The Murray Hong Kong officially swung its doors open rather quietly last summer — the buzz hampered by several false soft openings as its F&B venues rolled out one by one. I had been to the hotel several times for brand events and lunches, but little did I know that tucked in between the echoey white marble corridors, The Murray had also opened a spa.

Wellness at The Murray is a modest-looking affair: I stepped out onto the 3rd floor on a recent visit to find a monochrome hallway, echoing the hotel’s white marble motif with clean white walls and light wood floors. Opposite to the reception is the gym, with automatic sliding doors that leak out an occasional burst of upbeat workout music whenever they open. After signing a consultation form, I was taken to the spa arm of the venue — a comfortably dim-lit passageway that just fits two armchairs and a table, braced by a seaside mural. To the side, doors led the way to three single and two couple suites.

My therapist offered me my choice of herbal tea — I picked roselle tea for its antioxidant benefits — before introducing the various treatment oils at my disposal. Wellness at The Murray’s Age Reversal Facial uses products from Australian natural skincare brand Grown Alchemist, prized for its highly potent botanical actives and clean MO. The facial not only combats signs of ageing, it also works against toxin buildup.

The Murray Spa - essential oils

The 90-minute treatment also includes a massage while your mask sets, relieving tension and stress using a bespoke oil blend tailored to the customer’s needs. Feeling weary from recent sleep deprivation and bloated from a poor diet, whatever was going on inside was duly reflected outside: my skin had a dull grey overcast, my eyes were puffy and my dark circles were out of control. I was in dire need of a detox, a serving of vegetables, and a proper nap. With that, my therapist recommended an essential oil blend of geranium (which stimulates the lymphatic and circulatory systems) and black pepper (an antioxidant and digestive aid), mixed with a neutral sweet almond oil.

Inside, the airy, luxurious interior of the spa room made up for the plain decor in the hallway. Dressed in uplifting and elegant white marble against chocolate-hued spa linens, the experience felt instantly more upscale. Each spa suite also contains its own dry sauna, as well as a large rain shower and separate toilet. It would have been better if the dressing table could afford more space — rather than sit down to brush my hair in my single room, I did it stooped over the corner desk. Tiny desk aside, it was stocked to the brim with Grown Alchemist samples, including face cleansers, moisturisers and toner, as well as bath amenities typical of a hotel room — even a soft loofah for the shower.

The Murray Spa - review

Settling in the silky spa bed face up, my therapist started by removing my makeup with an oil based cleanser and cotton pads. I questioned whether my industrial-strength mascara would melt successfully, judging by the caress-like strokes she used along my lashes. Moving onto a double cleanse with a gel cleanser, the gentle massage-like technique lulled me into a comforting lucid dream state. My face felt the beginnings of a tingly irritation, which I suspected was some kind of botanical at work, but I kept it out of mind.

After a spritz of toner, it was then time for extraction. A cold, sharp pair of tweezers poked at my nose and T-zone; it was particularly painful at some points when she squeezed and pinched my clogged nose pores, but this proved to pay off later. She also offered to clean up my brows — I agreed, though I felt a twinge of embarrassment thinking of my unruly arches. I had been meaning to groom them for a while.

With my face feeling slightly irritated from all the poking and prodding, the anti-ageing hydrating mask was a cool, soothing saviour, applied with the most featherlight touch. As this was left to do its magic, my therapist began to work on my shoulders with a massage. She placed toasty stones along my decollete and chest as she ironed out the kinks in the back of my neck, before continuing — with the sweet-smelling massage oil I picked — down my arms, my lower legs and feet.

The Murray Spa - review

The final steps involved rinsing off the mask, and applying layers of serum and day cream before sending me on my way. With sweeping movements to apply the final creams, particularly along the jawline, I was gently coaxed awake. I could still feel a gentle tingle on my skin. Half-expecting plenty of redness post-extraction, I looked into the mirror to find unbelievably smooth and even skin — my nose, normally prickly by midday and creeping with whiteheads, had absolutely empty pores, even appearing almost invisible. It was surprising and satisfying how much more awake I looked with a cleaned up browline and clean, revitalised skin. The detoxing products surely did the work to debloat my puffy under-eye area as well as my jaw. I looked younger and fresher, with a renewed energetic glint in my eye.

I was saddened that I couldn’t make full use of the sauna as I was rushing to a dinner appointment. Yet, I left the spa room to find myself with a spread of treats laid out for me to slowly enjoy: a fresh cup of hot roselle tea, a glass of chilled green juice, and moreish peanut butter bites that I couldn’t bear skipping. I was late to dinner in the end, arriving at the restaurant rather flustered that I had missed out on the start. But hearing a whole table compliment my glowing new complexion? It was absolutely worth it.

The 90-minute Age Reversal Facial is priced at $1,925 per person, and bookings through to 30 June 2019 get a complimentary 30ml take-home bottle of the Grown Alchemist Antioxidant Detox Serum. Wellness at the Murray, 3/F, The Murray, Hong Kong, 22 Cotton Tree Drive, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3141 8888

Evelyn Lok
Deputy Editor
When not trying out the latest beauty and wellness trends, Evelyn is likely enjoying a perfectly balanced negroni or exploring some of Hong Kong's best new places to eat and drink. At Lifestyle Asia she covers everything from the biggest events in town to interviews with Hong Kong specialists, with topics spanning art, food and drink, health, tech, and travel.