MUD and SPICE and all that's nice
Once spas used to be some place upper class travellers visited on trips abroad. But now they've mushroomed in Indian cities and are patronised by the middle class as well.
IF I say, "Cleopatra" and you think of goats' milk and honey baths, mint and clay wraps or myrrh and cream packs, you would be right on the mark, except that we would be discussing the treatments at the spa of the same name, not the famed beauty regimen of the Egyptian Queen.
"No body had a pampering service as advanced as Cleopatra; she really did it in style!", says owner Karin Chawla, explaining the choice of name for the spa.
The Egyptian connection is highlighted at Cleopatra; the famous Eye of Horus long, curvaceous, thickly blackened, able to repulse the evil eye looks out from many places and the rooms, the eye-shaped bath, as well some wraps, massages, and packs have Egyptian names.
Once, spas used to be some place upper class travellers visited on trips abroad, but now they've mushroomed in Indian cities and are patronised by the middle class as well. Chawla's clients range from working professionals and housewives to elderly ladies and college and school children.
As I stood outside the shut door of Cleopatra a rather homely building on one of the quieter streets of Indiranagar I wondered how much `pampering' could come out of an hour or two at a spa.
"A spa is about the three Rs," explains Chawla. Relax, refresh, rejuvenate. Even half an hour makes a difference, the treatments detox, reduce stress, remove dead cells, and add sparkle, and shine. Since Cleopatra is in the city, clients are able to visit regularly."
Karin's degree from The Australasian College of Health Sciences equipped her in the ways of natural health care and she is trained in Reiki and reflexology as well. At Cleopatra, Karin uses natural ingredients. "If you can't eat it, don't use it." Her staff is trained in using reflexology and aromatherapy with the massages.
Karin customises treatments to suit individual needs; she refers to personal health details of clients (consulting their physicians when necessary) to decide the particular treatments, and then decides the combination of treatments and the blend of herbal extracts and aroma oils to be used; the menu at Cleopatra changes with each season.
It's time to be pampered and if you feel like Cleopatra, that's the intention -- Photos: K. Murali Kumar
After about half a minute, the front door was unbolted and opened (its kept bolted because there are always women inside in various states of undress, being massaged or floating in a bath or sitting in a wrap) by a smiling bespectacled woman, later introduced as Jyothi, under whose practiced massage, I would later doze off, forgetting that morning's tugs of war and the evening's quota of rigours!
The services at Cleopatra include massages, exfoliation, wraps, and baths. Massages improve circulation, help in detoxification, cleansing of the organs, in relaxation, ridding the body of bloated feelings and exhaustion or even jet lag, and range from Rs. 350 to 500 for an hour.
Exfoliation rids the skin of grime, dead cells, and accumulated debris and prepares it for subsequent treatment ranges from "rejuvenating scrubs" to special "body buffing", which is when the entire body is coated with an antioxidant cream and then it is buffed off with linen, soaked in lavender and rose. These cost between Rs. 250 to Rs. 400 for 30 minutes.
The baths can be milk, honey, and rose petals, bubble baths or an antioxidant green tea bath (Rs. 500 for 20 minutes).
The wraps, where you are literally wrapped in linen soaked in different oils or infusions and then coated in natural clays help to break down cellulite and are an ancient treatment (Rs. 400 to Rs. 450 for an hour). Then there are packages with combination treatments for of four to six hours, and the cost ranges between Rs. 1,400 to Rs. 2,000.
It was time to try something getting wrapped or massaged seemed a bit much in the heat, and I was rushed too, so I chose a face, hands, and feet massage and a pack for the face.
After getting into a sarong in the roomy changing room, we moved to the curtained salon room; I lay on my back. And then, as Jyothi's practiced soothing hands massaged my face, arms, and hands and then my confused, wound up feet, I floated off. On the cloud, there was no rush, no chores. I remembered Karin had said that almost without exception, people fell asleep, even during waxing!
It's worth getting mud all over yourself, even on a hot, sticky day when you have to rush between chores, if you can sleep at 3.30 in the afternoon. So I'm going back. Cleopatra also has classes in aromatherapy and aromatic candle making.
Cleopatra is at 490, 15th Cross, II Stage Indiranagar, Bangalore 560038. Telephone: 25202718, 51159224.
KALA KRISHNAN RAMESH
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