Taking its name from Sanskrit and meaning ‘water for the god and water for the king’, Siem Reap’s newest spa more than lives up to its promise of providing relaxation and lots more.
It is the lovely details that make kong special
Eyeing the gleaming corridors of La Residence d’Angkor’s new super-luxe Kong Kea spa, it’s immediately clear that some major pampering is on the way.
Whisked to a black-tiled, generously-sized treatment room complete with large tub, two massage tables, a bathroom, steam room and view to a garden, my mum and I wrap ourselves in fluffy robes in preparation for our 15-minute “foot cleansing celebration”.
I’m in bliss as the lovely Somann gently soaks my tootsies and scrubs away all my cares. Mum takes a little longer to reach such a state of delight; she’s never been great at relaxing. I quietly advise her to try. After the massage and exfoliation my feet are silky smooth. Sure beats a fish massage.
Following the traditional spa process of clean, heat, treat, rest, we’re led into the cavernous steam and shower room. My mother and I get to know each other a little better as, stripped down to our knickers, we attempt to endure half an hour in this humid sweatbox. The temperature is set at 50C so we rotate between perching on the hot bench and jumping up to rinse off under the cool streams of the rainwater shower. Mum gives up on the sweat-fest first but I’m determined to endure. Alas, after 10 more minutes of roasting I admit defeat. Who knew pampering could be such hard work?
Mopping our brows, we move on and position ourselves on the sumptuous massage tables before choosing from five enticing oils for our aromatherapy massage. I go for ylang ylang, for a double-shot of relaxation. Each product used by the eight therapists in the spa is organic and made locally so it’s a tough job to choose just one, but hey, someone’s got to do it.
The expert hands of my therapist and the heavenly ambience created by dim lighting, a subtle rainforest soundtrack, the pitter-patter of a waterfall and divine scents lacing the air, collaborate to plunge me into a meditative state so deep that, once or twice, I forget to breathe.
I resume inhaling and as my eyes lazily flicker open, a folded lotus flower floats peacefully in a bowl of water under my table. It really is the attention to such lovely details at Kong Kea that makes it special. And the chance to get to know my mum a little better.
Our writer chose the two-hour Path of Ritual Essential Formula, which includes a foot cleansing, choice of steam/sauna/bath, choice of eight body treatments and a relax by the cold indoor pool if time permits. The Path of Ritual Essential Formula costs $95 per person.