Malaysian Spa Treatments
There was a time when spa menus in the country were full of Thai, Balinese and Swiss healing practices, with no Malaysian spa treatments in sight. In more recent years, however, the richness of the region’s own wellness traditions are being recognised, and it is truly a delight to see them increasingly gain attention.
One of the pioneers in celebrating local health and relaxation techniques along with the wealth of the rainforest’s natural ingredients is V Botanical Spa at The Andaman Langkawi. Built into the side of a hill overlooking the stunning Datai Bay, the open-walled spa villas are just as much a part of the experience as are the treatments themselves.
Malaysian Spa Treatments Langkawi
Amongst a list of massage, body, facial and beauty packages, V Botanical Spa offers two distinctively Malaysian spa treatments: V Song of the Malay Rainforest Ritual and V Journey Through Wellness Ritual. The duo is a reflection of The Luxury Collection’s philosophy of defining local culture, and we are of the fortune to partake in them both.
All appointments begin in the treetop reception of V Botanical Spa. Butterfly pea tea and a cool moist towel refresh as we try to concentrate on filling out a personal needs questionnaire rather than gazing at the view. Further distraction is found in the tree immediately in front of us. Not one, but six magnificent hornbills, Malaysia’s national bird, fly in pairs to roost in the branches. Even without the fauna, the lush, verdant surrounds have us breathing easier. Rainforest respiration; we are calming with every inhalation.
Forms completed, tea sipped, and the itinerary explained, we’re escorted a little further up the hill to a couple’s treatment villa.
V Song of the Malay Rainforest Ritual
V Song of the Malay Rainforest Ritual (180 minutes, RM800) is an indigenous experience with traditional massage, body wrap and scrub using local herbs and rice. This sensory journey is designed to encourage a deep meditative state.
It begins with, Rendam-Rendam, a spicy foot bath. The antiseptic properties of local herbs cleanse the feet and set the tone for relaxation ahead.
The footbath is followed by a full-body scrub using lemongrass, kaffir lime and rice to exfoliate. It removes dead skin cells and opens the pores readying them to soak up the benefits of the body wrap, which is next in line.
Again, local organic plants are used to nourish the skin in the Malaysian spa treatment, Barut Gamat Awet Muda. A mixture of galangal and oatmeal are rubbed from shoulder to toe before we’re wrapped in linen. While the nourishing mix is doing its work, our scalps are massaged with aloe vera gel and coconut oil.
The highlights of the ritual, however, are no doubt the massage and facial. Urut Melayu is a traditional Malay massage using long deep strokes that reach to the depths of tight muscles and relieve tension. Thumbs and the heal of the hand are used to reach deep into the tissue. It is excellent in working out the knots I carry between my shoulder blades. Coconut oil scented with lemongrass goes on smoothly and gives off a light scent. A glow facial, Rawatan Seri Mahsuri, uses classic techniques to cleanse, scrub, tone, apply a mask and moisturise to leave even the most sensitive skin supple and refreshed.
This Malaysian spa treatment ends with Mandi Bunga Mambang Sari, a bath of betel and pandan leaves, kaffir lime slices and flower petals. It’s hot and a magical contrast with the cool ocean breeze that blows in. Hot lemongrass tea and fresh fruit kebobs make great nibbles, slowly encouraging us to reawaken and ready ourselves for the outside world.
V Journey Through Wellness Ritual
The second Malaysian spa treatment belonging uniquely to V Botanical at The Andaman Langkawi is the V Journey Through Wellness Ritual (90 minutes, RM650). It is a reflection of the melting pot of cultures in Malaysia. Representing the primary three races in the country, it begins with an Indian head massage, followed by a Chinese detox massage, and finally concludes with a relaxing Malay massage. It is recommended to fast for three hours before this beginning as the goal of detoxification works best on an empty stomach.
The Shiro Abhyanga, Ayurvedic head, neck and shoulder massage, eases guests into the experience. The light yet a purposeful touch of the therapist awakens the senses and induces a state of relaxation.
The Chi Nei Tsang detox massage comes with a warning that it can be quite intense, even painful. It is indeed unlike anything I have tried before. If you are not an avid spa-goer or prefer your massage light, you might consider choosing something else on the menu. If, however, you see the benefit of a bit of pain, this powerful massage is a unique experience. It is restricted solely to the stomach. It involves pressure on the navel, and deep, firm strokes across the entire abdomen.
After the spirited Taoist treatment, the Malay Urut massage is a welcome de-escalation in vigour.
Reasons to visit V Botanical Spa: try Malaysian spa treatments utilising local wisdom and organic ingredients; skilled therapists; absolutely stunning views.
V Botanical Spa Opening Hours
Mon-Sun: 09:00 AM – 09:00 PM