Langkawi Reviews: Ishan Spa
Umi, my petite massage therapist, was awaiting me on Ishan Spa’s leafy veranda with a cold mint-scented face towel in hand. As I stepped up onto the wooden deck and slipped off my shoes, she stood up, greeted me warmly and gently offered me the precisely rolled towel.
In such hot tropical afternoon heat, the towel was supremely refreshing. As I gratefully wiped it over my face I inhaled the wonderful scent of cool mint. I couldn’t think of a more inviting welcome to a spa, or to anywhere else for that matter.
Umi lead me into the relaxing reception area, built of dark wood with floor to ceiling windows overlooking a lush green jungle. The room immediately washed a calming feeling over me as I walked across the cool wood floors and sat down at a cute table decorated with a fresh flower arrangement. A cup of cold, pungent lemon drink was there for me. I sipped it happily while absorbing the serene surroundings.
The gregarious owner, Bas, came out to greet and chat with me before my massage session.
Co-incidentally, the night before my visit, my lower back muscles had tensed up into painful spasms and were now still knotted up. I told Bas about my predicament. He examined my back, spine and posture then gave some instructions to Umi on what to do with me during my therapy session.
After chatting with Bas and finishing my lemon drink, I filled out the spa form. Then we were ready to begin. Umi lead me outside and along a stone path through the jungle to our own private massage room.
I was about to get a 2-hour treatment. Umi explained the procedures with me then requested me to take off my clothes and lay on my stomach on the massage table.
Before I knew it, Umi was scrubbing my skin vigorously with a grainy rice & tamarind concoction. I was certain it would slough off any dead skin cells hanging around. She scrubbed every inch of my legs, back, arms and neck before asking me to turn over to have my front side scrubbed just as vigorously.
After my entire body was covered in tamarind rice scrub, Umi washed her hands then gently covered me with beautiful Malaysian sarongs and fluffy towels. Then she set to giving me a full facial treatment while the tamarind scrub did its job on my skin.
Umi had the perfect touch for facials: firm but gentle with smooth, soothing strokes. (and I have to confess to being somewhat of a connoisseur as a licensed esthetician with several years experience giving facials.)
She started with a refreshing cucumber cleansing cream, which she massaged generously over my face and neck for several minutes. That done, she removed the cleanser with therapeutic hot, damp towels.
She then proceeded treating me to a long, luxurious facial massage using more of her gentle soothing strokes and circular movements. Finally, she applied a thick mud mask and left me to relax while the mask slowly dried, drawing out impurities and tightening up my skin. After the mask had dried she removed it with more deliciously hot, damp towels.
Then it was time for me to rustle myself from a half-slumber and go shower off my body scrub. Umi ushered me into the adjacent garden shower/bath area. The delightful open-air room was lined with attractive rough stones and golden bamboo. Tropical plants filled any empty spaces, leaving me feeling as though I was bathing in the jungle.
Ishan Spa shampoo, shower gel and conditioner were artistically arranged on a long banana leaf punctuated by tiny pale pink flowers. I took my good old time rinsing off the body scrub, enjoying the hot shower and fragrant bath gel.
When I eventually finished my relaxing shower, Umi was patiently awaiting my return. Once again I laid down on the massage table, greatly anticipating my full body massage. Umi slathered on a fragrant olive oil then got to work on my sore muscles and back. Once again her expert touch proved perfect for relaxing knotted muscles and soothing tired skin. She treated me to a fabulous one-hour work over.
When at last my 2 ½ hour treatment was completed I felt immeasurably more relaxed. My strained back no longer hurt, my muscles had been unleashed from their stiff spasms.
Umi lead me back to the airy reception room where she served me a cup of refreshing ginger tea and coconut biscuits. Bas returned to ask about my treatments and my back muscles. We had another lovely chat before I eventually left the relaxing spa environment to go enjoy sunset on the beach. I can’t think of a better way to end any evening.
If you’re visiting Langkawi, I highly recommend treating yourself to one of Ishan Spa’s expert treatments. All of Ishan’s massage therapists are thoroughly trained in-house before accepting guests.
Bas, their illustrious leader, has over 20 years experience running spas. Bas is a Doctor of Naturopath majoring in massage therapy and minoring in tropical herbal plants. He also holds an MBA in Hospitality Management and a Master of Management (Spa & Resort). He currently serves as the specialist sitting in on the Malaysia National Spa Council and on the advisory committee of the Malaysia Ministry of Health on Regulating Spa Therapy.
It’s Bas’s expert guidance and talented staff that have made Ishan Spa so well renowned
See Ishan Spa’s website for full details on their treatments, opening hours and directions to the spa, which is located at Tengah Beach, just around the corner from Cenang Beach.
Bas also publishes his Wellness Blog on the website, with great tips and advice on healthy living.
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