Living well and healthy in the city is both an art form and exacting science. Method and careful planning of each day helps us to navigate our way through the concrete jungle with ease. This, in turn, allows us to carve out time for work, play, and rest. I like to call this the delicate science of time management. As we go through our wellness journeys, we seek out soul tribes and communities. We search for workout routines, fitness centers and spas in the same manner an artist slowly finds his or her unique voice or style.
In a city as dynamic, diverse and multidimensional as Kuala Lumpur, wellness choices abound. This distinct quality about the capital can be attributed to Malaysia’s rich history punctuated by a myriad of cultures. Regarded in the region as a cultural melting pot of Malay, Indian, Chinese and Orang Asli influences, Kuala Lumpur has a lot to offer travelers. Apart from delicious flavors, shopping, sights, and vibrant cityscapes, the wellness experience in this thriving metropolitan is singular and truly transformative.
Discovering the world through wellness was the reason for booking my first international flight out of Manila after two long years of pandemic restraints. The itinerary on the 10-day wellness retreat around the Spa Villages of YTL Hotels had been plotted out with the intention of exploring as much about Malaysia’s healing traditions as time would permit. It was a packed, hectic schedule that entailed moving from one part of the country to another via land transfers. Even then, every stop, including the quick city stays, proved most invigorating for mind, body and soul.
Where Heritage, History, And Colonial-Inspired Healing Come Together
The Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur was a welcome sight after an entire day of travel. Built in the colonial style in 1932, the hotel has been named a national heritage site. History, glamor and prestige echo not just from its stunning facade, but throughout the halls as well. A landmark structure that represents Malaysia’s golden years pre World War II, The Majestic has long been the choice destination for “glamorous events, government receptions, and residence for prominent international visitors.”
Its well-appointed suites along with the cafe, orchid conservatory, drawing room and tea lounge are located on the Majestic Wing. These were stunning features that transported senses back to an era of gentry and refined elegance. Over a leisurely lunch with YTL Hotels’ Senior Vice President Spa Division Chik Lai Ping, the wellness innovator shared: “The pandemic has undoubtedly changed our way of operating our spas and the way we live our lives. Everyone has come to realize that things will never be the same post pandemic. The spa business has seen an increase in revenue, and most weekends see us fully booked.”
The hotel’s Majestic Spa is a wellness gem right at the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Done in the art deco style of Scottish architect Charles Rennie, the space exuded colonial charm and calm. Before zoning out to indulge in a two-hour signature English Afternoon Tea treatment, Chik Lai Ping explained that every Spa Village was developed to offer its own signature treatments. “Every location has its unique pre-treatment ritual that’s not-to-missed,” she added.
Healing With Berries, Blooms And Tea At The Majestic Spa in Kuala Lumpur
The treatment began with a serene tea ritual inside a colonial-inspired boudoir. A foot bath of garden blooms eased all the aches and tensions of the past week. The soak was accompanied by a neck and shoulder massage, prompting the senses to enter a fully relaxed state. “The tradition of afternoon tea is honored in this experience,” wrote the YTL Spa Village team. “Anna, Duchess of Bedford, is said to have created the idea of afternoon tea, having complained of suffering ‘that sinking feeling’ between breakfast and dinner. She began taking a pot of tea and a light snack in her boudoir at Woburn Abbey. Later, after returning to London, invitation cards were sent to her friends to join her for snacks, tea and walks in the fields. Social hostesses picked up on this practice and before long all of fashionable society was sipping tea and nibbling cakes and berries in the middle of the afternoon.”
After a soothing pre-treatment ritual, the English Afternoon Tea treatment commenced. An irresistible cloud of blackberries and cream was applied on to the body as a natural exfoliant. The formula also brought with it doses of antioxidants, ideal for addressing free radical damage most prevalent in most urban environments. A fragrant massage using garden berries’ oils followed, soothing all aches, discomforts and knots of the past weeks. The two-hour wellness treat ended with a calming English Rose Natural Facial. “This is good for balancing skin, enhancing radiant and lightening skin pigmentation,” explained the superbly trained therapist. English Rose when used as an ingredient for skin treatments also lends hydrating and anti-aging benefits.
It was immediately following that delicious Afternoon Tea Spa experience that I hit the road to discover more about Malaysia’s diverse healing culture. The day’s activities, including lunch at the chic cafe and lounge time at the conservatory, told me that this would be a trip unlike any other. Feeling completely relaxed and rejuvenated from a hectic schedule back in Manila, I set out to see a different side of the truly diverse South East Asian Country through the eyes of healing and wellness.