#02-02 Guillemard Village 102 Guillemard Road
Tel: 6280 8988 / www.gspa.com.sg
THERE'S a new haven of pleasure in Geylang where you can get rubbed and stroked in all the right spots ... but not in the way that's usually associated with the red-light district. All contact with guests at G.Spa is strictly of the therapeutic kind - here, you can relax, dine, have spa treatments and massages, or even just watch TV.
The multi-concept establishment at Guillemard Village (previously the old Singapore Badminton Association) opened in August and is 'an escape for urbanites from the bustle of the city', says its chief executive officer, Gary Tang, a well-travelled spa enthusiast who set up G.Spa to bring his 'best spa experiences from around the world to Singapore'.
This is Mr Tang's first such project - he was previously from the service and entertainment sector - but he's not starting off with baby steps: G.Spa was developed at a cost of $3.5 million and is a pretty elaborate set-up. There are 23 treatment rooms (offering 20 different treatments that fuse various techniques) spread over two levels and two sections - a ladies-only area and one that's for both men and ladies - not to mention a sort of Turkish-style hammam done up in glittering mosaics for each gender. Then there are wet massage rooms; manicure and pedicure parlours; rest-and-relax areas that are fitted with plush recliners which each have a personal TV; and even meeting rooms which, Mr Tang says, several companies have already booked to hold business meetings (it helps that the whole of the spa is Wi-Fi equipped).
The highlight of the main floor, though, is a tranquil dining area done up to look like a tropical jungle, with fake albeit lush-looking greenery and giant flower-shaped pendant lamps hanging from the high ceiling. It's strikingly different from the usual minimalist/Balinese-type spa design, and the same goes for the cuisine served here, which is cooked by an executive chef from the Select catering group.
Mr Tang says the spa prides itself on offering 'mouthwatering alternatives' to the usual 'bland and restrictive' spa cuisine - and as such G.Spa's menu, which changes every four days, takes the other extreme. While one international dish (which could be anything from a Japanese bento box to lamb chops or steak) is offered daily, the emphasis is on local indulgences: nasi lemak, mee siam, chicken rice, prawn mee and such, all of which are done pretty decently; in particular we enjoyed the tasty braised e-fu noodles and a richly spicy laksa.
Explains Mr Tang: 'Many spas seek to emulate French or Japanese culture, but we believe a uniquely local experience can be luxurious and indulgent as well, hence our choice of cuisine.'
This being a sort of real-life Temptation Island, there's a free flow of food for all guests, no matter whether you pay only the day rate of $68 for the spa's basic services (such as the use of its pools, saunas and steam baths) or you order a spa treatment (massages start from $98).
And that generosity with food extends to G.Spa's space too: at a sprawling 24,300 sq ft, it's the largest indoor garden spa in Singapore. It's also a pretty ambitious size, but Mr Tang is confident that the local market is big enough to support it. Already, he says, the spa - whose clientele is mostly 'local businessmen for now but we're trying to get a more balanced market' - has broken even most months since it opened, and that's without the help of any marketing campaigns.
'With more than four million people here, it's never too big,' he says, adding that G.Spa's all-in-one hassle-free concept suits an increasingly busy society such as Singapore to a, well, G. 'It's a one-stop escape destination ... once guests enter G.Spa, they are checking themselves in for a day's worth of indulgence.'
This article was first published in The Business Times.