Sunday, July 21, 2013

Spa Village, Gaya Island Resort by YTL, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia

Ever so impressed with Spa Villages around the country, and after respiting in most of them, I couldn’t wait to try out their latest site at Gaya Island Resort.

Expecting the traditional architecture I’d seen in the others, I was surprised to see a modern construction on the island. Glass, wooden beams, high ceilings and multi level platforms sit amongst the mangroves. A contemporary, sustainable, raw feel imbues the experience.

Neutral tones blend with the surrounds and low-lying oatmeal hued seating areas dot across an unstained deck.

The reception leads out to an open balcony through giant double story glass doors. A pond gently trickles reflecting natural lighting. A bonsai, the only sign that man has attempted to interfere with nature, is the nucleus of the interior.

It is here that guests are welcomed with a scented cold moist towel and chilled juice – a revitalizing concoction featuring guava, lime, pineapple, star anise and chili. If it were allowed, a curl up in one of the round outdoor lounges, a carafe of this nectar and a good book could steal a very pleasurable few hours.

There’s no pre-treatment questionnaire filled out here. Rather, a casual conversation with the therapist before the service unveils any special medical conditions, areas to work on and your individual heat and pressure preferences.

Treatment rooms are in a separate building, a short walk downstairs and along a boardwalk through nature. They’re equipped with private bathroom, robe, slippers, disposable underwear and vanity products.

Massage beds are dressed in the central room lined by glass walls, but sheltered by soft curtains. The room flows out onto a deck with a transparent railing leading thoughts to linger in the lush mangroves and be absorbed by the sounds of the wild.

I’d booked in for the Aki Nabalu experience. Inspired by the “tremendous biodiversity” of the “botanical and biological species” found around Mount Kinabalu, the brochure assured me an “uplifting and unforgettable experience.”