CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La
From the moment you enter the hotel, via a private lower-ground entrance, you feel the sense of exclusivity. You’ll leave the central city location and enter in to a calming eastern influenced wellness journey. The spa is on the 5th floor of the hotel, where I promptly made my way. As you come out of the elevator you’re greeted by the relaxing sound of running water. The dark lit hallways elevate the sense of calmness.
I made my way in to the reception area where I was warmly greeted to the spa. Although I was running a little late for my appointment there was no acknowledgement of this by the receptionist and she proceeded as if we had all the time in the world. Exactly what I’d expect from a high-end spa.
After ‘checking-in’ I enjoyed a brief wait in the common lounge area. Although seemingly small, it’s purposely designed as such to be used exclusively by spa goers ahead of and after their treatments, which are staggered at any given time. As soon as you enter the spa area (from the moment you exit the elevator) you’re transported in to a ‘chi’ eastern ambience. The lounge and rooms build on this. The lounge offers guests light snacks, including delicious ginger chocolates and honey ginger tea. The combination was a hit!
I didn’t wait long before my massage therapist Rob greeted me in the lounge and we made our way down the dark lit hallway to our private treatment room complete with private spa bath, fireplace, shower and bathroom. The self contained treatment rooms allow guests to settle in and enjoy complete privacy.
Rob gave me a tour of the room and talked me through the treatment routine he often follows, asking me if that suits or if I’d like to customize. I stuck with what he does best. CHI spa has many essential oil blends locally created for them, for use during massages. I chose the ‘yang’ blend for my treatment.
The temperature in the room and the bed was perfect. It was by far one of the most comfortable massage beds I have experienced. I was pleased that Rob added shoulder pads to elevate my shoulders for the massage. Several spa’s do not do this and I have to request as I truly think it’s essential to get a complete back massage without putting too much pressure on your shoulders. I also find it adds to my complete relaxation.
Rob spent the next 50 minutes delivering an exceptional full body massage. I generally have aches and pains from picking up and running after my 18 month old son and so tend to go with deep tissue massages to really get to knots. For this treatment I let Rob decide the pressure and massage areas he felt needed attention. Taking the less intense route, I was really able to relax and enjoy being pampered. My calves thanked me. My neck thanked me. My body thanked me.
Most places don’t do this and usually I have to prompt but I was delighted that Rob ended the treatment with a short but intense head massage. This is the icing on the cake for me. I can’t have a full body massage and leave without a head massage!
Outdoor pool and hot tub
Following my treatment I decided to make use of the outdoor pool and hot tub. You have access to the amenities in your room after your treatment, including a shower. Since I decided to take a dip in the pool, I moved over to the fitness side of the spa where there’s a gym, changing rooms, restaurant and access to the outdoor pool. When I return to the spa, I’d book a couples massage and make full use of the 600sq ft suite for couples, including spa bath for two.
The changing room has all of the items you’d expect: experience showers, steam room and private lockers. After a quick change I took a short walk to the outdoor patio area. As you’ll recall the spa is on the 5th floor which means the outdoor patio really brings you back in to the downtown city high-rise landscape you just transported from over an hour ago.
Luckily I got to experience the pool and hot-tub in private for the next 30 minutes. A great way to end my experience at the CHI Spa, Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver.
Take the time to enjoy a spa bath following your treatment. I was slightly pressed for time but after seeing the rooms, I’ll be back.
Plan to take your bathing suit and use the outdoor pool and hot-tub. There’s something cool about taking a swim surrounded by skyscrapers. The vantage point gives you a really different perspective of the city. I also think that time in the hot tub followed by a quick refreshing swim completes your wellness experience and invigorates the body.
If you don’t usually request a male massage therapist I encourage you to be open to trying one. I always say no preference when making a booking but if you generally request a female you may be pleasantly surprised by the pressure and flow of a male therapists service.
-Jackie, WSR Editor