The Ambience: Harnn Heritage Spa was designed by Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia, known for his environmental and sustainable buildings,, vertical gardens and, most particularly, his modern use of bamboo*..The amazing organic design of the spa is one such creation, the Intercontinental Phu Quoc’s signature Lava restaurant is another.
With a high curving roof and warm golden walls, the design of the main spa pavilion is so sinuous that it is almost like a living thing. The treatment suites are independent villas, ranged around a lotus lagoon filled with coy fish Open-air spaces separated by glass panels shielded with bamboo louvres, blur the line between indoors and outdoors.
The Spa Test : Bamboo Therapy
The Treatment: Signature treatments are inspired by the healing local botanicals of herbs, spices and coconut, along with natural pearl, to give guests a distinct sense of place while at the same time restoring balance. However given the amazing bamboo architecture of the spa I can’t resist choosing the 90 minute signature Bamboo Therapy. This consists of hot bamboo sticks being rolled on the muscles to relieve tension and knots, combined with a more conventional body and foot massage.
Despite being a relatively new massage technique in the Western World, the concept of bamboo massage has been in use for centuries in South East Asia, although nobody is sure which country it originates in. However Vietnam, where the growth of bamboo is rampant, is the perfect place to experience this treatment. Bamboo is considered a ‘Gift from the Gods’ in many Asian cultures and it doesn’t take long before I am feeling truly blessed by the spa gods.
Since the spa is busy (although you’d never know it from the relaxed atmosphere) the spa manager, Chinia, gives me my treatment. A lucky break for me since the talented Chinia is a sublime masseur, intuitive as well as experienced. She alters the treatment according to my needs , somehow homing in on the tensest muscles without my needing to say a word. She combines the warm bamboo treatment with hands-on massage using Harnn products (Harrn originates in Thailand and the products use only the finest botanical ingredients).
Being kneaded by hot bamboo sticks may not sound relaxing but amazingly it is. The feeling is similar to having a hot stone treatment and the use of something organic on the skin rather than human hands adds an almost spiritual dimension to the experience. The massage is supposed to promote circulation, sensory nerve perception, and lymphatic drainage, as well as providing a deep sense of relaxation and well-being – it works for me. Apparently bamboo massage therapy can also help to improve your skin because bamboo extract contains silica, which assists your body in absorbing calcium, potassium, magnesium and other essential minerals that give skin a healthy glow. And by the end I certainly feel that my skin is glowing.
I float out of my private treatment villa feeling as light as bamboo leaves blown by the wind. Post-treatment I relax in the main spa pavilion and sip herbal tea while another therapist helps me sample Harnn spa products by giving me a hand massage with lotions infused with rose, lemongrass and other Harnn delights.
The Result: At the end of this treatment I feel as strong and flexible as bamboo itself. Bamboo is the symbol of gentleness, modesty, and serenity so, who knows, the world could see a completely new and serene me from now on.
There is also a longer 120 minute Bamboo Forest treatment on offer with combines all of the above with bamboo body brushing to gently exfoliate dead cells and stimulate healthy blood and lymphatic circulation.
|Architect Vo Trong Nghia says “bamboo is the green steel of 21st century architecture”. Here are other Vo Trong Nghia bamboo buildings we love: |
Jardines de Mexico restaurant - Cuernavaca, Mexico
Bamboo wing restaurant - Vinhphuc, Vietnam
Eco-resort pavilion - La Vong, Hanoi, Vietnam
Naman Retreat Resort bar - Danang, Vietnam
Wind and Water bar- Binhduong, Vietnam
-Kontum Indochine Cafe - Kontum City, Vietnam www.votrongnghia.com
|Luxury Links: www.phuquoc.intercontinental.com www.ihg.com, www.harnn.com |