Hong Kong is littered with high-end hotel spas and quick-and-cheap massages, but few capture that middle ground — places where you can pop in on-the-fly for a post-work relaxation session while still indulging in luxury high-end amenities. Recently opened on Lyndhurst Terrace, Elu Spa fills this gap with a range of curated spa treatments all within an arm’s reach of work-harried Centralites. The holistic spa is all about a 360-degree approach to wellness: services range from speedy 30-minute manicures to waxing services and long, leisurely massages for those seeking to decompress at the end of a trying day.
It may be located at Central’s busiest intersection but Elu Spa manages to whisk you straight out of the city’s hubbub with its calming Scandinavian-chic design palette. A combination of Japanese and Nordic aesthetics lends the space an utter sense of piece and tranquility — the sort of design that’s completely keyed-in to both stylish and pragmatic comforts. In fact, upon entering the soothing space awash in concrete and natural wood, I was hit with the same feeling of design envy that I experienced on a recent trip to Finland, and the nearby country of Estonia. (Coincidentally, the latter inspired the name ‘Elu,’ which translates to ‘life’ in Estonian).
I was in to trial the Signature Indulgence treatment, which includes a 60-minute massage followed by the 60-minute signature gemstone facial. Perched on a chair draped with a luxurious Hermes shawl, I was invited to sip on soothing lemongrass tea and nibble on biscuits while waiting for my therapist to arrive. Coffee table books, squashy armchairs in a cool slate grey, and a small counter lined with kitchen knick-knacks and wine glasses all contributed to a sense of lived-in luxury, and I couldn’t help snapping a few pics to file away as inspiration for future renovation plans. On one shelf sat the full range of Eminence and Aromatherapy Associates products used at Elu Spa, which can also be purchased for home relaxation.
The actual treatment rooms are quite small (this is Central, after all) compared to the average hotel spa, without the windows or sweeping views that you might get from the latter. The beds were comfortable but about a few inches too narrow for my frame, and I felt rather cramped changing in the single-person room. After washing my feet in the basin, I was asked by my therapist to pinpoint areas of stress, in order for her to choose an Aromatherapy Associates oil best suited for my current state. She proceeded to choose the Revive Morning Body Oil, but seemed a bit unsure of herself when explaining its benefits (granted, I was one of the first to visit during opening weeks, so perhaps staff are still in initial training).
Once on the bed, the massage commenced with a mix of East and West techniques — Swedish and neuromuscular techniques, and lymphatic drainage techniques to stimulate blood circulation. My masseuse worked deftly with long, solid strokes, but I was prevented from falling into a completely dream-like state of relaxation by a few moments of discomfort when pressure was applied too close to the bone, or certain areas reworked for too long. Unfortunately the head cradle didn’t help — for whatever reason it wasn’t attached to the bed, which made it hard to relax my head completely without the pillow shimmying around.
An hour in, the facial portion started, and it was at this point that I really started to drift into a blissful daze, lulled by the sweet-smelling scents and aromas of the products, the gentle massage around my face and decolletage, and (thankfully) not having to deal with the face cradle anymore. Elu Spa is dedicated to using only top-of-the-line luxury skincare products, and their signature gemstone facial is built around the Eminence line — a celebrity-endorsed brand of high-end organic and biodynamic skincare products used in luxury spas around the world.
The facial uses no less than 12 of their top-line products, from cleansing oils to firming cleansers, chamomile toners to skin masks, and bright skin moisturisers. In-between steps, my face was sprayed with their Stone Crop Hydrating Mist, a revitalising mist to hydrate and remove impurities, with mineral-rich spring water softening the skin. My therapist avoided painful extractions in favour of a deep exfoliation using Eminence’s Mangosteen Lactic Acid Prop Peel mask, which removes dead skin cells and works to minimises pores.
This was followed by the application of a Bright Skin Masque, a gentle massage using soft-scented rosehip firming oil; a jade roller massage to stimulate blood circulation; and finally the namesake treatment — the gemstone face mask. Made with little beads of jade and rose quartz, the cooling face mask conformed instantly to my skin, as it worked on calming, reducing puffiness and detoxifying all in one. With crystal healing and terms like ‘vibrational energy’ gaining traction in mainstream wellness circles, it’s no wonder these gemstone face masks are becoming increasingly popular, with eye masks easily available online for home use.
With a final layer of Eminence’s Stone Crop Whip Moisturiser, I was lulled out of my dream state to find my skin softer, smoother and devoid of puffy bags and under-eye circles. As someone who doesn’t get facials too often — due to an aversion to painful extractions and proneness to irritation — I appreciated how Elu Spa’s treatment side-stepped both of these rather unpleasant outcomes, turning out to be one of the more comfortable and relaxing facials I’ve received.
Bespoke, organic products and a back-to-basics approach are at the heart of Elu Spa’s treatments, and I did appreciate the careful consideration given to the holistic process — even if some aspects of guest experience may require a bit more staff training. Rooms are small (a trade-off for the convenient location), but a more spacious couples room can be booked complete with an accompanying soaking tub. The spa also offers more niche experiences such as HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound), pre-natal and targeted men’s treatments, meaning anyone can find a personalised treatment that works for them. The next time you’re in need of a post-work respite, it’s worth giving Elu Spa a try.
Elu Spa’s Signature Indulgence Treatment is priced at HK$3,000 for a 120-minute treatment. During opening months, first-time visitors can enjoy 30% off any treatment, including a gift pack with skincare and beauty samples.