Located strategically in the heart of the business district of Ghala, the Centara Hotel Muscat is a fresh new take on business hotels. From welcoming travellers from across the border to being the perfect hub for quick business meetings, Centara promises ‘something to remember’ for all its guests. I found my area of interest when their exclusive spa Cenvaree called out to me.
Greeted with joined hands and a bow, I knew Centara really meant it when they said ‘authentic Thai spa’. With a team of experienced all-Thai staff, Cenvaree could proudly boast of having a range of the finest organic products especially brought in all the way from Thailand.
As my therapist brought in my welcome drink, the smiling spa manager explained how hospitality formed a key element of all Thai traditions. Refreshing for summers and equally pleasing for winters, I was served with a glass of cold lemongrass tea and a face towel as I sat admiring the swanky interiors of this newly opened spa. Cenvaree has three single treatment rooms and a much larger couple’s room. With a strange fetish for tubs, a fair sized Jacuzzi at the far end of the couple’s room had me peering in and longing to dip my feet in the petal-garnished water.
But I was beckoned by my own little hot water bowl. As I sifted petals with my toes, my masseuse began with gentle pressure on the sole. There’s something undeniably calming about starting the sessions this way and I instantly knew I was in good hands. An interesting ingredient that is said to act as an anti-bacterial agent and which was now being poured onto my feet, was surprisingly our regular black tea (I instantly made a mental note to try this at home). Coupled with a generous dose of sea salt to aid in scrubbing, my feet were now ready to scamper to the massage bed where a pretty inviting little tray sat waiting to endow me with all its inherent healing.
Leaving it to my therapist to decide, I was offered a De-Ageing Passion Fruit and Lemongrass Salt Scrub. No, it wasn’t because gravity had gotten the better of me, (though I can’t deny that disturbing thought did cross my mind; clearly ladies and ‘age’ don’t go well in the same line), but because the treatment has been a particular guest favourite. A symbiosis of the most exquisite fragrance and stress-relieving properties, this was exactly what I needed after a day’s filming outdoors. A hotel that receives business travellers from all over, I eventually realised why this particular treatment had become a preferred one.
I climbed onto my bed, eager to embark on the journey of rejuvenation. The concoction that reminded me of deliciously blended caramel custard, was generously slathered on and massaged in. I could get the familiar feeling of the sea salt scrub that had tingled my feet earlier and stretched out comfortably as that same tingle took over every inch of my body. Just that this time, aiding sea salt in the scrub was jasmine rice, giving this otherwise buttery paste the grainy feel I was so beginning to love. Along with peeling away dead skin cells, I was told it also boosts circulation in the body and I’m pretty certain I was actually feeling the rush (if it’s not too much of an exaggeration). Made with passion fruit, fresh milk, olive oil, and spiked with the signature lemongrass that is found in several other of Cenvaree’s treatments, the De-Ageing treatment goes right to the deepest layers of the skin, hydrating it from within. The sweet smell of the passion fruit infused with the calming aroma of lemongrass filled the air. Though the paste initially felt cold against my body, the perfectly maintained temperature and gentle kneading motions of my skilled masseuse made sure I was thoroughly enjoying the treatment. As I lay wrapped in all the goodness for a few moments, I could feel my skin screaming with gratitude.
A little beyond fragrances
A quick shower revealed exactly how well this treatment had worked. I marvelled at the suppleness of my skin and couldn’t resist but run my fingers back and forth, taking pleasure of the smoothness it had acquired (excuse the vanity there, please). If left alone, I’m sure I could have been at it for a few more minutes but the eagerness of the following aromatherapy massage session led me back to the bed.
The aromatherapy massage particularly complements the De-Ageing session and are threaded together with a common focus of soothing the mind, body, and soul. I mentally appreciated the beaming spa manager’s choice of a customised package. Concentrating on not just the superficial aspects of the spa, the therapists here pay due heed to their guests, drawing attention to minute details and even anticipating their needs.
Concentrating on relieving stress both physically and mentally, the aromatherapy massage comprised of gentle, smooth movements, where sore muscles are massaged with a choice of warm essential oils. While I stuck to my new found favourite – the lemongrass, there are three more equally enticing options to experiment with. An all-complementing blend of lavender, chamomile, and frankincense, together called the ‘relaxing’ oil seemed like it would be the local favourite while the lovers of all things floral could go for the ‘royal lotus’ essential oil. For those looking a little beyond just fragrances, skin rejuvenation and relaxation, the last one proved to be an interesting option. Infused with orange and black pepper this essential oil had anti-cellulite properties. While this splendid selection of essential oils could be used in other massage sessions like the Swedish and the Balinese massage, I reckoned that the anti-cellulite essential oil would go especially well with an intense session of a deep tissue massage.
When the singing bowl resonated signifying the climax of a truly relaxing therapy, I was already planning my next session. As I sat sipping a cup of warm ginger tea with honey that was offered with some fresh melons, I scanned through their assorted spa menu. Cenvaree offers a unique selection of signature spa massages, but it was the Thai Herbal Ball that particularly caught my spa-greedy eyes.
Famous for its various massage techniques, the Thai Herbal Ball Massage accorded for one of the most popular massages in Thailand. An assortment of Thai herbs is warmed, put into a muslin cloth and tied together to make a ball. Specific pressure is then applied to targeted pressure areas with the ball itself. Though different traditional Thai healing centres use varying combinations to make this blissful ball, here we had extracts of ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime, tamarind leaf, and plai offering its healing. The massage is further complemented with traditional techniques of a Thai massage – a form of massage that requires great skill to execute correctly.
With professionals having over 10 years of experience in the field, I certainly had no doubts in their calibre. My masseuse had proved herself by tactfully tackling each of my problem areas, relieving all the tension from head to toe.
As I put down my cup, I had half a mind to make my way back to that Jacuzzi I had missed dipping myself into. It would have been rather nice to have been served this cup of tea while I soaked in the goodness of bath milk, the tingling sea salts (please excuse my obsession with the ‘tingle’ – it usually lasts for a day) and the soothing aroma of essential oils. Hey, there’s always a next time.
Centara Muscat Hotel Oman
Way No. 5003
Ghala Heights, Bausher
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