"A perfect hidden gem for those busy people who want a bit of a pamper at lunchtime, yet still need to make that 2pm meeting."
I detest being in a rush, but so often it seems like I just can't help myself! Like all busy Wellington women (and men too) there's just never enough time to get everything I need to do done and then equally properly relax to take time out for me. Stress can creep up and, I'll admit, it's been a big issue for me, trying to learn to ACTUALLY switch off and unplug from my iPhone.
One thing I've always loved since I was youngster is 'Spa' treatments. I used to play Spa's with my friends where we would put our feet into some warm water and wear dressing gown's, pretending to be 'ladies', getting facials and manicures. The upside of being an adult is that I can go and do this IRL now - just because I feel like it (Hurrah!). A bit of a pamper always get's me feeling energised. I also need to watch my pennies so I try and be conscious about cost if I do get something done.
Intercontinental Wellington was kind enough to suggest I might like to try one their 30-minute express treatments. Their Spa is only 4 months old so they were keen to see what I thought. I was very happy to oblige, particularly after a wonderful experience with them earlier this year.
The Hotel Spa area is hidden behind large wooden doors on the second floor, like a wee sanctuary taking you away from Wellington everyday life. While small, it is perfectly formed. It feels more like a very luxurious bathroom than a commercial spa. The interior is all spot on, from the marble floor to the gold tiles. Note to self: gold tiles must be part of my home if I ever get to redecorate a house. I had the option of putting on a robe too which for me felt like a no-brainer. I love the little slippers.
My chosen treatment was the 'Foot and Leg Revival'. First, a basin was filled with warm water. Then a bowl of ginger added while my tootsies soaked. Next, a coffee scrub was applied to my feet, ankles, and calves. It was sumptuous to have someone just gently scrubbing the skin (although I appreciate everyone feels differently about people touching their feet). Coffee scrubs are just divine (also nice not to have to deal with the mess they make!)
The two women who were attending to myself and my friend Megan (who joined me) were very relaxing and knowledgeable about the products and their effect (they use Sothy's, a French Spa brand). While talking came naturally, I never felt pressured or like I was being forced to talk, which is great if you just want to veg out and be quiet.
Finally, a hydrating gel was applied with aloe-vera. Our feet were dried and we were directed to a little waiting area with herbal tea, dried fruit, and nuts where we could natter and decide what to do next. I couldn't believe everything was done in just 40 minutes. At the same time, I felt like I had been away for days.
But there was more than just the treatment to the experience. I let myself go and imagined I was an heiress or a business founder, on a major business trip, staying in this hotel. Hotels, with their well-mannered staff and extreme floral arrangements, allow us to pretend to be someone else, even for a short time. It's the chance to day-dream, to pretend to be someone else - a burst of escapism. Salon's aren't quite the same as hotels.
The range of treatment's on offer meant picking just one was very tricky. I will certainly be back to try the 'Milk, Salt or Aromatherapy Candle Lit bath' (I am OBSESSED with baths - the major downfall of my flat is the lack of bath). Priced between $45 - $80, the treatments are a great and affordable way to just de-stress in a short period of time. They also offer a neck, back and shoulder massage, an express Southy's facial, express mani and pedi's, a scalp treatment and warm hair mask, and a massage with hand and foot mask. To say these sound appealing would be an understatement.
The Intercontinental Hotel Spa is a perfect hidden gem for those busy people who want a bit of a pamper at lunchtime, yet still need to make that 2pm meeting. I would highly recommend checking it out (remember to turn your phone off!).