LIPPO, CIKARANG: Heading to the spa was foremost on my mind when I learnt that my colleagues and I were setting out for Water Boom, a water theme park located east of Jakarta, on a Friday. There was a fish spa according to the website of the Jakarta branch. The last time I soaked my feet in a mini pool teeming with dead skin-nibbling fishes was at Kampong Fish Therapy in Singapore. The fishes were imported from the Turkey and “exfoliated” my feet by eating the dead skin cells and leaving the skin silky smooth. A former colleague had egged me on having tried the treatment for her psoriasis and worked wonders for her. And while I do not suffer from psoriasis, I enjoyed the micro-massage, which was a ticklish for the first five minutes, and had gorgeous feet for several weeks.
I was mistaken – we weren’t heading to the Jakarta branch as I thought we were. We were en route to the Water Boom at Lippo Cikarang (pronounced Chikarang), which I learnt was the original Water Boom outlet built 12 years ago. Its website didn’t look promising; there was no mention of fish spa and clicking on the spa picture didn’t work. My heart sunk. As the bus drove to the lobby entrance of Water Boom, a sign, Aqua Spa, caught my attention. After going through the necessary bag check at the entrance, I made my way quickly to Aqua Spa all the while praying it wasn’t any rinky-dink place. I was in for a beautiful surprise.
Aqua Spa is a contemporary Balinese-designed spa surrounded by lush foliage. On the terrace are lounge chairs and foot stools with towels ready for use. On the side of the chairs are side tables where the refreshment drink and cool towel are placed prior to the treatment and your choice drink set upon after the treatment. It has its own entrance from Water Boom, but is accessible from Water Boom – turn left from the entrance and follow the winding path way.
Spa receptionist Herta was friendly when I descended upon her desk an hour or so before opening. She graciously presented the menu, which offers massage – full body or foot, head and back – body scrub and body mask, and specially tailored treatments for the hair, hands, face and feet. Spa packages are also available as well as waxing. An interesting addition to the menu is the Rocky & Angel Spa, or spa treatments for children from six to 12 years old consisting of massages lasting from 30 to 45 minutes.
Aqua Spa has been in operation for six years and Herta has been its spa receptionist for the last three years. Under her care are 10 therapists – women in brown sarong skirts matched with three-quarter sleeved white jacket-like tops and their hair pulled up in a neat bun. My therapist was 19-year-old Iie (pronounce ee-ee-ye) from Bogor.
“Our oils are made exclusively for us from Bali. If our clients want specific oils, we ask them to make it,” said Herta. Clients can choose from Earth Massage Oil, Garden Massage Oil and Water Massage Oil. Made from spices, the Earth Massage Oil is good in enhancing blood circulation and energy in the body. The Garden Massage Oil is made from fruits and flowers and used for relaxation and getting all romantic. And the Water Massage Oil is made from leaves, bark and wood, and used to calm the senses of the weary road warrior.
It was a toss-up between the Balinese Massage and Ubud Massage. I’ve had Balinese Massage before and the continuous strokes, stretching, skin-rolling and thumb pressure techniques always relieved the tension trapped in my back and shoulders. Ubud Massage intrigued me. Aside from the fact that Ubud is one of my favorite places in Bali, I’ve never tried an Ubud Massage, which is its signature massage. Ubud Massage won. But I made a mental note to come back for their signature treatment, the 90-minute Hot Ginger Stone Massage, a deep-tissue massage combining the healing properties of ginger and penetrating heat of the basalt stones to ease muscle aches.
Under Iie’s adroit hands, she, I observed, combined techniques from the two massages: long strokes, circle movements using the palms, skin-rolling and short strong strokes using the elbows. She started with my feet and legs, and worked her way to the back on the first part, sprinkling heated ginger oil – the Earth Massage Oil – on specific areas. For the second part Iie worked her magic on my legs, tummy, shoulders and face.
The 60 minutes seemed to have passed quickly. Soon after, Iie told me to head out to the terrace for my ginger tea after I got dressed. Out on the terrace, I thought the day was going swimmingly in between sips.
Aqua Spa Water Boom Lippo Cikarang Jl. Madiun Kav 115 Lippo Cikarang 17750 Indonesia Tel: +62 21 9497 9385, 8990 9467 | Fax: +62 21 8990 9469 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Hours: 10am – 6pm (Monday to Friday) | 9am – 7pm (Saturday and Sunday, Public Holiday)