Review: Intercontinental Hotel Club, Qatar

It’s lousy to be away from home during Christmas! So, what’s the next best thing I can compensate myself? How about a hide-away in a luxury hotel, sit by the beach and pool and gorge myself silly on good food?

Decision made. Next, to look up a hotel. This is a no-brainer…I have a free Hotel Intercontinental Hotel voucher set to expire on Christmas Day itself..so the choice was unanimous – Hotel Intercontinental, Qatar. Date: 24 December 2009.

Hotel Intercontinental, Qatar is not the newest hotel in Qatar. In fact, it seems to have been around for a while. The outer facade does not look new, the rooms are well decorated and furnished but you can tell it’s slightly aging, and the restaurants does not serve exciting cuisine. However, it seems to be packed with expats and local alike – much more than some of the newer and grander hotels around.

I think the reason is simply this – once you step past the lobby of the hotel and enter past the pool area – you’re in a oasis of your own. The hotel has a grand pool, health and fitness club and beach area and while not exactly letting your hair down, you can relax and let go some of the inhibition you have while residing and living in conservative Qatar.

I like the fact that the health club has 2 squash courts. I have not played squash for a while and enjoy slamming away at the squash court. The courts are also used for ‘spinning’ – a sort of stationery bike aerobics group exercise – and a group of lady expatriates were cycling away to some hot and pulsating music.

The pool area is large with a swim-up bar. Alcohol is served and bikinis are in abundance. Deck chairs surround the pool and continue on to the large beach area. Once you sink into a deck chair, sip a beer, close your eyes, dig your feet into sand and listen to the waves, you’ll never imagine you’re in Qatar!

Hotel Intercontinental - as viewed from beach
Hotel Intercontinental – as viewed from beach

Large Swimming pool area
Large Swimming pool area

Relax by the sandy beach
Relax by the sandy beach

For those with children, there is a kid’s playground and a shallow wading pool. For those with older children, a beach club cater for kayaks, water-scooters and sailboats for rental.

And when hunger or thirst strikes, there are numerous restaurants dotting the pool area or within the hotel itself. There is a large international buffet restaurant, a cafe, a Mediterranean restaurant, a Mexican restaurant cum bar and a large Lebanese seafood restaurant.

I do have to admit that restaurant prices are on the high side, especially with the galore of Christmas meals, and I couldn’t have as many meals as I wanted in the hotel. Luckily, there are hourly shuttle bus service to the nearest shopping mall and I was able to settle a couple of meals at the mall and back without having to burn a hole in my wallet. Nor face the stress of driving in Doha’s traffic on my day off.

There is a spa at the health club but prices are a bit scary. There is also a Chinese massage and acupuncture clinic at the 2nd level but having visited their sister outlet at Sheraton hotel, I wasn’t too keen either.  (Read here)

But you don’t really need a massage here to have a good time at the hotel. To be able to enjoy the sound of the waves and be able to drink the occasional beer had already made my day. I now understand why this hotel is a top favourite with expats despite being slightly out of the way and not being the newest nor the grandest!

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AsiaSpa Awards 2009

Asia has it’s own Oscar version of the best spa destinations in Asia. Once a year, the spa and wellness industry get together to celebrate the finest amongst themselves.

Have you been to any of these award winning spas? If you have, why not tell us more about these spas and let us all share why these spas are so deserving of their awards!

Asia Spa Awards

Dated: 13 November 2009

Last night the winners of the fifth AsiaSpa Awards, presented by AsiaSpa magazine, the region’s most recognised spa and wellness publication, were announced and honoured at a glittering evening in Hong Kong. Celebrating the best in innovation and quality in spas around the region, the 27 categories voted on by 28 independent judges were won by spas, spa personalities, associations and resorts that have set the benchmarks for quality and service in the region.

It was a night of glitz and glamour as Asia’s spa community came together to celebrate its finest. Themed “La BelleÉpoque”, the event saw guests dressed to the nines in their most elegant 1920s fashion. Women dressed in their finest feathers, jewels and silky dresses, while the men came in fedoras, vests and suits.

The big winners of the night included Thailand which won for “Destination Spa of the Year” for Six Senses Destination Spa Phuket as well as “Asian Spa Capital of the Year”. Green T. House in Beijing also won for “Day Spa of the Year” as well as “Spa Design of the Year”. “Spa Event of the Year” went to the Global Spa Summit held at Interlaken, Switzerland. In the first year for the category “Best Children’s Spa Menu of the Year”, the Ice Cream Spa at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island emerged as the category’s debut winner.

“The year has been a particularly tough one for the spa and wellness industry, yet some spas, brands and resorts have come out even stronger than before. The highly respected ASA are there to recognise the very best of the best and push forward the whole industry to higher standards.” said Olivier Burlot, Managing Director of Blu Inc Media.

“Asia currently has the largest number of spas under development of any region in the world, a fact that is reflectedin the magazine’s pages,” said AsiaSpa’s Editor-in-Chief, Rebecca Walker. “We are looking forward to an exciting 2010.”

Hosted at Hong Kong’s classy Armani Bar, guests enjoyed buffet treats and musical beats supplied by the bar. Bombay Sapphire cocktails flowed freely and Baccarat’s stunning glass jewellery was showcased by the presenters. Guests walked away with special gifts from Aromatherapy Associates, spa vouchers from City of Dreams in Macau, Fiji Water, LCN products and Baan body products.

The winners of the AsiaSpa Awards 2009 are:

Destination Spa of the Year: Six Senses Destination Spa, Phuket, Thailand

Urban Spa of the Year: Bliss Spa, W Hotel, Hong Kong

Day Spa of the Year: Green T. House, Beijing

New Spa of the Year: The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Sanya

Spa for Men of the Year: Chuan Spa at Langham Place Mongkok, Hong Kong

Spa Retreat of the Year: COMO Shambhala Retreat, Uma Ubud, Bali

Eco-Spas of the Year: Spa by Mandara, Alila Villas Hadahaa, Maldives

Socially Responsible Spa of the Year: The Shinta Mani Spa, Cambodia

Medi-Spa of the Year: S Medical Spa, Bangkok

Asian Spa Capital of the Year: Thailand

Spa Association of the Year: APSWC – Asia-Pacific Spa & Wellness Coalition

Spa Event of the Year: Global Spa Summit

Spa Personality of the Year: Karina Stewart, Co-founder, Brand & Concept Director, Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary

In-Spa Training of the Year: CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La

Spa Academy of the Year: Banyan Tree Spa Academy

Spa Design of the Year: Green T. House, Beijing

Best Children’s Spa Menu of the Year: Ice Cream Spa, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Spa Treatment of the Year: “Hilot Trilogy”, Mandala Spa & Villas, Boracay

Holistic Treatment of the Year: “Sound and Stone”, Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, Australia

Men’s Spa Treatment of the Year: “Man Space Healing Balance Massage”, i.sawan Residential Spa & Club, Grand Hyatt, Erawan Bangkok

Spa’s Therapist Team of the Year: Mandarin Oriental

Spa Product of the Year: Algotherm

Anti-Ageing Product of the Year: Aromatherapy Associates, ’Fine Line Face Oil’

Natural Product of the Year: ilã, ’ilã Face Oil for Glowing Radiance’

Men’s Product of the Year: Pevonia, ’Easy-Glide Shaving Emulsion’

Spa Cuisine of the Year: The Farm, Philippines

Spa Marketing of the Year: CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La

Source of article: http://www.asiaspa.com

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A Massage Chair Guide for the Average Person

A luxurious massage chair
A luxurious massage chair

As technology advances we have seen many perks and luxuries enter our homes
and daily lives. One such perk is the massage chair, and it is making
ripples in the professional and private worlds alike.

These aren’t just simple chairs though, and the average person may feel
overwhelmed. Fortunately this guide is here to help you understand what it
is, why you should want it, and if it can be part of your lifestyle.

What exactly is a massage chair?
A massage chair is normally a fold up chair that sits inside your current
chair. It provides various message types ranging from shiatsu to Swedish
with built in heating depending on brand name, model, and category. This can
be very relaxing and can release tension built up in the day.

What is the average massage chair made out of?
The average massage chair is made out of leather, fabric, or polyurethane.
Leather is most common for high end models as it fits in with most furniture
types. Although it is very comfortable it is often the most expensive type
of chair.

Just how do they work?
Current massage chairs that are available for purchase are designed to
target key points in your body. Pressure applied to these points in the form
of pushing, rubbing, circular massage, and deep kneading are just some of
the settings available.

Most chairs have some form of control interface whether it be a control
panel or a remote. This allows you to set the strength, depth, type, and
length of the massage. You can even turn heat functions on or off provided
your chair has them. This can make for a very relaxing and enjoyable
massage.

Are there benefits to owning a massage chair?
There are many benefits to owning one of these chairs. A massage can give
you a great deal of relaxation, and even some pleasure on those days that
you need a good back rub. This can relieve stress, tension, anxiety, and
just generally brighten your mood. Plus when you lower your stress level
your blood pressure drops as well, so it’s a win win situation.

Another benefit is that you don’t have to pay to use a chair outside the
initial investment. Traditional massage parlors will charge you an arm and a
leg for their services. Owning a chair allows you to get a massage whenever
you want for free without having to drive to a parlor. Plus you don’t have
to search the city for a reputable therapist, just go to your favorite chair
and enjoy.

Massage chairs also put pressure where you need it most. Sometimes people
just don’t know the right spot to hit. Many mid range and high end models
allow you to specify which areas to stimulate. This control allows you to
get the relief you need when and where you need it.

As our world moves towards high speed technology we often find that we are
neglecting ourselves. This can lead to stress and tension which is bad for
personal health. Owning a personal massage chair can help combat these ill
begotten symptoms of our modern world. It can also give you reason to look
forward to coming home from work on a hard day.

Our reader, Dr. Alan Weidner, contributed this article. Dr. Alan Weidner graduated summa cum laude from Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, class of 1991. His website, www.massage-chair-relief.com offers Panasonic, Omega, Inada, Human Touch, iJoy, and Sanyo massage chairs.

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