As a traveller, I am someone who mostly likes to laze around on holidays, with wellness at the fore. A spa treatment or two, to soothe my frayed city nerves is therefore always on my mind. So, when we booked in a 4-night stay at the Shangri-La Maldives last month, the one thing I was most excited about, other than the emerald of the Maldivian islands, was the world-famous Chi spa, that Shangri-la is known for.
Putting up at Shangri-La would mean us taking another flight out of the Maleto Gan International Airport, and then proceed to the resort in a speedboat. The private island resort of Villingili is quite literally on the edge of the world. The feeling of isolation it brings about is unparalleled.Through my stay, I did not see another soul unless I left my villa. Not from my sun deck, not from the hammock, not from the open-to-sky shower, nor the living or bedrooms, the sink-in silence of high-end luxury ringing the loudest.
A tranquil state
Like every other facility at the resort, the spa too was as grand and as welcoming as it could get. Spanning over 16,700 sq. m, the secluded sanctuary is its own spa village within the resort. Eleven spacioustreatment villas offer the CHI signature‘spa within a spa’ concept, featuring private treatment rooms, lounging areas, steam rooms, outdoor gardens and bathing facilities along with two meditation pavilions and a yoga pavilion with views overlooking the Indian Ocean. The spa village is surrounded by the island’s own dense vegetation, which sets it apart from many of the other Maldivian resort islands.
I was offered a soothing cup of gingertea, while I pored over the spa menu. The extensive CHI menu featuressignature therapies such as theHimalayan Healing Stone Massageand the Mountain Tsampa Rub based on the ancient healing traditions ofthe mystical Himalayan region. Inthe Maldives, natural indigenous ingredients and products like coconut and cowrie shells feature in a number of exclusive therapies highlighting the local culture of the islands.
I signed up for the 60-minute Kandu Boli Ritual, which is a body and face massage, in which larger tiger cowrie shells are used to apply pressure. At the start of the massage, my masseur sung me a little song, which she explained was part of my getting into the zen state. Over the next 60 minutes, herfingers worked like magic on my body,having located the exact pressure points, and I could gradually feel my city self surrendering to her warm expertise. As the treatment progressed, I slipped in and out of slumber, to the rejuvenating sound of the Indian Ocean, a view my eyes were lapping up from the spa bed. The treatment finished with warm coconut oil drizzled through the hair followed by a soothing scalp massage. I slept for a straight two hours after the treatment, and woke up fresher than I had in a long, long time, just in time for some golf lessons at the resort, that boasts the only nine-hole golf course in the whole of the island nation.
Late into the evening, as I lay star gazing on the hammock above the azure waters with baby sharks and champagne for company, I felt a sense of calm, I hadn’t experienced in a long time. Guess that’s what paradise, (that to me is Maldives), does to you!