Top 5 luxury massages in Singapore

Top 5 luxury massages in Singapore

Essential kneads

Text: Renée Batchelor

Image: Banyan Tree Spa Marina Bay Sands,
Remède Spa St Regis Singapore

Singapore is known for its luxurious spas, which combine the best of Asian massage techniques with modernity and comfort. The Buro team recommends five massages that hit the spot

A good massage is like food for the soul. It's not just about kneading tired muscles and a good (and much needed) back crack, it's taking the time off our busy schedules for some quiet, pampering me-time. And while we appreciate a good (and cheap) massage as much as the next person, sometimes paying a little more guarantees you a peaceful ambience, luxe surroundings and the added use of facilities like saunas and dipping pools. The Buro team tried five massages at luxury and hotel spas. Find out why these got our seal of approval.

Thai Classic (60 mins, $220)
Banyan Tree Spa Marina Bay Sands

10 Bayfront Avenue, Tower 1, Level 55, 6688-8825
Perched on the 55th floor of Marina Bay Sands, Banyan Tree Spa is a sanctuary unto its own. Stepping into the lobby, I found myself surrounded by warm wood and fragrant incense. I didn't have to wait long before I was ushered to my treatment room, an elegant, modern space backdropped with unobstructed views of the sea. As I pressed a warm towel into my hands, the foot ritual began, with the therapist massaging my legs with a foot scrub made of yoghurt and kaffir lime. Her touch was fabulously firm, a sign of good things to come. As I climbed face-down onto the bed, the blinds were lowered, the light in the room dimmed, and lavender (my choice of essential oil) began to scent the room.

I was eased into the 60-minute treatment with firm, rhythmic strokes lubricated by an in-house blend of almond and bergamot oil infused with vitamin E. As the knots in my body began to break down, she alternated between deep palm strokes and subtle stretching, holding me in positions long enough to give my muscles a good stretch. It was deeply relaxing and she paid extra attention to my neck and shoulders — my key areas of concern. Before the massage ended, she places a warm towel over my shoulders — imitating the warming effects of a hot compress — before giving it a final kneading. With all the tension in my back dispelled, I slept especially well that evening.

I wound down with a shower in the spacious bathroom, well-stocked with amenities from deodorant to hair spray. Little thoughtful gestures like these truly made all the difference. Each treatment ends with a complimentary 30-minute laze at the tea lounge — one that offered hot lemongrass tea, freshly cut fruit, and sky-high views of Singapore. — Denise Kok, Lifestyle Editor

Banyan Tree Marina Bay Sands

Source: Warm Jade Stone Massage (90 mins, $290)

Signature Warm Jade Stone Massage (90 mins, $290)
Remède Spa, The St. Regis Singapore

29 Tanglin Road, 6506-6896 
Unlike most hot stone massages that uses basalt, this treatment uses jade stones for its balancing and healing properties. Said to purify one's energy field, the warm stones helped to loosen my mental and physical tensions, as well as improve my blood circulation. The treatment began with me lying down on a bed of hot jade stones strategically placed to sit comfortably on my back while it emitted heat. This really helped my body to relax, while the therapist, Celine, used gliding massage strokes to gently knead at any tight muscles.

The treatment then ended with cold jade stones on the face and over the body to help tighten the skin back after the warm session. Overall, the treatment was rejuvenating for both the mind and body, and I could feel my bloody circulation improve. I highly recommend this treatment for someone looking for a gentle and calming massage. While deeply relaxing and I had the tight and stubborn knots on my shoulders loosen succesfully using the edge of a jade stone, this treatment is not recommended for those who prefer deep tissues massages that knead away at sore muscles all over the body. I also recommend coming at least 30 minutes earlier to enjoy the spa's Wet Lounge Experience that includes a hydro-massage pool, steam chambers, the Finnish sauna and the heated wave loungers. Or enjoy these after your treatment to take your relaxation to the next level.  — Dora Aljoofri, Fashion Editor

Remede Spa

La Source Signature Deep Tissue Massage (90 mins, $198)
La Source Spa

15 Scotts Road, #01-03, Thong Teck Building, 6732-1318
*Mention Buro and get a 20 per cent discount off the 60- or 90-minute Deep Tissue Massage. Terms and conditions apply. 
Located at the nondescript Thong Teck Building opposite Far East Plaza, La Source Spa was not an establishment that I'd noticed before. Upon entering, its modern design and the service staff's calming demeanour was a sure indicator that this was an enclave to unload your stress — and ever so conveniently nestled in the heart of our city's busiest shopping belt.

I was looking forward to the deep tissue massage for two reasons: First, to alleviate the tension my stubborn knots were causing, and second, to clear my mind and just  relax. Meline, my masseuse for the session, kicked off the treatment by asking me about my problem areas and then assessing them herself. It was off to a good start. Starting on my legs and using La Source's signature in-house blend of essential oils, Calm — one I had pre-picked beforehand — the soothing motions soon morphed into pain. Not unbearable, but undeniably uncomfortable. She'd reached my first pressure point. Noticing my flinching, Meline then proceeded to explain to me why my pressure points hurt — my circulation and flow of energy was not at its optimum.

As the massage progressed, there was the ebb and flow of the occasional pressure point discomfort along with my therapist's steady and relaxing kneading. Then came the part I enjoyed the most: working on my shoulder knots. They were stubborn, but Meline was persistent, and she managed to alleviate knots that I didn't even know I had. Ending the session with a quick chat, she told me I had tight hamstrings, and of course, tense shoulder blades. I definitely got what I came here for. An hour and a half of nothing but calming ocean waves — the soundtrack to my massage —  and, the gift of rejoining the bustle of our city with a sense of lightness upon my entire being. — Andrea Sim, Fashion Writer

La Source Spa

Targeted Healing Treatment, (90 mins, $223)
Damai Spa, Grand Hyatt Singapore
10 Scotts Road, 6416-7156
I've heard great things about the Damai Spa and was eager to experience it for myself. I was not disappointed with its luxe surroundings and spacious treatment rooms that had a chic blend of Asian-inspired décor using natural stones and water features. Unlike many other spas I had been to, each suite is fitted with a personal bathroom and changing room, lending the spa a more discreet and private vibe. As this was a targetted treatment, the consultation included a questionnaire that queried the areas to focus on as well as to avoid — an important point as I have a thumb injury and am often not asked about my potential injuries. 

After choosing my healing massage oil — a blend of lemongrass and lavender — I was led to a my room. After a foot bath and a quick consultation with my therapist Yani, I was told that since I wanted to focus more on my legs (an area usually just skimmed on in most full-body massages) I would spend roughly half the massage face down and half facing up, so she could concentrate more on this area. This healing massage's main aim was to unblock the body's energy flow and use traditional deep kneading techniques to get rid of knots, tension and stress. Not one who is able to withstand painful massages, I usually ask for medium pressure. Some areas such as my lower back and the right side of my body hurt more than others when considerable pressure was applied — perhaps a sign of bad posture or awkward sleeping positions with my toddler — but towards the end of the first half, I was so relaxed I had fallen asleep. When asked to turn face up, my therapist worked on my calf muscles — which she confirmed was tight post-massage —  giving much needed tension relief to this area. I left this massage feeling thoroughly worked on, yet not in any pain, and had a more restful sleep that night. I liked that this bespoke massage lets you choose the areas of concern and that my therapist followed through very precisely on my requests. — Renée Batchelor, Beauty Editor

Damai Spa

The Body Lift Sculptor Treatment (60 mins, $185)
Clarins Skin Spa
501 Orchard Road, #05-05, Wheelock Place, 6838-5060
At Clarins Skin Spa, you don't get the resort-like trimmings of wooden or teak furniture, a fauna-covered wall or a particularly zen-like atmosphere. Instead, the French brand's iconic red and white hues are plastered over its clinical-like interiors, which are similar to that of an aesthetician's. As soon as the therapist settled me in, I chose my own soundtrack from a choice of four — World Music promised sounds of nature, which enveloped me throughout the treatment.

To start, the therapist cleaned my hands and feet with a warm solution. As I lay facing up, she proceeded to prepare my skin for the best absorption of product possible by sweeping a body lotion across my body. After that, she applied a minty body contouring cellulite control gel mask over my body, starting from the legs and moving up to my arms, abdomen and bust. Certain areas were given extra and strenuous attention, such as my inner and upper thighs, hips, and stomach. Using her knuckles and fingers in a pitter-patter, pulling motion, she stimulated the breakdown of fats, as if pooling them together and away. In between these deliberate movements, the therapist also massaged the tense areas of my back and shoulders I had previously spoken up about. I chose a lemon thyme firming body supplement to add on — this encouraged the firming of my skin, revitalising it in the process. The treatment ended with a body contouring cellulite control gel to encourage drainage throughout the body — it also came in a refreshing, minty scent.

What's great about the Clarins Spa is that it uses ClarinsPRO products in all its face and body treatments, which are more concentrated formulations of what you will find on counters. It also has thoughtful touches like beauty counters for guests to freshen up after their treatment. A full array of makeup from foundations to eyeshadows are available for use, complete with disposable applicators. With my full face on and a revitalised, smoother body to boot, I left the spa feeling as though I could take on whatever life was about to throw at me. — Adibah Isa, Culture Editor

Clarins Skin Spa