27 June 2012
With panoramic views of the Imperial Palace gardens, an Alpine-inspired design and a pristine, white ambiance that is at once remarkably serene and very Japanese, evian SPA TOKYO introduces a current of French savoir faire into the city’s fast-developing spa culture with its debut at Palace Hotel Tokyo.
A first for Japan and opened just last month, the 1,200-square-meter facility features five treatment rooms and a spa suite (each aptly named after a peak in the Alps), heated baths, a marble sauna, cold plunge pool, dry sauna, reclining baths and separate men’s and women’s relaxation lounges.
While urban spas sometimes struggle to evoke serenity amidst congestion, Palace Hotel’s incomparable location is a willing collaborator, lending inimitable views of the Imperial Palace gardens and moats and, on a clear day, mystical Mt. Fuji in the distance, to reinforce the natural connections.
“Like evian® natural mineral water itself, the concept for this spa springs from the mountains,” says the hotel’s Executive Director and General Manager Masaru Watanabe. “The journey of evian® water through the French Alps, which leads to its purification and balance, is the same metaphorical journey we’re endeavouring to embark upon with our guests.”
Inspired by that journey, the spa’s treatment menu cultivates similar themes, with facials, body scrubs, therapies, journeys and rituals that celebrate celestial restoration, mineral enrichment, precious nourishment and renewed vitality. Products by Paris-based Omnisens and Anne Semonin are incorporated throughout.
With a price range to serve as a lure to the hesitant and a menu designed to cater to both newcomers and avid spa enthusiasts alike, Palace Hotel aims to make waves in Tokyo as the city’s most accessible, high-end wellness experience.
One of the spa’s signature experiences – the Vitalizing Signature – is a 50- or 80-minute body treatment inspired by the Japanese philosophy of seitai, whereby pressure is meticulously applied to ‘master’ trigger points using fingers, thumbs and elbows to intensely stimulate and improve the flow of energy throughout. To finish, a Swedish-style deep tissue massage is applied to release tension and ‘trigger’ the body to naturally restore its own balance from within.
Tapping that same inspiration, the spa’s design is an interpretation of the purifying journey undertaken by evian® natural mineral water.
“We sometimes forget that spa treatments can be very transformative, very much like a journey,” says Watanabe. “That theme, of reclamation and recovery, not only defines the treatments but the space itself.”
From the loose stone garden at reception signifying the water’s source on a mountaintop to the swimming pool’s resemblance to a deep blue mountain pond – a metaphor enhanced by original plasterwork on the walls designed to echo a silhouette of the Alps – the hotel’s spa is all about regeneration.
Amidst its minimalist aesthetic, one of the spa’s most distinctive design elements is a sculptural origami ceiling installation that represents a flock of birds, running the length of the spa’s main interior space.
In the ladies’ spa area, a cedar-scented marble sauna takes center stage, complete with purposebuilt, heated seats and LED light therapy technology that mirrors a 24-hour cycle of natural light in the French Alps – every 10 minutes.
Adjunct to the spa is a 127-square-meter fitness facility outfitted with a comprehensive line of equipment by Technogym and Life Fitness. The indoor swimming pool, measuring 20 x 5 meters and framed on one side by wall-to-wall windows and an outdoor terrace, leaves swimmers to contemplate the Imperial Palace gardens and vibrant Uchibori Dori below between laps or while enjoying a dip in the Jacuzzi.