Hong Kong. The land of cha chaan tengs, retail therapy, and working hard only to play harder. Hardly the place one would associate with rest and relaxation. Yet, stepping into the oasis of calm that is Yun Wellness, I’m awash with a certain zen.
Leaving Hong Kong’s vim and vigour at the threshold, guests are stilled by Yun’s grounding energy. “Rooted in nature, the space feels comforting and welcoming, like you are coming home,” shares Dr Tal Friedman, naturopathic doctor, kinesiologist and Yun Wellness’ wellness director. “This is especially important for travellers to the hotel. So many people are keen to keep up with their wellness practices on the road and I feel that Yun Wellness is the best in class to be able to cater to those people.”
More than a spa
Upon a cursory glance, Yun Wellness appears to be another well-appointed hotel day spa complete with a sun-filled lounge and outdoor pool. Yet the expansive list of curated health and wellness treatments prove that its ambitions lie beyond pampering massages. Here, integrated treatments are designed to rekindle the spark within.
One such example of this is its new (and vast) pre-post-natal offerings. “From lactation consultations to prenatal yoga, birth breathing classes and more, the idea is to have these options available, in one place,” explains Dr Friedman. At its core, Yun Wellness considers people’s needs at different stages of their lives. “One of the most exciting and difficult times for a woman is the pregnancy journey. It can be difficult, and every pregnancy journey will have different needs and challenges.” This extends to physiotherapy, lactation, body shape concerns, physical health and fitness and even non-invasive vaginal rejuvenation and pelvic floor health.
Where ancient healing meets technology
Speaking on the wellness space, Dr Freidman shares: “Most spas/wellness centres focus on facial aesthetics, from Botox to advanced facials, and the body care offerings are usually just a scrub or wrap. Nothing wrong with that, but I do see more of an interest cropping up for treatments focusing on the rest of the body.” In a Hong Kong first, the space boasts a far infrared cabin saunas, designed for detoxification, muscle recovery and sleep. It also offers several body care treatments including the signature Rejuvenating Body Treatment (a combination of body brushing, masking, RF and ultrasound) as well as hair spa and scalp treatments.
“I can see both hair therapy and advanced body treatments becoming a bigger mainstay in both the spa and wellness spaces,” says Dr Friedman. My tour revealed a dedicated hair treatment room in collaboration with Zeva trichology. Beyond in-hotel haircuts and styling, clients can get treatment for ongoing scalp conditions during chemotherapy and postpartum hair loss with their on-call trichologist.
3D2N to a rejuvenated self
My two days of rebalancing at Yun Wellness was brief but by no means harried. Slipping into Island (Shangri-La) time, each day came with the promise of new skin, body and fitness experiences. The initiation opened with an uplifting, 120-minute Chakra Balancing Massage by Mandy Cheung, therapist and spa manager. It’s ideal for when “our body is exhausted from stress and really needs a soothing but effective treatment.” Cheung, a fellow spa nerd, blends the essential oils herself. She anoints the seven chakra energy centres of my body with the oils, using flowing, deeply restorative strokes. Unlike other massages, the muscles and fascia are lifted instead of pressed down, promoting circulation. Armed with a background in sports medicine, remedial massage and TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), pinpointing blockages, undoing knots and correcting posture imbalances are intuitive to her.
“There have been scientific studies showing us that where the chakras are located, there are also rich nerve supplies,” says Cheung.
“This implies that each chakra centre is also related to different organs and parts of the body as well. As we know from TCM, our unresolved emotions can be trapped in our organs and I have found that our chakra balancing massage can also help to release emotional blockages.”
The Lifting and Firming Collagen Facial by Dr Burgener from Switzerland then ensued. Designed to promote firmer, even skin with acacia collagen, you’ll awaken to a rejuvenated, more radiant complexion. Another journey exclusive to Yun Wellness is Tata Harper organic skincare facials. If you’re after a pro-youth boost, Island Shangri-La is the only hotel in Hong Kong to offer the non-invasive, skin contouring Exilis Ultra 360.
Working out at Yun Wellness
Cut to the next day, where another classmate and I were led into a guided yin yoga and sound healing practice at Yun’s mirror-flanked studio. (You know you’re stressed when your body sounds like a crinkly bag of chips as you try to stretch.) Slow, intentional poses coupled with a singing bowl meditation created just the pocket of peace required to still a monkey mind, however if sweating it out is more your speed, there are high energy HIIT, resistance and Pilates Reformer classes as well as an impressive, state-of-the-art gym with TechnoGym equipment.
To maximise your stay, Dr Friedman recommends overseas guests begin with a relaxing treatment, “could be a massage, time in our infrared sauna or singing bowl meditation on the evening that you arrive as it will help you unwind from the journey. The following morning, spend some time at the pool for the sunlight and/or get some exercise in at our fitness facilities. The sunlight will help with circadian rhythm and a tough but doable workout will keep you energised during the day.”
And whenever you’re not experiencing a natural high at Yun Wellness, there’s the hotel’s stellar list of gastronomic options. Whether you’re having drinks at Island Shangri-La’s Lobster Bar and Grill or enjoying an omakase meal at Nadaman, this property exudes a warmth, refinement and heartfelt hospitality that I recognise to be true luxury. Here staff greet you by name and are mindful of your food allergies before you even open the menu. From wellness to dining and their expansive harbour-view suites, every moment here is a chance to create your own, personal Shangri-La.