ESPA has over 350 spas in 55 countries and there is now one in Singapore which opened for business at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) on Friday, 6th July 2012.
I was curious with regards to what they had to offer which sets them apart from the other spas in Singapore so I decided to book an appointment on their 4th day of operations…
Pathway from Equarius Hotel leading to ESPA.
Another look at the entrance to ESPA…
Congratulatory floral baskets could still be found outside the entrance to the reception area during my visit.
The reception area is spacious and looks inviting. I love the neutral colours and the use of wood on the ceilings!
There’s also an area opposite the reception counter where they sell their spa products.
As I approached the reception counter, I was welcomed by a pleasant, mild-mannered gentleman, Victor Rinaldi, who seemed to know my name without me having to tell it to him! All I said was “I have a reservation…”.
Mr Rinaldi then asked me to have a seat on one of the comfy chairs by the side where he carried out the spa registration procedures, finding out if I have any special requirements, any medical conditions which they needed to be aware of, etc…
Whilst in the midst of registration, a lady served me with a cold towel and a welcome drink which had aloe vera bits in it.
I asked if I could take pictures around the spa but was told that in order to protect the privacy of the spa’s guests, photo-taking isn’t allowed inside the spa. But what if the place happened to be empty (i.e. no one else there but me)? Can I take pictures then? The answer was still a flat NO. 😦
The only photos I was allowed to take were of the reception area. Here’s a partial look at the spa’s compound (taken from the reception).
A lady attendant escorted me into the spa and showed me around the facilities. I learnt there were separate sections for men and women, which meant the changing rooms and the saunas are separated by gender.
The outdoor pools and the tea lounge are shared facilities so you may meet members of the opposite sex there. Make sure you bring your swimwear along if you intend to use the outdoor facilities!
Lockers are available in several separate sections along the same corridor and I was assigned a locker number but the lady attending to me had problems locating it as she said the place was still new and she wasn’t familiar with where all the lockers were yet! We wandered into several locker areas before finding mine which was located at the other end of the corridor.
Each locker contains a face towel, bath towel, bathrobe, slippers, hangers and a compartment to place your jewellery. You’ll need to set your 4-digit password on the locker’s combination lock. I was handed this bracelet to wear on my wrist so that I wouldn’t forget my locker number.
There are private changing rooms with a hugh seat inside!
Bathrobe and slippers.
A different lady attendant then helped me to locate the saunas as the place had many corridors and not many signages so it required some time to get familiar with the directions.
Hammam – This is a Turkish bath and you’ll need a therapist with you in order to try the treatment in this room which is heated.
Photo Credit: © 2012 RWScoop
Crystal Steam – There is a huge crystal rock inside the room and if you wear spectacles, they will fog up immediately when you enter. I stepped in during my “orientation tour” but eventually didn’t try it cos I didn’t have enough time.
Photo Credit: © 2012 RWScoop
Rock Sauna – The interior is all wooden from the floorboards to the four wooden platforms tiered at different levels like bleachers. The temperature gets hotter as you climb higher up. I only tried the first and second levels and had to lay a towel on the wood at the second level else it was too hot to sit or lie down. There are hourglasses in the room which are 15min timers but I gave up after 10min as I am not a huge fan of saunas and the heat was getting unbearable. You’ll get a view of the Rock Pool from this room. Note that you’ll need to remove all your jewellery and spectacles before you begin as they will get heated up! My glasses were left by the side and even after 10min, the metal parts of my spectacle frame were burning hot!!
I was informed that this particular sauna can help if you suffer from water retention as most bathers will perspire more copiously. I spent 10min in there and not a single drop of perspiration left my body! Hmm…is that a good sign?
Photo Credit: ESPA brochure
There are showers and ice located just outside both the Crystal Steam room and Rock Sauna, which you can use to cool yourself down after the “heated experiences”.
Hot Pool – This is a heated pool with 4 different gadgets to try out! All 4 are activated by a button to turn them on and you’ll need to press the button again to turn them off else they will keep running.
Air Tue – This is the first one you’ll see when you enter the pool and it looks like a U-shaped metal cage which you stand in and once activated, will create bubbles all the way from the bottom to the water’s surface. The force of the water being pushed towards you is rather strong and I was trying hard to hang onto the metal bars but got pushed out of the “cage” several times so I gave up! LOL…
Back Massage – There is a long pipe with a spout which will discharge a jet of water for you to give yourself a back massage. There seemed to be a delayed response when I pressed the button so I had to try several times.
Air Recliner – This looked like a metal bench in the water and will produce gentle bubbles when activated.
Body Massage – Another U-shaped metal cage thingy but this one was more gentle than the Air Tue and the bubbles only went halfway up.
Photo Credit: © 2012 RWScoop
Cold Plunge – Located just next to the Hot Pool, the water was really cold (especially after you’ve taken a dip in the Hot Pool). I only went in waist deep, then decided to step out and head for the onsen pools! Haha…
Forest Onsen Pools – There are 2 pools located side-by-side and the lady attendant told me that both are also heated but the water in larger pool is much hotter than in the smaller one. I asked if the temperature of the water was as hot as that in the real Japanese onsens but she wasn’t sure as she hasn’t tried the pools yet, so both of us reached down to touch the water to get a feel and I concluded that the onsens in Japan are much hotter.
The landscaping done in this area really resembles the outdoor baths found in Japan and there is water cascading down from the rocks to resemble mini waterfalls. It’s a nice spot to relax in as the pools are surrounded by flowering trees and there was even a butterfly which fluttered over my head whilst I was lazing in the smaller pool!
Photo Credit: © 2012 RWScoop
As there are no clocks around the spa’s facilities, the lady attendants said they would inform me 10min before my scheduled massage time so that I could get ready. However, this did not happen and by the time I went back indoors and asked for the time, it was 5min before my treatment and I didn’t have much time to change, shower and dry my swimwear. 😦
I was introduced to my therapist Cynthia and she led the way to the treatment rooms which were located at the upper level. We entered one of the rooms where I was asked to first sit on the chair at the far end of the room, then she knelt on a cushion on the floor and proceeded to ask me questions like what kind of pressure do I prefer for the massage and which fragrance oil I preferred (there was a choice of 2 difference fragrances and one had a stronger aroma) for the treatment (mine was a 60min aromatherapy massage). I made myself comfortable on the massage bed and the oil was placed in little basin under my face for me to take several whiffs of the fragrance before the basin was placed on the floor and the massage began. It was quite soothing and relaxing and I didn’t want it to end…
When my treatment was over, I was ushered to the Tea Lounge to have some water.
Entered through the left door and saw a man sitting inside, who was waiting to go for his treatment.
The Tea Lounge looks out to the Forest Onsen Pools. It’s a nice view but if you are having a soak in the onsen pools, do note that there may be people “watching” you from behind that wall of tinted glass.
Be careful of which door you take to exit from the Tea Lounge as the different doors will take you to the different changing areas (ie. male/female). I exited from the door which I had entered from earlier and found that the passageway led to the men’s changing area. I was told that I had to exit from the other door in the Tea Lounge (i.e. the door on the right) to get to the ladies’ changing area. Hmm…will probably need to take a few visits to get familiarised with the maze of corridors!
One of the lady attendants standing along the corridors then asked me what I thought about the facilities at the spa. She said she wasn’t used to these facilities being available at the spa as the concept is relatively new to her!
My thoughts about the spa:
The place looks nice and the staff were very attentive, even helping me to disrobe and hang my bathrobe on the hooks on the wall when I went for the Rock Sauna. However, most of the lady attendants seemed to be more conversant in Mandarin cos when I asked them in English to explain a little further about some of the spa’s facilities and their health benefits, they had problems expressing themselves but when they switched to Mandarin, I received perfect explanations.
Overall, I was quite impressed with the facilities as not many spas in Singapore have additional facilities which you can use before/after your massage treatments.
Up until this point my favourite spa is one which is located at the other end of Sentosa island but this place can certainly be a new favourite for me (but it’s rather pricey). I think ESPA at RWS can certainly give all other spas in Singapore a run for their money once their staff get more familiarised with the spa’s layout and facilities.
Treatments 10am – 8pm Daily
Spa Facilities 9am – 9pm Daily
Gymnasium 8am – 10pm Daily
For appointments and enquiries, call +65 65778880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org