THE former pulsating hub of entertainment of the 90’s — Tribes Music Restaurant and Bar of the then Holiday Inn Kuching — is now a relaxation centre for travellers and business people.
The first in the state to be located underground in the centre of a bustling city, the Borneo Odyssey Spa is convenient and easily accessible.
A total change from the past, the former music restaurant and bar now adopts a fairyland setting where gigantic mushrooms (in the form of cushions) sprout all over an empty central space while the aisle is lined with coloured fabric screened cubicles that are actually massage rooms. The beige screens add to the illusion of a fairyland while the green toadstools lend an “after-the-rain” feeling.
SPA manager Constance Ang explained: “The intention of the décor is to give a feeling of relaxation and what represents rejuvenation better than the feeling you get after the rain. We want our clients to feel rejuvenated and ready to face the challenges of their busy lives.”
The concept of the Borneo Odyssey Spa reflects the natural remedies and cures that are plentful in the rainforest. Take the example of the hornbill, the state’s emblem. Whenever one of its chicks falls out of the nest and breaks a leg, the mother bird would fly deep into the jungle in search of the right herbs to its mend the chick’s broken limb.
“In a way, Borneo Odyssey Spa is similar except it does not claim to have the capacity to cure and heal, only to soothe over stress and replace it with the good feeling of relaxation,” Ang said.
Not surprisingly, the Spa’s signature service is called The Hornbill Massage or The Borneo Odyssey Aroma Massage. The techniques are developed after the pecking of the bird and use only the best herbs found in the rainforest.
“The techniques are actually inspired by the bird’s gestures — its grip on a branch despite the huge casque on its head (balance), thunderous wing flapping before taking flight (energy), ability to glide over vast areas (harmony) and huge bill pecking the berries (exotic),” she said.
The Spa also prides itself in giving the best from the heart of the rainforest. The ingredients used there are all natural — picked from the jungle. The careful selection is the result of collaboration between local herbalists and practitioners.
All services provided are inspired by nature and cultures of the rainforest. From the olden techniques passed down through generations to the gestures of the birds in the forest.
The Borneo Odyssey Spa is run by eight highly-trained staff. The services include The Borneo Odyssey Aroma Massage that uses pristine coconut oil famed for its moisturising effect even days after treatment.
Extra care is also taken in the pressure applied by the masseuse. Only light and medium pressure is permissible.
Most prominent are the beak pecking and wing flapping of the hornbill replicated by the masseuse in the treatment aimed at soothing, relaxing and rejuvenating.
Another treatment for wholesomeness from the rainforest is the Borneo Traditional Massage that uses only firm hand pressure and has no oil application.
It’s a deep tissue treatment, using only palm, thumb and elbow pressure to relieve and heal muscle aches and pains. It focuses on relaxing muscles, thus improving body flexibility and restoring energy level. Charges commensurate with duration of the massage — two hours, one hour 30 minutes and one hour.
Another of the Spa’s distinctive feature is its Royal Foot Treatment and Foot Massage, highly recommended for those who have been on their feet the whole day.
Other massage services are of shorter duration — the head, neck, shoulder and back massage lasts 45 minutes while the head massage lasts only 30. Foot scrub and foot massage take one hour.
The Spa also provides unique facial treatment such as the purifying and detoxifying tradition facial, using only the freshest herbal remedies.
Applicable for all skin types, this treatment begins with a gentle wash with fruits and tomato extract cleanser. Local pineapple is used for scrub, effectively removing dead cells and impurities while nourishing the skin.
The detoxifying and cooling Borneo white mud mask removes any traces of make-up, dirt and toxins embedded in the pores while the gentle tea tree cream leaves the skin squeaky clean and silky soft.
Honey, known for its healing and anti-bacteria healing, and orange, famed for its cleansing property, are used in the facelift facial lasting an hour. Done regularly, it improves the skin texture and lightens blemishes.
There is also the dry skin facial that uses local bananas which have excellent natural moisturising properties. Full of potassium and rich natural oils that contain vitamin A, B and E, the fruit effectively improves skin elasticity.
Combined with the excellent moisturiser of avocado, the result is silky skin with the suppleness of youth.
Scented rose petals are used in the next facial therapy, the Royal Facial Treat. Besides the petals, five different ingredients are used, each with its own special property. This facial lasts for one and a half hour.