thai staff, Cenvaree could proudly boast of hav­ing a range of the finest or­ganic prod­ucts es­pe­cially brought in all the way from Thai­land.

As my ther­a­pist brought in my wel­come drink, the smil­ing spa man­ager ex­plained how hos­pi­tal­ity formed a key el­e­ment of all Thai tra­di­tions. Re­fresh­ing for sum­mers and equally pleas­ing for win­ters, I was served with a glass of cold lemon­grass tea and a face towel as I sat ad­mir­ing the swanky in­te­ri­ors of this newly opened spa. Cenvaree has three sin­gle treat­ment rooms and a much larger cou­ple’s room. With a strange fetish for tubs, a fair sized Jacuzzi at the far end of the cou­ple’s room had me peer­ing in and long­ing to dip my feet in the petal-gar­nished wa­ter.

But I was beck­oned by my own lit­tle hot wa­ter bowl. As I sifted petals with my toes, my masseuse be­gan with gen­tle pres­sure on the sole. There’s some­thing un­de­ni­ably calm­ing

about start­ing the ses­sions this way and I in­stantly knew I was in good hands. An in­ter­est­ing in­gre­di­ent that is said to act as an anti-bac­te­rial agent and which was now be­ing poured onto my feet, was sur­pris­ingly our reg­u­lar black tea (I in­stantly made a men­tal note to try this at home). Cou­pled with a gen­er­ous dose of sea salt to aid in scrub­bing, my feet were now ready to scam­per to the mas­sage bed where a pretty invit­ing lit­tle tray sat wait­ing to en­dow me with all its

in­her­ent heal­ing.

Leav­ing it to my ther­a­pist to de­cide, I was of­fered a De-Age­ing Pas­sion Fruit and Lemon­grass Salt Scrub. No, it wasn’t be­cause grav­ity had got­ten the bet­ter of me, (though I can’t deny that dis­turb­ing thought did cross my mind; clearly ladies and ‘age’ don’t go well in the same line), but be­cause the treat­ment has been a par­tic­u­lar guest favourite. A sym­bio­sis of the most ex­quis­ite fra­grance and stress-re­liev­ing prop­er­ties, this was ex­actly what I needed af­ter a day’s film­ing out­doors. A ho­tel that re­ceives busi­ness trav­ellers from all over, I even­tu­ally re­alised why this par­tic­u­lar treat­ment had be­come a pre­ferred one.

I climbed onto my bed, ea­ger to em­bark on the jour­ney of re­ju­ve­na­tion. The con­coc­tion that re­minded me of de­li­ciously blended caramel cus­tard, was gen­er­ously slathered on and mas­saged in. I could get the fa­mil­iar feel­ing of the sea salt scrub that had tin­gled my feet ear­lier and stretched out com­fort­ably as that same tin­gle took over ev­ery inch of my body. Just that this time, aid­ing sea salt in the scrub was jas­mine rice, giv­ing this oth­er­wise but­tery paste the grainy feel I was so be­gin­ning

to love. Along with peel­ing away dead skin cells, I was told it also boosts cir­cu­la­tion in the body and I’m pretty cer­tain I was ac­tu­ally feel­ing the rush (if it’s not too much of an ex­ag­ger­a­tion). Made with pas­sion fruit, fresh milk, olive oil, and spiked with the sig­na­ture lemon­grass that is found in sev­eral other of Cenvaree’s treat­ments, the De-Age­ing treat­ment goes right to the deep­est lay­ers of the skin, hy­drat­ing it from within. The sweet smell of the pas­sion fruit in­fused with the calm­ing aroma of lemon­grass filled the air. Though the paste ini­tially felt cold against my body, the per­fectly main­tained tem­per­a­ture and gen­tle knead­ing mo­tions of my skilled masseuse made sure I was thor­oughly en­joy­ing the treat­ment. As I lay wrapped in all the good­ness for a few mo­ments, I could feel my skin scream­ing with grat­i­tude. A lit­tle be­yond fra­grances

A quick shower re­vealed ex­actly how well this treat­ment had worked. I mar­velled at the sup­ple­ness of my skin and couldn’t re­sist but run my fin­gers back and forth, tak­ing plea­sure of the smooth­ness it had ac­quired (ex­cuse the van­ity there, please). If left alone, I’m sure I could have been at it for a few more min­utes but the ea­ger­ness of the fol­low­ing aro­mather­apy mas­sage ses­sion led me back to the bed.

The aro­mather­apy mas­sage par­tic­u­larly com­ple­ments the De-Age­ing ses­sion and are threaded to­gether with a com­mon fo­cus of sooth­ing the mind, body, and soul. I men­tally ap­pre­ci­ated the beam­ing spa man­ager’s choice of a cus­tomised pack­age. Con­cen­trat­ing on not just the su­per­fi­cial as­pects of the spa, the ther­a­pists here pay due heed to their guests, draw­ing at­ten­tion to minute de­tails and even an­tic­i­pat­ing their needs.

Con­cen­trat­ing on re­liev­ing stress both phys­i­cally and men­tally, the aro­mather­apy mas­sage com­prised of gen­tle, smooth move­ments, where sore mus­cles are mas­saged with a choice of warm es­sen­tial oils. While I stuck to my new found favourite – the lemon­grass, there are three more equally en­tic­ing op­tions to ex­per­i­ment with. An all-com­ple­ment­ing blend of laven­der, chamomile, and frank­in­cense, to­gether called the ‘re­lax­ing ’ oil seemed like it would be the lo­cal favourite while the lovers of all things flo­ral could go for the ‘royal lo­tus’ es­sen­tial oil. For those look­ing a lit­tle be­yond just fra­grances, skin re­ju­ve­na­tion and re­lax­ation, the last one proved to be an in­ter­est­ing op­tion. In­fused with orange and black pep­per this es­sen­tial oil had anti-cel­lulite prop­er­ties. While this splen­did se­lec­tion of es­sen­tial oils could be used in other mas­sage ses­sions like the Swedish and the Ba­li­nese mas­sage, I reck­oned that the an­ti­cel­lulite es­sen­tial oil would go es­pe­cially well with an in­tense ses­sion of a deep tis­sue mas­sage.

When the singing bowl res­onated sig­ni­fy­ing the cli­max of a truly re­lax­ing ther­apy, I was al­ready plan­ning my next ses­sion. As I sat sip­ping a cup of warm gin­ger tea with honey that was of­fered with some fresh mel­ons, I scanned through their as­sorted spa menu. Cenvaree of­fers a unique se­lec­tion of sig­na­ture spa mas­sages, but it was the Thai Her­bal Ball that par­tic­u­larly caught my spa-greedy eyes.

Fa­mous for its var­i­ous mas­sage tech­niques, the Thai Her­bal Ball Mas­sage ac­corded for one of the most pop­u­lar mas­sages in Thai­land. An as­sort­ment of Thai herbs is warmed, put into a muslin cloth and tied to­gether to make a ball. Spe­cific pres­sure is then ap­plied to tar­geted pres­sure ar­eas with the ball it­self. Though dif­fer­ent tra­di­tional Thai heal­ing cen­tres use vary­ing com­bi­na­tions to make this bliss­ful ball, here we had ex­tracts of gin­ger, lemon­grass, kaf­fir lime, tamarind leaf, and plai of­fer­ing its heal­ing. The mas­sage is fur­ther com­ple­mented with tra­di­tional tech­niques of a Thai mas­sage – a form of mas­sage that re­quires great skill to ex­e­cute cor­rectly.

With pro­fes­sion­als hav­ing over 10 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the field, I cer­tainly had no doubts in their cal­i­bre. My masseuse had proved her­self by tact­fully tack­ling each of my prob­lem ar­eas, re­liev­ing all the ten­sion from head to toe.

As I put down my cup, I had half a mind to make my way back to that Jacuzzi I had missed dip­ping my­self into. It would have been rather nice to have been served this cup of tea while I soaked in the good­ness of bath milk, the tin­gling sea salts (please ex­cuse my ob­ses­sion with the ‘tin­gle’ – it usu­ally lasts for a day) and the sooth­ing aroma of es­sen­tial oils. Hey, there’s al­ways a next time.

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