If you haven’t read this week’s The Good Life, then fast forward two pages and absorb our columnist’s views on what makes the perfect spa experience. This review is an essential aside to the column. It’s not that I’m a “hard-charging pitta” type, but I must state right off the bat that I am a little cynical about the lasting effects of an hour-long session of pummelling and pasting.
I kept those feelings aside for an interlude at the Clarins Skin Spa. Located inside the Parcos cosmetic gallery in South Mumbai, the Spa is a tiny space that has been carved out of the upstairs portion of the store. Within the 650 sq. ft area are two treatment rooms, Tulip and Orchid, where clients can get a series of treatments from the Clarins menu. The facial and body treatments use specialist plant extracts from various countries; for instance, Pueraria Lobata, known as “the eternally young plant” in Japan, has been used in the facial treatment called Extreme Youth from Kyoto, defined as a Super Restorative Treatment. There are some 11 more treatments along those lines with plant extracts from across the map, from Bavaria to New Zealand, which extravagantly promise Extreme Youth, Whitening, Light and Extra-firming.
The latest additions to their menu are Le Massages. The Clarins Le Massage is based on the principle of using five parts of the hand—palms, the side of the hand, thumb, lower arm and elbow—to drain, relax, tone, stimulate, ease, soothe, comfort and relieve (phew!). There are four Le Massages on the menu—the Comfort & Well-Being Massage to relax; the Energy & Well-Being Massage to tone, and the deluxe versions of the two. I was picked out for the Energy & Well-Being Massage for Deluxe Toning, which spans an hour and 20 minutes.
The good stuff
Despite the cramped space, the treatment room shuts out the world effectively. Since I was in for a body massage, there were well-appointed disposable articles meant to be worn during the treatment. And, if you’re swinging by for a massage after a day at work, the first tenet of the treatment, The Clarins Welcome—a refreshing foot massage and aromatic soak which suitably relieves your feet—is a great beginning.
The problem is with the other four tenets of Le Massage. For one thing, there’s a good reason why massage tables come with a hoop to put your face through. Unfortunately, the Clarins massage table came with no such accoutrement, and I was forced to uncomfortably switch between left and right to avoid getting a crick in my neck.
My therapist began with a slather of oil from top to bottom. The other four tenets mentioned earlier are The Clarins Warm-up, The Clarins Massage, The Awakening, and Afterward. I was suitably lulled during the Warm-up, when the therapist’s movements were lighter, and despite the fact that she was careless about getting oil on my hair, things were all right. I had a rude Awakening right there during the actual massage, when there were elbows involved in the procedure and, from then on, I simply counted time to finish off the three quarters of an hour that were left on the clock. Definitely not THE massage of massages.
The Deluxe massage costs Rs2,600, while the Relaxing and Toning massages, which last an hour, cost Rs2,400 each.