Mixing Business and Pleasure

Health - June 21st, 2010
Photos courtesy of the Ritz Carlton Tokyo

by Elisabeth Lambert

How wonderful would it be to duck off during the working day for a sneaky massage? Or even to have a moment to freshen up the eyes after a morning spent staring at a computer screen? Between meetings and deadlines, time is precious.

The Ritz Carlton Spa by ESPA, towering 46 floors above Roppongi, has the needs of Tokyo’s businesspeople all figured out. With a series of 30-minute spa treatments, you can squeeze in a spa session and still have time to eat, all within the timeframe of a one-hour lunch break.

“We received feedback from our employees and guests that many [people] used time as a factor in their decision not to spa,” explains Christopher Clark, hotel manager at the Ritz Carlton Tokyo. “So we wanted to ensure that in only 30 minutes, we can make [people] feel revitalized and hopefully encourage them to take a little more time to reduce their stress.”

The treatments available, all for under ¥10,000, are an ESPA hydrating facial, a revitalizing back massage, a foot rejuvenation massage, an invigorating body exfoliation, and an instant eye lifter.

I decided to put it to the test along with a friend and fellow writer. We booked in for two sessions each during a lunch break on one particularly busy Wednesday. I started with the body exfoliation, and my friend with the back massage. We were asked the unusual question of how we wanted to feel after the session, to which I replied, “invigorated,” and this is how I found myself lying face down on a massage table, breathing in the aroma of cypress, grapefruit and juniper berry oils.

The exfoliation began, using ESPA’s aptly titled Invigorating Salt Scrub. Consisting of sea salts blended with essential oils of menthol, grapefruit, lime, almond, sunflower and coconut, my skin was left feeling so smooth and soft. The best part was that the application of the scrub felt like a mini-massage in itself, and once I showered it off, I could really feel the cool warmth of the menthol sinking into my skin and waking up every part of my body.

For a pair of feet that are subjected not only to my love of high heels, but also to jogging and lots of walking on a daily basis, the foot rub was the ultimate way to show them some much-deserved love. As my feet, toes and calves were massaged, I surprisingly found myself feeling energized.

My friend, on the other hand, wanted to feel relaxed after her spa therapy, and was treated with a blend of myrrh, rose geranium, orange and lavender, all known for their calming and restorative effects. And relaxed she was, after falling asleep during her massage. As she breathed in the blended oils, she said that her mind switched off completely and her muscles relaxed.

For the instant eye lifter, products rich in seaweed extract, green tea and vitamin C were used. Again, the application of this involved a mini-massage, which my friend said helped ease any eyestrain and a lingering computer headache from that morning’s work.

After all this, a quick time check showed it had been exactly one hour—amazing, considering it felt like an entire afternoon had gone by indulging ourselves. We were refreshed, revitalized and ready to hit the working world below.

The Ritz Carlton Spa & Fitness by ESPA
Tokyo Midtown
9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku
Tel: 03-3423-8000