Art Deco Delight
Opened in 1934, the Yangtze Hotel has long been a part of Shanghai’s extraordinary history. Designed as an iconic tribute to the Art Deco movement of that time by renowned architect Li Pan, the hotel cost more than 1.2 million silver dollars to build and featured one of the first spring dance floors in Shanghai. Not surprisingly, the hotel became a favorite among celebrities, social elites, tycoons, and even gangsters during Shanghai’s golden era.
In more recent times, the hotel has been given a fresh start thanks to Langham Hotels International, which restored it to its former glory. Re-opened in May 2009 after being closed for more than a year, The Langham, Yangtze Boutique, Shanghai captures the romantic flavor of old Shanghai with lavish Art Deco inspired interiors. Also adding to the ambience is the signature ginger flower fragrance that greets guests upon arrival.
The hotel serves as a refuge from its location in the heart of Shanghai’s central business district near the famous Nanjing Road, one of the world’s most popular streets for shopping. Guests looking for an even greater reprieve from the city’s crowded streets will find that and more at Chuan Spa, the hotel’s healing haven. The spa is based on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which incorporates yin and yang; the five Wu Xing elements, also known as the five elements (fire, earth, metal, water, and wood); and Jing Luo, the meridian system. Guided by these TCM pillars, the spa’s products and treatments are designed to restore balance and harmony to the body.
To determine which of the elements is out of balance, guests are asked to fill out a Chuan Spa Five Element profile, which includes questions that range from asking about particular food cravings to an individual’s favorite season. Guests are also asked to choose from three scents, based on the results of the questionnaire. Once the therapist has identified the element that needs to be balanced, a customized treatment is devised. One of the spa’s most popular treatments is the Harmony Massage ($102/$193 per couple, 60 minutes; $148/$283 per couple, 90 minutes), which is designed to stimulate meridian harmony by using a combination of acupressure and other massage techniques.
Complete with infinity baths, steam showers, and wet and dry saunas, the four-treatment-room spa features an Asian-inspired decor. With nine full-time staff members, the spa is able to accommodate approximately 10 to 14 clients each day. For those guests who want to be in close proximity to the spa, there are three Chuan Residences, which provide easy access to the spa. They feature private steam showers complete with aromatherapy and chromatherapy. Guests who choose to stay in the Chuan Residences are also provided with a 60-minute Chuan Signature Treatment as part of the experience. According to managing director Henk Meyknecht, the residences have been so popular that he wishes he had more.
While Shanghai continues to grow by leaps and bounds, Chuan Spa creates a haven from the city’s hustle and bustle. In November, the Langham, Xintiandi, Shanghai opened its doors in one of Shanghai’s most fashionable districts. Its Chuan Spa is slated to open in June, giving both visitors and locals another sanctuary in which to experience the best of both worlds. Says spa director Daphne Li, “It’s the ideal combination of Chinese culture and Western lifestyle.”