East Meets East

The spacious sauna overlooks the boat-bedecked harbor.

Also surprisingly popular are the half-day journeys, which invite spa-goers to soak up the elements in the Thermal Suites, then luxuriate on the deck by the indoor pool (and do a few laps in its bathtub-warm waters) before savoring a nourishing lunch. Guests who’ve booked a Peninsula half-day mustn’t rush. And—unless it’s an exceptionally busy weekend—the staff tends to allow half-day journeyers to idle near the Roman-style pool for hours.

“Before we created the spa journeys, we did extensive research and discovered that Asia—Hong Kong in particular—has a spa-savvy culture,” Codner says, explaining why the multi-hour packages have been so successful despite evidence that spa-goers are increasingly seeking express services. “While the population in Hong Kong works very hard, they’re also conscious about spending time on themselves; it’s considered important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.” In fact, Hong Kong residents make up about half of the spa’s regular clientele (although bold-faced Hollywood names and Chinese movie stars are also frequent guests!).

Today, I’m here to experience the Immune Booster half-day journey (about $250), a package created especially for well-heeled travelers. And, since I’ve just blown into town from Melbourne, Australia, I could certainly use the boost.

After being greeted warmly, and in English, I’m led inside an elevator. “This is where your journey begins,” the attendant says as she draws my attention to a vertical screen on which abstract scenes of bamboo forests flash, as if to transport guests away from the urban jungle and into Asian nature—an artful and intriguing start to my visit.

The women’s changing room, lined with dark wood, bamboo textures and marble floors, embodies the spa’s “Ming Dynasty meets modernity” motif. The amenities include a full range of hair products, hand-care remedies, and skin type–specific toners, cleansers and moisturizers. The VIP suites feature a selection of juices and mineral sea salts. “We want to make sure our guests don’t have to ask for anything,” Codner says.