Jul 29, 2009

Review: Swedish massage at Mystic Salon & Spa, Delhi

If the road – it’s a lane actually -- leading to Mystic Salon & Spa is a disaster, the therapy, which lasts for the next one hour, is just the divine intervention that’s needed. It’s a place that doesn’t disappoint. It’s a spa centre that ensures you a very polite staff, a gorgeous ambience and a luxurious setting in the midst of a maddening, bustling lane. It helps that the windows are close to 80 per cent — if not more — soundproof, it certainly helps that the rooms are plush, complete with a very Zen-like feel and immediately inviting. In short, it’s clean, rich without being overtly opulent and very, very inviting.
Having gone there just a few days ago, I found myself gazing at the vast menu of therapies that the spa offers. I took another 30 minutes to make up my mind; wondering if I should opt for Ayurveda, Thai massages or just stick to reflexology. The centre also offers other regular salon services, by the way.
I decided on the traditional Swedish massage, a heady therapy, which, according to one of the staff members at Mystic, was the best. Decision made, I was then led to the first floor of the spa where, after getting served a cool bottle of mineral water, I was staring at one of the most beautiful rooms of the space. A special mention about the interiors of the place: It was large and spacious with spectacular wooden flooring that broke into little pebble-stone islands. There were faux palm trees, a bamboo plant (to further add to that Zen-like tranquility), Jacuzzi area with luxurious Grohe fittings, a therapy bed on which – unfortunately — a wilted carnation greeted me.
Anyway, Maria, my therapist, got down to the business of kneeding different points which, in my case especially, are inflicted with stress knots. What she used was orange-flavoured oil, which had extracts of – what else – orange and what I suspected, even a hint of pepper. This feels warm on your body and is especially suited for those who are prone to dry skin. Actually, I was impressed that Maria, looking at my skin, could immediately tell it was dry. However, I do wish spa therapists – in different centres, and not just Mystic – specifically ask clients if they’re at all allergic to certain oils.
The massage felt blissful but my only concern was the Maria’s hands, though deft and soothing, were very soft on the massage. No, it felt right but considering the bundle of knots and draining energy filled inside the body, a good, firm massage was really what I’d needed. She slid and grasped and twisted and turned – gently, very gently – different parts of my body that one almost felt the rhythm in her hands. Working her way from head-to-toe, which is the main aim of this therapy, Maria tackled the neck, arms, shoulders, legs and feet and the soles of my feet, back with unequivocal ease. I even muttered, “Bless you” a dozen times, I think.
Smelling like one large, humungous orange, Maria, with her gentle smile, rounded off the 45-minute therapy with a head massage. “It’s complete,” she said finally while I struggled to rise from the most blissful stupor. In 45 minutes of surrendering myself for the massage, I’d journeyed into luxury and a state of calm, all at once. A quick shower and change and a steaming cup of frothy cappuccino with no one, just silence and a room where a faint fragrance of the orange essential oil filled the air, I was geared to face the madness of the outside world all over again.

45-minute Swedish massage treatment. Price: Rs 2,800

Jul 18, 2009

Ri Kynjai Resort, Shillong

For all the rot — and I put that gently — that’s going on in my personal and professional life, it was nice to smile at the thought of running away to a spa resort for, if not 30 days, at least the weekend. Working Saturdays, preoccupation at home and much more has meant very little “me” time in terms of trying out new therapies. It’s also meant little time to write on SPAlendor.
Though it isn’t likely that I’ll take a vacation anytime soon (I could opt for Westin, Sohna), I thought it’s the right time to talk about Ri Kynjai, this beautiful resort that is tucked away in the Khasi hills. The resort is 20 kms away from Shillong and when I read about it (I think it was in LivingEtc, a design and interiors magazine), I simply knew that I should pass on the information to SPAlendor readers.
Ri Kynjai, the resort’s website will tell you, translates from Khasi as “land of serene environs”. While the architecture is inspired and derived from the original Khasi thatch huts, the resort, spread over 45 acres and one that weaves three architectural styles into a harmonious whole, combines convenience and luxury together.
To get to the resort, you’ll find yourself meandering through groves of majestic pine trees, lush paddy fields, small organic tea and vegetable gardens and find accommodation in the very distinctive hybrid cottages, most of them overlooking the waters of Umiam Lake.
I was particularly fascinated with this nugget of information: Ri Kynjai has a tie-up with the Shillong Golf Course — for guests who prefer to play — which is the second oldest in Asia.
Moving on to their therapies (I’m sorry, I don’t have the prices for any of them) I love the fact that the resort engages in traditional Khasi curative massages. The two main therapies are said to have been derived from ancient massages, developed by the Khasi tribes who firmly believe that these therapies are a “gift of god”.
Khem Tynrai (traditional khasi curative massage) is elaborate and it seeks to streamline and disentangle the circulatory system of the body that may have been knotted due to mild injuries, stress and myriad of other factors. It also removes residual joints and body aches. This massage aims at natural detoxification and is followed by the traditional Khasi bath which is essentially hot water fomentation and water massage.
The therapy starts with a vigorous massage using “Umwai” or Khasi herbal oil mixed in either mustard or olive oil.
Time 60 minutes
* Masseurs here suggest that guests should engage in three sessions to experience the therapeutic benefits of the massage

The other massage is Khem Jah Thait and deals with the general toning of muscles and enhancing circulation with olive or pure sesame oil. The technique here is different in the sense it is a specialized pressure point massage unique to this region.
Time 60 minutes
• Room tariff (inclusive of breakfast) for a vernacular Hybrid cottage:
Rs 8,000
• Superior room: Rs 5,000

• Cost excludes government tax of 20%

Contact: Ri Kynjai Resort, Umniuh Khwan
U.C.C Road Ri Bhoi, Meghalaya
email: info@rikynjai.com; rikynjai@yahoo.co.in
mobile: + 9862056192/47471
website: rikynjai.com
Picture courtesy Ri Kynjai