V Botanic Spa LangkawiRAINFOREST BLISS

By Kamila Delart

See also: V Botanical Spa

Rainforest. A mysterious kingdom of monkeys, hornbills and primordial reptiles, with ancient trees majestically towering above one’s head, hidden pathways leading to mountain streams and breathtaking waterfalls, fragrant plants with healing powers. A magical world full of secrets waiting to be discovered…

Following the calling of the jungle, you can join a guided rainforest walk or explore one of the wildlife treks. But there is another, even more unique way to feel the spirit of the jungle: The ‘Song of the Malay Rainforest’ - a dreamlike Spa ritual recently launched by V Botanical Spa at The Andaman.

It is late in the afternoon when I walk along the jungle path leading to the five open-air Spa villas. After a storm, the air is pure and refreshingly cool. Talking a deep breath, I indulge in the earthy rainforest fragrance, and feeling the trees above me move, I lift my head to spot a family of monkeys. The jungle-inspired Spa Ritual can begin. 

Entering the ‘Divine Spa Villa’ nestled among dense foliage, with branches of trees reaching all the way into the treatment suite; I am seated in a comfortable chair with a magnificent view of the Andaman Sea. Immersing my feet in a foot bath infused with indigenous spices, I sip a Rainforest Tonic made of pandanus and gotu kola and sweetened with agave nectar, and listen to Asiah, my therapist, as she shares with me the secrets of the upcoming Rainforest Ritual.

V Botanic Spa LangkawiAll treatments are inspired by ancient Malay healing and beauty rites practiced for centuries by local herbalists, medicine men and midwifes. The time-honored ointments and concoctions are made from potent rainforest plants, sacred jungle herbs and rare local spices. There is a tray with some of the ingredients, and I cannot resist but touch the bumpy surface of the kaffir lime, rub between my fingers the thick juice of aloe-vera, and smell the fragrant lemon grass, imagining the rainforest people hundreds of years ago doing just the same, feeling as if I was connected to them in some way.

Sprawling out on the massage bed, I close my eyes in anticipation of a body polish made of honey, wild ginger and lime. Asiah applies the delicious blend in a circular motion all over my body, gently rubbing off the dry skin cells from the surface. Next comes the rich blend of kencur, galangal, ground rice and sea cucumber, known among the locals as the miracle cure, gamat. Asiah wraps me into layers of warm fluffy towels, with the heat opening my pores and enabling the skin to absorb the potent ingredients. Squeezing juice out of the freshly cut aloe-vera leaves, Asiah applies the nourishing fluid into the lengths of my hair, gently massaging my scalp, and letting me slowly drift off…

V Botanical Spa LangkawiAfter a quick shower, I enter a bath with kaffir lime, pandanus, lemon and kalamasi. I take a sip of a delicious herbal tea, and reach for the exotic fruit-skewer. Sweet mango, juicy watermelon, and fragrant pineapple… How delicious!    I press one of the kaffir lime slizes in my palm and inhale the fruity aroma, thinking about the Malay legends that claim that the scent cleanses one’s body and mind, and is a link to the spiritual world.  

My body feels heavy and relaxed, and yet all of my senses are heightened. I listen to the symphony of waves breaking against the rocks on the shore, blending with the bizarre laugh of a hornbill in the distance, inhale the earthy scent of the jungle. And when I look up to the ceiling, I see tiny lizards playfully chasing one another. The surrounding rainforest is so much part of this ritual, the power of this place so potent, it’s mind-blowing.
When I receive Urut Melayu, a traditional Malay massage based on the ancient concept of ‘moving the wind’, there is no tension left in my body. And as the rainforest facial with turmeric scrub, lime and cucumber toner, coconut oil massage and nourishing mask made of wild honey, rice powder, clay and lime smoothes away lines caused by past worries, even the memory of occasionally tough times seem to be erased. A pure rainforest bliss…

The ‘Song of the Malay Rainforest Ritual’ along with a newly lounged Ocean Ritual won recently the HARPER’S BAZAAR MALAYSIA 2012 SPA AWARDS. To find out more about these dreamlike spa rituals, visit the following website: vintegratedwellness.com

For reservations, call V BOTANICAL SPA at THE ANDAMAN: +604 959 1088

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