How do you assess the quality of a spa? There are so many factors that make up a spa experience that it’s never fair to instantly judge one in its totality based on subjective matters like your therapist’s style, the oils used or even the facilities. I try to reserve my opinion for most spas I visit, partly because I can be quite particular when it comes to beauty treatments and standards. Mostly because y’know, spa time = zen time, and the whole purpose is not be your usual self who gets riled up over shitty service and all.
For the record, I treat service peeps with utmost respect and an appropriate level of niceness. I’ve also been to more than a fair share of spas (both in Singapore and otherwise) due to my preoccupation with turning into a sloth, which means I’ve experienced everything from accurate medical diagnoses to masseuses Tindering while ‘letting me rest’.
So a couple of weeks ago, I was on the hunt for an all-day spa retreat for my birthday. I had a few conditions: the actual pampering has to be more than 4 hours, no hanky panky business nor flights/ferries travel. To be honest, I was also a little lazy to research much other than a quick browse for reviews (all dismissed on account of being paid) before making a reservation for the 5hr Remede Journey at Remede Spa located at the St Regis Singapore. Maybe it is my fault for assuming that plonking down SGD800 for a 5hr treatment was a sure-fire assurance of a quality spa experience.
- The Remède Customised Body Scrub
- The Remède Customised Body Wrap
- The Remède Customised Massage
- The Remède Customised Facial
- The Reverence Hand Spa Ritual
- The Reverence Foot Spa Ritual
- Light lunch and selection of fine aromatic teas or champagne
Before I go into the treatments, let me dazzle you with some of the facilities you can indulge in.
The star of the Wet Lounge: a warmish indoor ‘hydrotherapy’ pool that bubbles slightly with inexplicable stylish overhead drips. It will remind you of how much you need to pee.
A slightly warmer outdoor ‘hydrotherapy’ pool with a maximum water level at your ribs when sitting down, accompanied by tall residential buildings with a direct view of you in your nekkid glory. Seriously, who plans this stuff??
(Not pictured) Sauna and steam room in the same indoor Wet Lounge that is completely unmanned. Well, it’s not like there’s any chance your lunch ladies will faint in a room set from 60 – 110 degrees Celsius with extremely low humidity ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Behold the ‘one and only’ ice fountain in Singapore. Excited friends were intrigued by this and anticipating the glacial magical qualities it will bestow on my unworthy self. I stood in front of it for a minute before sadly conceding that yes, it does nothing but make ice chips. It doesn’t even rain them. They just sit there on a stand.
Now, it was a weekday afternoon and the place was quiet, so I was enjoying my solo and very naked roam around the lounge until my auntie therapist burst in unannounced. *Waggling fingers* Not a good idea in a wet lounge with slippery tiles. Time for very mediocre treatments!
The body treatments – scrub, seaweed wrap, massage, and facial – were not despairingly bad. At least not when you overlook the fact that it costs eight hundred dollars. There was nothing notable – the body scrub (using Bliss products, btw, I could have done this at home) was just a basic putting-product-on-you rub down, standard seaweed wrap, a lackluster massage with run-of-the-mill oil, and a facial they have the balls to charge SGD180 for without proper extraction.
Literally, my therapist spent a grand total of three minutes on my nose whiteheads and that was it. The opening of pores was done with hot towels slapped on my face. (My god, I could have done this at home.) I’ve been to heartland facial salons that use more sophisticated pore openers technology than this uppity spa housed in Singapore’s only 6-star hotel.
And now, we have arrived at the coup de grâce. I was actually really excited about the manicure and pedicure by the award-winning Bastien Gonzalez nail salon housed within Remede – this place has ZERO nail polishes, and claims to be the CURE in maniCURE. For some context, a regular mani costs about SGD30-40 at a reputable salon, and this place charges SGD195 for a 60-min pedicure, SGD145 for a 45-min manicure. FOR NO COLOUR. At all.
I’ve been planning to rest my nails for a while anyway, so I didn’t really mind. What baffles me is this: this salon insists on not having any acetone, which is ’bout the one thing that can budge gel polish on nails. Their reason was that it is ‘too chemical’ and ‘harmful’. At this point I was about to bolt, but I thought, maybe the chi-chi ladies that come in here don’t have gel manicures (yeah, my eyes are rolling, even they don’t buy this) but THEN. My helpful therapist brought out a bag of tools they have specially prepared to remove gel.
My god, it was like Saw. I’ve never seen it, but I assume a bag of clanking tools aimed at your nails must be an option.
Very smart. Instead of doing what everyone does and using industry acetone to melt/remove my gel nails, this nail place is so special that they would rather PEEL IT OFF YOUR NAILS MANUALLY, because it’s less harmful, obviously.
Are the remains of your CNY gel mani curling up in pain? Let’s just say that it was the worst, worst nail experience of my life. Bleeding does not compare to this.
And ironically, when the therapist had trouble getting them off with a scalpel, she turned to putting normal nail remover liquid on all my fingers. OH, OH. Now we’re getting in bed with these chemicals, huh?
Once she’s good and satisfied at nearly stripping my nails down to the bone, the actual AMAZING Bastien Gonzalez treatment begins. Let me tell you what it involves: trimming your nails to the nibs, extremely bad shaping so you are left with pointy edges that scratch yourself, and EVEN MORE FILING with crushed mother-of-pearl and some softest leather in the world. I assume the last part is the only legit one in the treatment.
I don’t know, even some bottle blonde chick in a heartland salon would be able to tell that there is roughly no nail left to file. My nails legitimately HURT after I left. So much for award-winning.
After this amazing spa retreat, I paid my bill – of course taxes and GST weren’t included, Mam – and resolved to keep further slothing to my bed.