Review: A Head-to-Toe Treatment at Gentlemen’s Tonic
We tried out a special holistic body treatment for men at The Landmark
Here’s the not-so-dirty-little-secret of looking good: skin and nails matter. While you could hire a stylist to stock your closet up with the best matching and the most flattering clothes, dry skin and unattended nails are a big turn off – one that becomes part of the man, not his externality. But as much as we like to look effortlessly dashing, it takes discipline (diet and exercise), knowledge and an arsenal of beauty products to have radiant skin and kempt nails. Luckily for us men, the Gentlemen’s Tonic promises to take care of the latter two, making it a one-stop solution to men’s grooming. We stepped inside to find out if it can live up to its promises.
Fittingly located in The Landmark Men department in the basement of The Landmark, Gentlemen’s Tonic has a welcoming ambience with masculine colours of dark brown and beige. It is a business venture founded in Mayfair, London by ex-financier Olivier Bonnefoy. Having introduced its spa and grooming packages to Hong Kong since mid-2011, Gentlemen’s Tonic has quickly become one of the favourite men’s spas in town and was awarded AsiaSpa’s Men’s Spa of the Year 2011.
It was a late Monday afternoon, and I was dragging my feet after a busy workday and a weekend of hiking. But inside the parlour, humming in the background, were some easy-listening tunes and as if they could mind read, the friendly staff were quick to offer me a complimentary drink. Now sitting in the spacious waiting area with a good ol’ gin and tonic in hand and a full head-to-toe treatment ahead of me, I was all of a sudden in heaven.
I had opted for The Buhl treatment, a tribute to the late climber Hermann Buhl, and one of Gentlmen’s Tonic’s seven signature packages inspired by male legends. The 195-minute holistic treatment consists of a rejuvenating facial, hot stone treatment, deep tissue massage and foot treatment, but the massage would be shortened during this trial, explained my therapist Grace, who quietly but methodically began the treatment as I lay face down in the slightly dimmed, immaculate private room.
Privacy and exclusivity is everything at Gentlemen’s Tonic – every room serves a different purpose, from a wet shave to a body massage. Depending on the treatment, lighting and temperature are adjusted accordingly, while customers can enjoy some soothing tunes or catch up on the latest news on TV.
Grace began by warming my ankles with warm towels, and then worked her way up to my shoulders with extreme care. During the massage the Filipino-native only spoke when spoken to and she made sure everything was tailored for me. The pressure she applied was perfect, hitting multiple pressure points, and more attention was given to my neck and shoulders upon requests. She then went on to explain that Asian customers tend to ask for heavy pressure in massage, while westerners like oil-based spa. It is therefore Gentlemen’s Tonic’s goal to treat customers according to their specific needs.
Moving on to the facial, a four-step cleanse, exfoliate, mask and moisturising treatment was applied after a quick assessment of my skin type. Although I wasn’t allowed to pick, all the products used – a Skinceutical cleanser, rice-extract exfoliator, Gentlemen’s Tonic mask and a babassu-based cream – according to Grace were mild and would help lift and firm my dry skin. I especially enjoyed the short but relaxing head massage at the end as Tony Bennett belted out Fly Me to the Moon in the background.
The brutal reality of this review session dictates that, like the body massage, my facial treatment had to come to an end; fortunately, though, I was soon led to a room with a barber chair where my feet would be given its fair share of pampering.
Now with a happily moisturised face, I kicked back while Grace skillfully warmed my feet in hot water, exfoliated them with mineral salt and dipped them in a pool of purple-coloured wax, before wrapping them to keep the warmth in. The heat, said Grace, would soften my feet and enhance the blood circulation. A meticulous clipping and nail filing session was then given.
During those 105 minutes, not only was I given one of the best pampering sessions I’ve experienced to date, but I was also given skincare advice including using fresh tomatoes as cleanser and that men “should get a facial done every six weeks” and “whenever the weather changes”.
I won’t lie, I have no complaints about this wonderful treatment apart from receiving a truncated massage. My face and well-oiled feet were still surprising soft and light after 24 hours. I reckon I will be back soon, maybe in six weeks’ time.
The Buhl is priced at HKD2,550. Other popular treatments include The Hemingway (HKD1,800) with an aromatherapy facial and massage, and The Valentino (HKD1,950) with a hand treatment, foot treatment, rejuvenation facial and a refreshing eye treatment.
B47-B48, The Landmark, 15 Queens Road, Central
For bookings and enquiries please call +852 2525 2455