Saturday, March 17, 2007

Couple Time At The Island

reception Island Spa at Rustan's

H and I decided on a quiet birthday celebration this year.

After a really great lunch of Indian food over at Queens restaurant in Makati, we hied off a few meters down the road to the Island Spa (899-1234) on the 2nd floor of Jupiter Place in Jupiter Street, Makati. Dubbed as "an oasis in the middle of the city, " Island is a quiet place of rest in the middle of hustle and bustle of the busy street that it is in.

At the reception you are met by a member of the staff who asks what your preference is. We decided to go for the usual Swedish full body massage (550 for one hour). We were then ushered into our respective changing areas. The spa itself is clean and simple. The changing and shower rooms are sparkling clean which to me is a MUST, otherwise I will never patronize the place again. There is a sauna room and several immaculately clean shower stalls. After changing into comfortable cotton shorts and a loose kimono top, we waited our turn in the couples room which was to my initial impression a bit quirky - mainly because of the mood lighting and the fashion channel that plays on the television across from where you are seated. I wasn't particularly hot about having a massage and having club music in tha background so I just asked the attendant to please turn it off. You have to see and experience the room to understand what I mean. Don't get me wrong - the massage room is very comfortable, conducive to sleep and the therapists are most accomodating. They cater to your requests with a smile :) The room temperature is also well-regulated.

The massage beds and the rooms per se are clean and quite basic. Spartan-like if you compare it to the more expensive spas around town. The scent of eucalyptus and peppermint waft through the air from the moment that you step into its confines and lulls you into a more relaxed state. H and I settled down and after waiting a few minutes, two attendants came into the room to knead tired muscles and bodies. And here lies the difference...

The therapists at Island have exceptional hands! They really hit the spots that matter and what makes this particular treatment different is the use of hot water compress. H and I have been to several spas both here and overseas but this was the very first one we experienced in Manila wherein a warm and relaxing hot compress is applied to the weariest parts of your body - basically the shoulders and back. The compress is applied in between major kneading of weary arms and back muscles. I cannot begin to tell you how stress-relieving that truly felt. The therapists and the treatment certainly made up for the simple ambiance that the spa had. As usual, I dozed off half-way through the session and never felt more relaxed at the end of the hour. I shook my head in amazement. My body felt so light! Really, it was a massage to remember.

Island has a plushier branch over at the 5th floor of Rustan's Makati but expect to pay a little bit more over there. The rooms are nicer - very Asian and of course there is less hustle and bustle within the confines of a department store versus a busy Makati street. Simple though the facilities may be, the experience over at the Jupiter branch is well-worth a second visit and it is something we both plan to do over the long summer break.

Island's price points :550 - 1,200 pesos for reflexology or body massage (depending on the branch)

Rating : **** (facilities, therapist, ambiance, cleanliness, spa products)

Legend :

** so-so *** good **** very good ***** excellent

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