A day at the spa is always a good idea — after all, who doesn’t like getting pampered — but Asaya Hong Kong is no ordinary spa. That might explain why I found myself painting with acrylics for the first time since elementary school in a private treatment room with Kit, my therapist at Asaya during a recent visit (but, more on that later).
Located on the 6th and 7th floors of the Rosewood Hong Kong with 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, Asaya became the largest and most comprehensive wellness sanctuary in Hong Kong when it opened in late 2019.
In addition to the usual spa treatments including massages and facials, you’ll also find integrated treatments drawing on different traditions, personalised wellness programmes tailored to each guest and specialised retreats and workshops run by expert practitioners.
Asaya’s programmes are designed around five pillars of wellness: emotional balance, fitness and nutrition, physical therapies, skin health, and community. This holistic approach makes a lot of sense when you think of how everything is connected when it comes to wellness—from our diet, gut health and posture to exercise routine and emotional self-care.
A personalised wellness journey at Asaya
My wellness journey at Asaya Hong Kong included a choice of singing bowl therapy, mindfulness meditation, expressive arts therapy or projective drawing analysis (I went for the arts therapy) and choice of facial treatment (I chose the Lift by Sunday Riley).
I started with a visit to the Bath House, a separate building with a warming jacuzzi, steam room and ice mist shower to relax and calm my mind. After 20 minutes of silent bliss, it was time to robe up to see Kit for the expressive arts therapy session.
It might seem odd to have this session before the facial treatment, but Asaya Hong Kong designed their programmes this way so that guests can first connect with themselves at the beginning of their wellness journeys. Similar to checking in with yourself, this allows guests to fully enjoy and experience the rest of their treatment in hopefully a better state of mind.
Expressive arts therapy
I honestly had no idea what to expect when I met Kit Shum, emotional awareness practitioner at Asaya Hong Kong. As a registered yoga teacher, hypnotherapist and expressive arts therapist with two Masters degrees in Expressive Arts Therapy and Behavioral Health, she was definitely an expert in her field.
So what exactly is expressive arts therapy? According to Asaya, it’s the use of imagery, storytelling, dance, movement, drama, music and visual arts as an integrated way to foster human growth, development, insights and healing.
After pouring me a cup of hot herbal tea, Kit asked if I had anything I’d like to work through in our 1-hour session. I didn’t have anything specific in mind so Kit began with a simple card game. Taking out a deck of cards with what seemed like random words/phrases on them, I was instructed to choose five that resonated most with me. After that, she asked me to pick five cards from another deck and to keep them face down.
She then laid the first five cards down on the table face-up and placed one of each face-down card on top of each of them. Then, one card at a time, she flipped the top card to reveal an image, to which I was asked to interpret how it related to the word card.
For example, if the word card was ‘Stop’ and the image was a dead end, Kit would ask me what the relevance of the image was to the word ‘Stop’, and by talking through it, we were able to uncover something within myself that I was either thinking about or going through at the time.
Sure, some cards were more difficult than others (especially the image of a chopped-off hand and how it related to the word ‘boss’), but somehow, just by talking out loud with Kit, it all seemed to make sense in the end.
Next, we did a little role play based on one of the cards, which involved standing up, closing my eyes and using my imagination to describe the things that I was seeing in my mind, guided by Kit. Again, through that exercise, I realised more about myself and what I was going through at the time. After all, there’s a reason behind every thought you have, and through this process, I was learning more about mine.
Lastly, Kit asked me to do a little painting, to which I was quite anxious as I had no idea what or how to paint. Ever-encouraging, she handed me a stack of magazines that I could clip images out of to make a collage, and I eventually found several images to cut out. Sticking them onto a blank piece of paper, I eventually put brush to paper and painted around the cut-outs and whatever else that came to mind—a green fern, a blue heart, an arched line to clean the paint off my brush, etc.
After I was done, it was time for another discussion with Kit who asked me to explain my masterpiece. Again, I was at a loss for words as I assumed it was just all random, but after talking it out and trying to extrapolate how each image, colour and shape related back to me as a person, it made me realise that nothing is actually random. Everything has a meaning, and your unique interpretation of something says a lot about yourself.
Finally, the session (which felt like a lot more than 60 mins) came to an end and it was time to head off to my facial with another Asaya therapist.
The Lift by Sunday Riley Facial
In a gorgeous spa treatment room, I slowly drifted off to la-la land during the facial, which used gentle but firm lymphatic massage to stimulate circulation in the skin and reduce puffiness. Ending with a red light LED collagen-boosting treatment and hyaluronic acid mask, I woke up with a smooth and glowing complexion that was noticeably brighter.
Relaxed and somewhat dazed, I was led back to the lounge to enjoy more tea, dried fruits and nuts, while I contemplated further on my artwork…
My wellness journey at Asaya was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in Hong Kong. Sure, I’ve had plenty of five-star luxury spa treatments and participated in workshops on self-development and alternative therapies in various wellness retreats in Southeast Asia, but having something like this in a hyper-urban city like Hong Kong is very much needed.
Although I was only at Asaya for around three hours, the insights from my wellness journey have definitely stuck around with me for much longer. In fact, I’ve even put up my little painting at home as a reminder that nothing is random, there are no mistakes, and that life is all about interpretation.
Of course, if an inward-looking journey isn’t quite what you’re looking for, there are still plenty of other ways to spend a few hours (or days) in utter bliss at Asaya, whether you’re lounging by the incredible infinity pool, working out at the state-of-the-art fitness centre or enjoying one of the many relaxing spa treatments.
Asaya Hong Kong, 6/F Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, +852 3891 8888