It has been a ridiculously long time since I visited a spa and an even longer time since I reviewed one for you, but because I was unwell most of 2012 I realised 2013 had to be different. I have to start taking better care of myself and that includes a little R&R every now and then. Aside from a delectable spa treatment that leaves your skin looking good, the other benefits of a spa visit include a significant impact on how you feel on the inside. And you know my saying, if you feel good you look good!
QT Sydney is one of the newest hotels to open in the busy Sydney CBD so I was excited to have a new spa to try out. Having not been to a QT hotel previously, this would be my first experience with the boutique hotel chain (also located in Australian holiday hot spots Port Douglas and the Gold Coast). I am going to share with you a review of my experience at SpaQ Sydney.
QT Sydney is known to have an eclectic design with decor to match. Formally the old Gowings building, QT Sydney incorporates much of the historic signatures of the building into their hotel but it is paired with bright signs, interesting artwork and a unique energy. Entry into QT Sydney is via a seamlessly disguised double doorway on George Street, Sydney next to The State Theatre and you could easily mistake entering one for the other. Upon entering you see their small coffee shop, Parlour Lane, to the right and a bank of elevators to the left. One of the hilariously quirky touches to QT Sydney is that the elevators are a digital instillation in their own right, playing music according to the number of people in the lift when the doors close. I was unlucky enough to catch the lift by my lonesome both entering and exiting the hotel so I was treated to Eric Carmen’s “All By My Self” and Akon’s “Lonely” respectively.
SpaQ is located on the Mezzanine floor so you simply travel up one floor in the lift. The hotel lobby is located one floor above SpaQ so you don’t actually see the hotel at all if you are just going to the spa. Interesting point of difference in my opinion and it made me feel like the spa is a separate entity to the hotel.
SpaQ Reception & Change Rooms
Straight out of the lifts you cross the corridor to the spa’s reception area (as seen in the opening image). I was kindly greeted as soon as I walked in, and while my booking was being located I got to take a quick glance at the retail display they had off to one side. I could see well known brands such as Kerstin Florian and OPI along with a brand I hadn’t heard of, Uspa.
I was escorted to the change rooms by the lovely receptionist, she opened a locker for me and explained everything that was inside – Hanger for my clothes, disposable underwear (a choice of g-string or briefs), robe and slippers, and towel should I wish to shower after my treatment. The change rooms were really funky and not what I am used to in a hotel spa. The lockers were bright orange, the small collection of amenities were displayed in an old cabinet and it was quite a small space in general (there was just 1 shower). While I was there I was the only person in the change rooms so I am assuming the space is suitable for the people traffic.
The dressing gown was like nothing I ever felt before so I checked out the label, it was from a company called Kashwere and they are made from a synthetic microfiber. The slippers were made of a rubber that reminded me of the grip mats you can buy at a hardware store. Actually, I think that is exactly what they were made from. Nevertheless, they were funky and I didn’t slip over at any time!
Waiting Room and Treatment Menu
Once I was dressed in my robe, disposable underwear (I went with briefs just in case you were wondering) and slippers I was escorted to the waiting area by the receptionist. The room was really dark, almost pitch black, except for a few bits of mood lighting and a large TV that was displaying moving words like a screensaver. I had to set my camera to super-flash in order to get photos. There was a table set up with water, tea (which I assumed was herbal) and glasses. I accepted a glass of water as I took a seat to look over the treatment menu and fill out the standard medical form. I was told my spa therapist will be out to meet me shortly. I was feeling conflicted as to what treatment I should have. Both my body and my face had been neglected from expert help for quite some time so I waited for my spa therapist to assist me with choosing.
Sarah was a kind, cheerful, young lady who introduced herself as my therapist for the afternoon. I explained to her my conundrum and she kindly went through the entire menu with me, explaining that the Uspa line is used for more aromatic feel-good treatments and the Kerstin Florian line is used for their more powerful result driven treatments. I decided that while I do enjoy a good peel, I felt like ultimate relaxation was most important for the day so I selected the Hydramax Balance Facial.
Hydramax balance facial
(60 mins / $145)
Overindulgence? Pollution? Air conditioning? Stress? Life takes its toll on your skin, particularly on the moisture content leaving it dry, lacking vitality and lifeless. For plump, juicy, sexy skin, we recommend this moisture drenching, thirst quenching, and super-saturating facial. We start with a gentle exfoliation, then restorative clays and nourishing harmonising oils high in essential fatty acids such as regenerative rose, jasmine, evening primrose and calendula, drench the skin to increase hydration and improve elasticity leaving you with radiantly dewy skin.
It sounded perfect and I was excited my skin would get a good drink ahead of the chilly winter weather.
The treatment room I was escorted to was quite large. It would have easily been big enough for a double room. I took off my robe and lay on the bed under a towel and blanket while Sarah waited outside. When Sarah reentered the lights were turned down and she prepared the lotions and potions for my treatment.
The facial was thorough and I got to enjoy each step without it flying by before I could even relax. It started with a double cleanse. Unfortunately some soap ran into my eyes during the second cleanse but Sarah was extremely apologetic and tried to assist me until the stinging stopped. That was the only time I was really snapped from my relaxation but I was deep into bliss after 10 minutes. After cleansing a manual exfoliate buffed away my skin, followed by a fruit acid peel. Once my skin was as clean as it could possibly be, a strong citrus-rose scent was present as an oil was applied to my face and massaged in. It was a similar to scent to most of the products that were used previously. Sarah explained the massage also assisted with lymphatic drainage to get out any toxins stored under the surface. A mask was applied on top and while it worked its magic I was treated to a hand massage. Heaven!
The treatment ended with an application of serum, eye cream and day cream. Waking up is always the hardest part but once I was out of the bed and taken back to the waiting area I enjoyed a fresh glass of water. When I stood up I could feel I was a little “woozy” so I must have fallen asleep. That is how I know when I have had a good treatment.
Before I left Sarah provided me with a prescription for the products that were used in the treatment, should I wish to purchase them to use at home. I left SpaQ with soft skin and ready for a nap!
SpaQ is located at QT Hotels Sydney, 49 Market Street, Sydney. Visit the SpaQ website to see a complete treatment menu, buy products from their online store or make a booking.