Just returned from a spa trip to Asia. First stop – Tokyo for a SpaFinder Japan press conference. Yoriko Soma, our partner in Japan, hosted a lovely event honoring recipients of the Crystal Awards for top spas in Japan.
I only had time to experience one spa so Yoriko arranged for me to have a treatment at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo. If she was trying to ‘wow’ me, she succeeded!
This ‘spa in the sky’ (37th floor) pretty much blew me away. A combination of their extremely impactful view of Tokyo from almost every room in the spa – fitness, treatment, vitality pool (even the sauna!) – and having Karen Aleksich give me a customized treatment in one of their spa suites – well, it doesn’t get much better than that. The price tag – almost $500 – was a ‘wow’ also.
Here’s what I learned:
1. Mandarin Oriental seems to have achieved a consistent 5-star level in their spas. I feel like I have been to enough Mandarin Oriental’s around the world now (sometimes unannounced) to have felt this consistency. Their décor is always exceptional and their therapists extremely well trained. I would say however say that Karen was a step above all the rest. (They tell me that even though she is in management now, they won’t let her out of the treatment room because she has such a following!)
2. Wow factors do ‘wow.’ When I think back to my experience – it truly created a memory: floor to ceiling windows (no drapes needed) with amazing 270 degree views all around you. The Tokyo skyline seem to go on forever. Even though I live in Manhattan, where we have some pretty impressive views, it looked to me like 20 Manhattans could fit into one Tokyo. It was so exhilarating that I almost had a hard time relaxing!
3. Yoriko explained to me that in Japan there is a premium on prestige. Experiencing a spa so high up in the sky definitely makes a first-class impression, thus the extremely high prices. With over 12 million people in greater Tokyo and a density (similar to India) of about 343 people per square mile (U.S. is 31), I guess management and staff can take comfort in looking out the window and being assured that there seems to be enough people who can afford their ‘wow’ pricing – even during recessionary times in Japan.