On to Paradise

A downtown Vancouver spa is delivering innovative treatments from the West Coast and the other side of the world to attract a wider audience. 



Pristine white waffle robes and lemon water are no longer just the purview of the fair sex. A recent survey found that not only are male spa patrons on the rise (one Canadian study cited a third of spa goers as men), but 58 percent prefer to go with a partner. At the CHI spa in Vancouver’s Shangri-La Hotel, couples can bond over a three-hour package that includes the West Coast Wave massage on temperature-controlled beds using natural marine botanicals, followed by a seaweed body wrap to calm redness, soothe joint stiffness and relax tense muscles.

The masculine set prefer authentic, traditional treatments that don’t come across as too New Age-y, and oils and lotions that aren’t just borrowed from the girls. Featuring healing techniques from across Asia, the CHI’s Sense of Adventure treatments offer men signature massages from Thailand, India, China, and the Philippines. An ancient Ayurvedic detoxifying ritual from India — traditionally known as Panchakarma — uses coconut stems, aromatic oils and specific massage techniques to release toxins and ease muscle tension. Rugged types can brace themselves for a traditional Thai massage. The practitioner uses his or her own weight to stretch the client’s body and release tension from target areas, where stress (sadly, an equal-opportunity modern affliction) is carried in the body.

Images courtesy of the Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver