East Meets East

Hong Kong's Penninsula Spa by ESPA Tea Lounge
The Tea Lounge, where guests' initial consultation take place

It’s clear that The Peninsula Spa by ESPA goes the distance—from the meticulous notes therapists take on guests’ likes and dislikes to ensuring every surface is polished and in five-star order. The carefully edited and maintained environment inspires a feeling of wellbeing and balance.

Codner notes that while the recession was tough—it descended upon Hong Kong in fall 2009—the team managed to weather it by offering seasonal promotional treatments at reasonable rates. One example includes the Two-Weekend Spa Escape package (about $225), an off-season incentive for guests to book two half-day escapes at a time. “We understood that everyone was struggling, so we worked with several credit card companies to create [point-based] promotions, not only to bring in guests but also to show our clients who were going through a tough time that we were all standing together.”

After my treatment, I head to the outdoor pool pavilion and claim an umbrella-covered table that affords an astounding view of Victoria Harbour. As my spa journey’s crowning touch, the waiters bring fresh honeydew juice and selections from the Naturally Peninsula Detox Menu: carrot soup laced with coriander and shrimp, and oven-baked cod with fork-crushed potatoes.

I watch as impossibly good-looking Cantonese movie stars backstroke through the pool, and then turn my gaze to the city and its harbor, filled with modern luxury liners and decades-old Chinese junks. The entire mise-en-scène echoes my day at the spa: East meets East; tradition graces modernity.

Alison Singh Gee is an author and journalist based in Los Angeles.

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