Recently, I was feeling sorely in need of a massage session. I had aches and kinks in my head, neck and back that insisted on making itself known to me in various stages of ache-y discomfort. Not being on home turf, I looked around for a decent spa in Singapore that wouldn’t cost me a bomb. Enter Lark : The Spa Atelier.
Image credit to Lark : The Spa Atelier
What really sold me on choosing Lark Spa was their cutesy website, with all their literary references. There’s even a monthly literary inspired beauty treat – how cute is that? So I booked my appointment for the weekend and off I went.
It’s actually quite easy to get to Lark Spa (another reason why I chose it) from the Novena MRT. Just take Exit B which will take you to the underpass and get you on the right side of the road. From there, it’s just a short 10 minute walk to Hotel Royal, which is where Lark Spa is located.
I have to note that Hotel Royal is not exactly the poshest hotel ever. At the most I would give it a three star rating and even that is really pushing it, based on the ‘old’ feel of the hotel and the lobby/reception area. It reminds me a bit of the Federal Hotel back home in Kuala Lumpur. Also, in the short time I was there, I only saw Chinese nationals staying there, so I would reckon the mainstay of the hotel’s business depends on group tour package bookings.
Hotel atmosphere aside, Lark Spa is located in a teeny nook just off the lobby. Look for the stairs that leads up to the first floor and you’ll find Lark Spa next to it. Lark Spa is essentially a one-therapist operation as they only have one treatment room and a shower room for the hydrotherapy treatment (no toilet though – you’ll have to go outside if you need to use the facilities). So, in other words, it’s tiny and just a little bit cramped for my liking.
Check-in is quick and there’s a simple questionnaire to fill up on the usual – your skin condition and any current products you’re using. If you’re opting for the hydrotherapy treatment, the therapist will discuss with you which types of essential oils will be added to the bath for you. In my case, I was looking for relaxation so I had a blend of lavender, juniper and camomile.
You’re then taken to the treatment room so you can shed your clothes and don a bathrobe before shuffling across the narrow corridor to the shower room. I spent some of my hydrotherapy time wondering how on earth did they manage to get the bathtub in there – it’s that tiny and cramped.
The hydrotherapy basically consists of a shower heater contraption looking thingy that pumps air into the bathtub, forming bubbles that ‘massage’ your body as you sit/lie in the bathtub. There’s a chart hanging on the wall too that shows you the six optimum positions you might want to attempt in order to get the best returns from your hydrotherapy treatment. I personally found that lying on my side and alternating sides seemed to provide the best overall ‘reach’ to allow the bubbles to do its work. The closest description I can think of to describe how this hydrotherapy feels is to imagine yourself in a river with a fairly strong current flowing all around, buffeting your body. Or imagine having a dozen kids surround you and punching you with their tiny fists – you can feel the punch, but it won’t leave a mark.
After 25 minutes of hydrotherapy, I was ready for my full body massage. The therapist used lavender oil for me again, and I pretty much liked her touch. It was firm without being painful and I thoroughly enjoyed my 90 minutes of bliss. The treatment bed is heated for your comfort and I would have fallen asleep if not to the ambient noise – I could hear traffic passing by from the road outside and also whenever my therapist moved around (although bless her, she did try her very best to minimise the disturbances). I also like that the therapist will use hot towels to rub you down each time she finishes off a particular body part or area – I then have less of that oily feeling to deal with later.
Finally, I had a nice cup of tea to finish off my Lark Spa experience, which is apparently part of their Tea Atelier experience. Like the monthly beauty treats, they have limited edition teas to promote each month.
So, the big money question is, will I return to Lark Spa? I might return for the hydrotherapy and have definitely earmarked the massage as a favorite. I may not make it my regular place though and if you’re not comfortable with the ambience/surroundings you might want to give it a pass. A final thing to note – if you don’t speak Mandarin or are not fluent in it like I am, you may encounter some difficulty in communicating with the therapist.
Lark : The Spa Atelier
36 Newton Road
#01-03 Hotel Royal
Tel : +65-6356 8750
Website : http://lark-spa.com/
Note : My visit to Lark Spa was using a Groupon deal for 25 minutes of Hydrotherapy and 90 minutes of full body massage.