Best Spas Vancouver: CHI, The Spa at the Shangri-La Hotel
by Judi Lees
Other best spas in Vancouver
A visit to Chi, one of the city’s newest spas, in the swanky Shangri-La Hotel, is all about personalized service.
No chatty girlfriend changing rooms here, everything is discrete with Asian influences of rich teak wood and amazing Tibetan artifacts. Chi is also one of Vancouver's best spas.
The spa’s philosophy is based on Tibetan beliefs and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM); CHI (pronounced ‘chee’) describes the body’s life force. The CHI Balance Signature treatment is a blend of Asian techniques, including acupressure.
Feeling like a princess, I am escorted to a private ‘suite’ one of only six treatment rooms, each with soaker tub, fireplace, steam/shower, beautifully detailed changing area and cozy lounge. (One larger suite is a haven for couples.) Incense wafts from a Tibetan burner, I luxuriate in my steam room, don my cashmere-soft robe, then ring a bell when ready for my foot bath – is this Shangri-La or what?
As Marisa Short, my massage therapist, soaks then scrubs my feet, she explains that this is a traditional welcoming and purifying ceremony. I’m deciding I love these rituals, especially later [during my treatment] when a Tibetan singing bowl vibrates around my body – I hope that my karma has something to do with this tantalizing sound.
This massage, customized to cool my ‘fire’ element, begins with the feet as the Chinese believe that everything begins there. Marisa explains that this treatment is designed to open meridians and increase energy flow. As I enjoy long, rhythmic movements and occasional pressure on certain points, I picture my meridians as highways crisscrossing my body and I visualize detours disappearing. Although not deep, I find this pressure penetrating and when my lower legs are worked on, it’s mildly uncomfortable – aha, this is where I store my stress.
The aromatic oil of Neroli orange blossom, rose, lavender, cardamom and chamomile was customized for me and when I leave the spa, without having seen another client, I realize that this is what royalty and movie stars experience. At CHI we can all have our moment of stardom.
Other Best Spas in Vancouver:
Spa Utopia, Pan Pacific Hotel
Willow Stream Spa, Fairmont Pacific Rim
More Best Spas Canada
Back to top of Chi Spa at Shangrila Vancouver