Tucked away in nondescript corners of the island are two new salons with unique services.
THE LUXE HOUSE
7A Dempsey Road, tel: 6479-9997
Get your late-night pampering here. Occupying a serene corner of Dempsey Hill with plenty of carpark spaces, this luxurious wellness spa is open from 1pm to 1am.
Spread over 4,000 sq ft, it features 11 treatment rooms, some of which can accommodate up to four people, making it perfect for slumber parties.
Opened by Malaysia-born entrepreneur Chris Tan, 51, in October, The Luxe House specialises in treatments that incorporate traditional Chinese massage techniques.
The menu includes head-to-toe treatments such as scalp acupressure massages, the therapeutic Chinese rubdown tuina, cupping and foot reflexology.
Prices start from $118 for a 60-minute acupressure foot massage.
REVIEW: With its gilded mirrors and plush furniture, the reception area of this wellness spa has the vibe of an expensive boutique hotel's lobby.
I tried the Royal Meridien Foot & Back Therapy ($158 for 100min) in a comfortable and spacious four-seater room (the single-seater rooms offer more privacy but some are a little cramped).
The treatment started with a thorough head, neck and ear massage while my feet were soaked in a hot tub.
This was followed by an extensive essential oil foot reflexology and leg acupressure massage. I usually find such massages unbearably painful. But my therapist was skilful enough to relieve tension in my abused feet and legs without making me suffer too much.
The traditional cupping method was also used to detoxify and boost the blood circulation in my feet, and it felt surprisingly pleasant.
Afterwards, I got an excellent back and arm rubdown that eased the deep-seated and painful knots in my muscles. Hot stones were then placed on my lower back to further soothe the aches.
I opted for an additional Royal Ear Mining experience ($60), which is a combination of an ear acupressure massage and gentle ear-cleaning session with a down puff.
Right after the treatment, my legs looked firmer and slimmer, while the water retention in my knees was gone. The next morning, I woke up without the usual backaches and felt a lot lighter.
Some treatments in five-star spas that cost twice the price did not make me feel as good after this visit.
The nourishing tea blends - served before and after the treatment - contain ingredients such as cordyceps, wild lingzhi and loquat leaf, are a plus.
BEAUTE BY KEW
Block 2, Everton Park 01-47, tel: 6534-8255
Located near an old-fashioned provision shop and traditional Chinese medicine hall below a block of flats at the hipster Everton Park, this boutique beauty salon offers organic skincare treatments.
The 600 sq ft women-only salon was launched in March by Ms Lily Kew, 44, who has been in the beauty business for more than a decade.
Beaute by Kew is the exclusive stockist of the organic brands Black Chicken Remedies (photo) from Australia and Yum Gourmet Skincare from Canada.
A combination of high-tech methods, such as radio frequency to lift and firm skin, dynamic pulsed light to brighten skin, and non-invasive mesotherapy, are used in conjunction with the organic skincare products during the facial treatments.
Prices for facial treatments start from $90 for a 75min deep-cleansing facial.
Prices of the organic skincare starts from $37 for a pot of deodorant paste to $132 for a bottle of eye serum.
REVIEW: There are just four beds in this tiny but cosy salon.
I tried the Black Chicken Remedies Micro-dermabrasion Facial ($175 for 105min).
After the usual double-cleansing, my skin was further deep-cleansed with the Derma Aqua Peel machine. It exfoliated the dead cells while pumping my dehydrated skin with distilled water. This was followed by a quick extraction and thorough lifting facial massage.
While my face was covered with a cacao mask (made with kaolin clay to detoxify and cacao to nourish), I was given a neck and shoulder massage.
After the treatment, I could see that the pores around my nose and chin were unclogged.
Overall, my skin felt smoother and more plumped. The pores also looked tighter for the rest of the week.
These treatments were sponsored.
This article was first published on Nov 28, 2014. Get a copy of Urban, The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.