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S I M P LY A B U DH A B I
We didn’t have a chance to eat at the others on this stay – but rest assured that when we
return (and yes, that’s a “when” not an “if”), we will be booking tables on arrival!
After these rich culinary experiences, what we really needed was something deeply
relaxing and restorative. So we were incredibly lucky, then, that the Shangri-La Hotel is
home toCHI, The Spa – an incredibly exciting wellness venue that draws its inspiration
from the origins of the Shangri-La legend (Shangri-La is a mystical valley described by
the author James Hilton in his 1933 novel Lost Horizon). CHI, The Spa aims to be a
place of personal peace and enchantment. We couldn’t wait to experience it!
When we arrived at CHI, The Spa, the friendly staff explained to us the CHI
philosophy – which is to use natural products and recipes, with plants, herbs, minerals
and essential oils from sustainable resources. In traditional Chinese thought, chi is the
universal life force that controls wellbeing and personal vitality. For people to maintain
good health, it is believed that chi must flow freely within the body, and when blocked,
disease and illness follow. Movement is therefore a key element in releasing these
natural blockages. Body massage, exercise, stretching, hydrotherapy and movement
of the mind through relaxation and meditation combine to assist the body’s natural
renewal, and form the basis of CHI spa philosophy. This sounded like an incredibly
powerful and wise tradition to us. We were very eager to see how it would work in
practice.
We were told that CHI massages and treatments are based on authentic natural healing
methods. These methods are found in traditional practices shared within Asian
cultures. Asian massage therapies encompass a huge diversity of different techniques,
but they all share an understanding of the body as an energy system. From Chinese
meridians to Thai Sen and Japanese Ki, many cultures recognise various points and
pathways lying within the body that hold the key to health and vitality.
At CHI you can choose from therapies originating in a whole host of different cultures.
We were especially delighted to find that the spa offers a selection of treatments that
showcase Arabic culture and wellbeing traditions. These include the Hammam, the
Detoxifying Arabic Coffee Scrub, a Sandalwood Scrub, a Rose & Honey Body Wrap,
and the Arabian Date Ritual.
I was fascinated by this range, and was torn between options, but in the end I chose
the Hammam. This steam bath is an ancient traditional therapy with roots in the east.
For centuries, friends would gather at the Hammam, and families would relax after a
day’s work.
The black slate hammam at CHI is stunning: the perfect venue in which to relax,
detoxify and moisturise. Guests recline within the steam on hot stone slabs. The