Not Far From The Madding Crowd Lies This Oasis Of Calm


Another hectic week in this never-ending stressful city of ours calls for a pampering experience whenever possible and this was made possible with a complimentary voucher (thanks to Libresse and C Communications) for a 1.5 hour treatment at the well known city spa, Villa Manja which I have read much about but never got round to checking out until last weekend.

The spa’s location along Jalan Damai was definitely a place I’d been to before because I vaguely remember getting lost along that road once! Just to make sure, I asked for directions when I called to book my appointment and was told to go along Jalan Ampang. It didn’t turn out to be that difficult after all although I did miss the turning and had to make a U-turn somewhere. That stretch of Jalan Ampang is always congested and I dread going there any time, any day. Villa Manja is situated in a bungalow which has a lot of greenery in the garden.

Due to some circumstances beyond my control, I was at Villa Manja’s doorstep a full hour before my scheduled appointment at 11am (when they open) and I was hoping I could at least be allowed in to wait. The receptionist cum manager, Marian welcomed me in even though they were hardly ready for business and I don’t blame them. I was way too early!

The first thing that struck me was how much seating there was in the place. There is a pool right by the entrance and the steps over it are strewn with rose petals, nice touch. Now this had to be a truly pampering spa worthy of its name. Indeed, the place looks more like an interior designer had done some serious work but it’s all attributed to Marian’s eye for details.

There are several waiting areas in this spa which means that they can accommodate small groups of people at the same time, each getting some privacy. Villa Manja is popular with foreign tourists and expats, especially those working in the nearby embassies. They also cater for private functions and events but you’d have to let them know way in advance what you’d like on the menu. Marian is an accomplished pastry chef who has over 2 decades of work experience in 5-star hotels abroad.

Such a profusion of flowers everywhere and the rooms were fragrant, redolent with the scent of freshly cut pandan. It really helps to be in a completely relaxed state of mind before heading upstairs for the treatments. There are 4 couple rooms and 2 single rooms. I was offered a special massage oil which is (to Marian’s knowledge) only available at Villa Manja and the other famous spa, Spa Village. This is a herbal oil formulated with a blend of rosemary, thyme, cedarwood and grapeseed, definitely a better option than the same old same old lavender or ginger oil.

My treatment was half an hour of hot stone massage and an hour of aromatherapy massage. This being an upmarket spa, disposable panties and shower cap are provided. The treatment room I was in was spacious and faced the front of the house. The windows were left half-open but there was air-conditioning. As the windows were half-open, I could hear the gusty wind and unwanted sounds from souped-up cars which jolted me from my soporific state of idyllic half-slumber. You might want to choose a treatment room which doesn’t face the front of the house or have the windows closed. Elsewhere in Villa Manja, it is an oasis of calm, the perfect venue for private parties.

As the massage oil had been heated on the hot stones prior to being applied on my back, it felt indescribably good. Heated oil is the best as I could instantly feel my muscles relax and untense. Hot stone massage is so much better than just normal massage as it can really promote blood circulation and relieve muscle tension. I wanted the hot stone massage to go on for another half hour, it was THAT fantastic to feel the hot stones easing away the aches.

The hour long massage was above average but give me hot stones any time over the conventional massage. The effect of the hot stones rolling on my back, shoulder and neck coupled with the hot oil was more therapeutic so this is one hot stone massage I highly recommend provided you don’t have ultra-sensitive skin of course. Some people stay away from hot stone therapy because they cannot take or do not like the direct heat from the stones.

Villa Manja has lots of other therapies and can adequately accommodate groups considering the space inside as well as number of treatment rooms. Service is excellent without unnecessary chatter during the session. The treatment room I was in is so spacious that there is a bath tub in the corner and yet the room doesn’t feel at all cramped.

They have an Afternoon Tea Special (12-5pm) whereby if you come with a friend, the price is RM300 for a 1.5 hour treatment (1/2 hour scrub and 1 hour massage) on weekdays & RM360 on weekends. It includes afternoon tea and snacks. Villa Manja is located at 41, Jalan Damai, Off Jalan Tun Razak, 55000 Kuala Lumpur (03-2161 5418).