Hangzhou, China is home to the world famous Longjing tea. The first time I tasted the longjing tea was in a tasting session at a tea estate in Hangzhou about 5 years back. I had instantly liked it. Carried packets of the tea back with me as gifts for friends and for my own consumption.
I returned to Hangzhou this summer for a day had a chance to visit the gorgeous Amanfayun spa. Noticing that they had longjing green tea and wild jasmine body wrap in their spa menu, I instantly decided that this was the treatment I would go for. Wrapping myself in my favourite tea – was something that I had not even dreamt of until then. Well it did happen and here is my experience.
AMBIENCE & FACILITIES
As you enter the Amanfayun hotel lobby, there isn’t even a single computer screen or atleast none that is visible to the guests. This is a guideline that all Aman properties need to follow and this does give an indication of the kind of resort Aman aims to be. Simple, unassuming and bare minimum, Amanfayun defines luxury by a sense of space, simplicity and basic-ness.
As you walk up to the Amanfayun spa from the entrance lobby, you go past the densely wooded bamboo and treelined avenues, botanical gardens and inner waterways of West Lake. You hear the faint sounds of the temple and the quiet village of Tianzhu that is located close to it. Fragrant sweet trees of osmanthus, magnolia, camphor, common fig,Chinese ash and waxberry make the air heavy with a heady, lingering fragrance.
The beautiful path, fragrance and simplicity of surroundings was so therapeutic by itself that I could feel my Hong Kong urban angst petering out as I walked towards the spa bath houses. The bath houses are traditional village dwellings that once housed the local tea farmers made up of clay tiled roofs, mud and grass exterior walls with dark wooden exposed beams.
Each private bath suite is equipped with a circular wooden soaking tub, a rain shower, a steam room and double-seated showers.
The treatments at Amanfayun Spa make use of the specific plants grown in and around the surrounding villages and are offered according to the harvesting / picking season on the spa menu. Since we had visited in the spring, it was the perfect time to go for treatment involving the freshly picked Longjing (Dragon Well) Green Tea.
Spring represents the dawning of consciousness, a time for setting intentions and invoking creativity.The treatments offered around this time focus on tranquil energies and the stimulation of creativity and visualization.
After the bathing and steam ritual, we were led to the simple yet comfortable massage rooms. The treatment started with brushing of body and then generous application of the body pack. The aroma and texture of the pack took over as the therapists skilfully applied the pack. Then they wrapped us in many layers to retain the body heat and allow the natural herbs and anti-oxidants to be infused into the body.
The therapist gave a gentle head and foot massage as the body absorbed the pack. This followed the unwrapping and being led to the the bathing area to mark the end of the relaxing and detoxifying treatment. As we stepped out, fresh herbal tea awaited us in a private relaxation area.VERDICT
Treatment at Amanfayun Spa is a holistic experience. It stands out from other luxury spas by its lack of grand gestures that may connote high service, adornments or lavishness in architecture that might dazzle and impress. I was reminded of the definition of luxury by the Dutch design collective Droog “Luxury is really about scarcity“. And what’s scarce? “Care, silence, fresh air, slowness”. Amanfayun gets it and serves just that – warmth, simplicity, abundance of nature and a basic feeling that instantly puts you at ease.
If you find yourself in Hangzhou, the mecca of longjing tea, why not pay your tribute to the world famous tea by wrapping yourself in all its goodness and love at the gorgeous Amanfayun Spa.
Don’t miss it!
If you’d like to check out the complete spa menu, click here.