CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La is an oasis in the midst of an urban jungle and arguably the most luxurious spa I've ever visited. (And I've visited quite a few Vancouver spas.) I was there last month to try out the Sea Therapy Facial, a new anti-aging treatment which rejuvenates and hydrates skin with certified-organic whole seaweeds, marine minerals, and ocean mud. Hmm spas and seaweed facials—it's a tough gig, but someone has to do it.
As with most inaugural spa visits, I arrived slightly early to fill out paperwork, which in itself was a small pleasure while sitting in the well-appointed waiting area and sipping ginger tea. Because it was my first time at CHI, I also received a guided tour before the start of the Sea Therapy Facial.
Oh. My. Goodness. The fifth floor facilities were a veritable temple of pampering available to spa guests for use on the day of their treatments. There was an outdoor pool and whirlpool with sweeping downtown views. A bar/lounge area where one could enjoy a smoothie or a light lunch. A yoga studio. A gym. Spacious changing rooms. My jaw kept dropping as we proceeded from one area to another.
The treatment facilities were just as incredible, from the cushy recliner-style mani/pedi chairs to the individual treatment rooms roughly the size of a one-bedroom Vancouver condo. Each treatment room had its own shower, bathroom, vanity/dressing area, and sitting area, where each treatment starts with a soothing foot bath and cup of tea. A guest could conceivably stay inside a treatment room without ever setting foot outside, which explains why CHI is so popular with privacy-craving, luxury-crazy celebrities.
The couples treatment room was even more OTT. Think two treatment beds, a huge shower and soaker tub, and a special area for Thai-style massages.
Then it was on to the Sea Therapy Facial. If CHI is a slice of heaven worthy of the highest hyperbole, the Sea Therapy Facial is even better. My highly experienced and skilled aesthetician first cleansed and analyzed my skin, concluding that it was very dehydrated. (Warm weather and a few glasses of sangria the night before certainly didn't help.)
Eschewing extractions, she focused instead on restoring hydration with nutrient-rich, ultra-hydrating concentrates and serums, then laid wide strips of moisturizing seaweed across my face and forehead. The treatment was punctuated by neck, hand, and foot massages, as well as soothing hot and cold stones to detoxify and de-puff. Although this was supposedly a facial, in reality it was a holistic head-to-toe experience. By the time my treatment ended at the 75-minute mark, I was so blissed out I could barely move.
My skin was glowing, even-toned, and softer than ever at the end, and the tiny dehydration-induced creases in my forehead had all but disappeared. The aesthetician instructed me not to wash my face for 4+ hours to let the serums fully work their magic. I don't recommend applying makeup on top (why would you need it when your skin looks so good post-treatment?!), but sunscreen, tinted lip balm, and oversize shades are good to have if you'll be running around town later.
At $195, the Sea Therapy Facial definitely costs more than what I usually spend on facials. But considering the overall experience and level of luxury, and the fact that it can buy you a whole day of relaxation, I'd say the treatment is well worth it. I'm already yearning for a return visit.
Many thanks to CHI, The Spa at Shangr-La for my out-of-this-world experience! If this review has piqued your interest, check back tomorrow for a very special giveaway (hint, hint).