Banyan Tree Group Launches New Brand, Cassia

Banyan Tree Group on Thursday (June 5) announced that a new brand has been launched, taking the hospitality group into a new segment.

With Cassia, Banyan will now have three brands in its portfolio. The group is seeking to expand globally. It has a target of 66 hotels and resorts, with more than 100 spas and galleries, across 33 countries by 2017.

Cassia lies in a niche sector between hotels and serviced apartments. It will offer fully-finished one and two-bedroom units for sale, with flexible living and investment options.

Five projects are being developed in Thailand, Indonesia, Sir Lanka, Australia and China.

An additional seven projects are being planned in Brisbane, New York, Japan, Seychelles, Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Vietnam.

Said Mr Ho Kwon Ping, Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings: “It is a hundred per cent real-estate, but focusing with a very strong hospitality element to it, and that is bringing our expertise in both areas to launch this new brand.”

Source: ChannelNewsAsia, 5th June 2014.

Sofitel Open Second Spa Outlet at Sentosa in 2015

The Sentosa, A Beaufort Hotel, at 2 Bukit Manis Road is set for a major overhaul that will see its name changed. Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa will be their new name, marking the second spa by the French hotel brand. Their first spa opening, Sofitel So Singapore is schedule to open on 31 May 2014.

Undergoing a 12-18 months multi-million dollar renovation, it will be release in second half of 2015. The hotel will still be name The Singapore Resort & Spa Sentosa until transformation is complete.

DP Architects and MaxStudio will lead the renovation works. Beside the room, public areas will also get a complete new look, as well as the current Botanica Spa. The new So Spa includes 14 luxurious treatment rooms, 6 outdoor spa pavilions and a spa garden. Additionally, there will be refurbishment of existing two ballrooms while adding a pre-function room.

Situated behind Tanjong beach, the fabulous location provides fascinating tropical woodlands and sea views. A new place for rejuvenating body and soul in tranquil environment.

Businessman found dead at Club One Seven Spa

Mr Yeo Hung Song, a 48-year-old restaurant boss was found dead inside Club One Seven Spa on 19th November 2012. He was found inside Room 5 which featured a saddle bench with wooden legs and two meter tall frame with metal chains dangling from each corner. It was only after seven hours at 9.30pm, a cleaner knocked on the door of the locked cubicle but there was no response. Two cleaners managed to unlatch the door and found Song’s body naked and on bended knees, with a chain around his neck. On the floor was a towel contained his semen.

The State Coroner said there could been a possibility of suicide. It was also believed that Song was practising autoerotic asphyxiation which could have caused his death. Inquiry heard that he told a friend two weeks ago that he wanted to commit suicide before his death in the spa.

Club One Seven Spa was a two-storey spa that is meant for only registered patrons. Though it is being advertised as a men-only spa, some have mentioned it is dedicated for gays.

Autoerotic asphyxiation, also known as breath control play is the intentional restriction of oxygen to the brain for sexual arousal.  The carotid arteries on either side of the neck carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to brain. When compressed, in form of strangulation or hanging, create a sudden loss of oxygen and accumulation of carbon dioxide increase feeling of giddiness and pleasure which will heighten masturbatory sensations. It was said that as much as 1,000 people are killed through the practice of autoerotic asphyxiation.

I am quite unsure about why The New Paper decided to publish an past matter in the newspaper and there are some misleading truth stated in the news. It tarnished the reputation of the spa by calling it “gay sex club”. So can we confer all-ladies spa as lesbian sex club and late night massage parlours as sleazy spa ? What are the media trying to prove ?

Source: The New Paper. 

Harper’s BAZAAR Spa Awards 2011

Best Anti-Aging Facial
SK-II Boutique Spa, SK-II LXP Facial

Best Skin Rejuvenator
SOTHYS, Resurfacing Cosmeceutic Treatment

Best Brows
Erabelle, Erabrow

Best Pore-Refining Facial
The Sloane Clinic, Laser Peel

Most Pampering Hair Spa
J’s Salon Keratase Hair & spa Institute, The Chronologiste Ritual

Best Instant Results Facial
MTM, Brilliance-Infini Face Treatment

Best Whitening Facial,
MTM, Bio-Light Active Regenerating (AZLT)

Best Skin-Clarifying Facial,
St. Gregory, St. Gregory Purifying Facial

Intensive Anti-Hair Loss Therapy,
DRx, Purifying and Control Treatment

Best All-in-One Pampering
Dr. Hauschka, The Classic Dr. Hauschka Treatment

Best Girl’s Day Out Spa,
OPI, OPI Ultimate Manicure & OPI Ultimate Pedicure

Best Manicure
OPI, OPI Indulgent Spa Manicure

Best Couple’s Massage
LS Philosophy, LS Couples’ Massage

Hippest Day Spa Experience
LS Philosophy, LS Degustazione

Most Decadent Hand Care
Vedure, La Mer Manicure

Best Mummy Love Treatment
LS Philosophy, Princess Vicky Massage

Best Slimming Ritual
Skin Inc, SculptFIT Treatment

Best Detoxifying Experience
Aramsa Spa, Champagne of the Sea

Best Non-Surgical Facelift
The Sloane Clinic, Ultherapy

Best Body Sculptor
Prive, Ultrashape

Banyan Tree Spa to open its first spa in Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands

Located on the 55th floor of Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the 1,213 sqm Banyan Tree, the treatment rooms are themed with Tree of Life design and the new spa “infuses the sleek glamour of modern interior with Banyan Tree’s tradition of staging sensual Asian-inspired experience to exude a unique sense of place, according to publicists.

Marina Spa offers the guests a suite of distinctive treatments in 15 uniquely designed rooms with spectacular panoramic views, including 2 Royal Double Spa Suites that offer Tropical Rainmist treatment, a Beauty Salon, a Tea Lounge for post-treatment relaxation and also a Banyan Tree Gallery. Apart from this, in-room massages are also available for guests staying in the 24 hotel spa suites at Marina Bay Sands.

The guest will be pampered with a wide range of choice of 35 treatments and services which favourites include a comprehensive menu of 90 or 120-minute session of massage, body scrubs, facials and beauty treatments.

Marina Bay Sands Interim CEO George Tanasijevich said: “We aim to make Singapore proud by opening the city’s first-ever Banyan Tree Spa at the height of nearly 200 metres in the sky, and welcome Singaporeans to visit this spectacular spa.” The CEO also mentioned that with Banyan Tree’s Spa expertise and outstanding service, it would further strengthen the appeal of Marina Bay Sands as an iconic destination that bears return visits.

Banyan Tree are returning their roots in Singapore after spending the last 17 years establishing 64 spas in 26 countries, including the famous Laguna Phuket in 1987. The Banyan Tree brand pioneer, Ho Kwon Ping, said “Banyan tree is finally returning to its roots in Singapore. We are bringing the best of the Banyan Tree Spa experience t our home ground, and proud to have the stunning location of Marina Bay Sands to plant our first flag.”

How to gain trust if you are going to buy packages from Spa providers ?

Customers have shooed buying spa packages after the recent spat of True Spa and Subtle Senses sudden closure which have left them stranded and their money lost without using the services. The incidents hurt the spa industry as customers’ confidence on spa providers has dropped dramastically. In order to boost the Spa Industry, CaseTrust,
an accredited arm of Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) has involved in working hand-in-hand with spa providers who wish to demostrate their commitment and transparency to consumers.

Being a CaseTrust accredited spa providers, CASE provides greater protection for consumers as they have in place consumer-friendly policies to protect the consumers interests.

Here are some coverage and service which accredited spa providers should have:
Insurance Coverage for Pre-paid Packages – to assure consumers whom have signed up for pre-paid treatments that the value of their un-utilized sessions insured.
5-day Cooling-Off Period – Consumers enjoy a cooling-off period of at least 5 working days, seeking full refund of payments for spa packages if they do not wish to proceed with the services offered.
Stress-Free Treatment – Consumer can rest assured that spa providers will adhere to “No Selling” policy once entered the treatment room.
Clear Fee Policies – Spa providers to clearly articulate and documented policies on charges and refunds.
Well-Define Business Practices and Systems – Redress system with proper and clealy defined resolution for both business and consumers when dispute arise.
Well-Trained Personnel – The spa provider has to provide good customer service and train sales staff whom do not practice unethical sales tactics

For more details of CaseTrust on Spa providers, you can check it here.

I have compiled a list of Accredited Spa & Wellness Parlours under CaseTrust and update this list as frequent as possible. You might want to see the listing here.

True Spa members to file for $700,000 lawsuit

247 True spa customers has banded together to file a lawsuit against True Spa to reclaim about $701,000 which they have paid for the services but not utilised through spa treatments.

The winding up of the company in their final bid to reclaim the monetary loss was first of its kind in Singapore where consumers owed relatively small amounts by their service provider to seek legal redress to get their rightful money back. The customers has assigned their debts to 3 individuals whom themselves are the True Spa victims.

The court application by the four plaintiffs to liquidate True Spa was filed on Wednesday, 20th July 2011. A move after several letters of demand and statutory demand issued in March by some 240 customers and have not received any payment yet.

Source: Salem Ibrahim Partners

The plaintiffs’ lawyer Salem Ibrahim mentioned that his clients are applying to the court for a grant that allow them to appoint a liquidator of their choice to look into True Spa’s account, as the customers themselves would like to see how much was collected and utilised.

The move to wind up the company is a last resort as mentioned by one of the creditors, planning director Kvein Hoo,41, after options they have explored, including filing claims with the Small Claims Tribunal while another creditor, project manager Nimrod Chuang, 34, is trying to gather more of fellow True Spa via Facebook account, whom are “Victims of True Spa Subtle Sense

True Spa was reportly to have a huge base of 8,000 members, whom an unclear number of them took up a goodwill offer converting to True Yoga and True Fitness memberships.

True Spa’s previous reply was they no longer hold any assets, as it has been transferred its business operations to Subtle Sense in April 2010. Subtle Senses ran into trouble and went into voluntary liquidation October 2010. As True Spa customers are deemed not tobe creditors of Subtle Sense, therefore they are not entitled to any proceeds from ongoing liquidation.

Channel News Asia, True Spa customers move to wind up company, 13th July 2011.

Spa customers irate over closure of Subtle Senses branches

Customers of the spa Subtle Senses are irate over the closure of the last two branches at Cuppage and Mosque Street.

Liquidators were seen on Tuesday at the Mosque Street branch of the chain which took over customers from another spa, True Spa, when it closed down earlier this year.

A provisional liquidator from Stone Forest Corporate Advisory said it was in the process of looking into Subtle Senses’ accounts.

Mosque Street Branch Subtle Senses Closed Down

It hopes to hold a creditors’ meeting next month to address questions from employees, creditors and customers.

Some employees are also saying they have not been paid salaries.

Both branches of Subtle Senses at Cuppage and Mosque Street have closed indefinitely.

Subtle Senses closed its Ngee Ann City branch earlier this month.

Customers said they have lost faith in the spa industry and will avoid buying spa packages.

“I’ve lost about S$9,000. Some people have lost about S$4,000 to S$7,000… It’s not fair. Now, the economy is very bad and we have to lose this kind of money, it’s not fair to us,” said a Subtle Senses customer.

Channel NewsAsia, 19th October 2010

Confidence Boost for Spa Packages in Singapore with Warranty

A survey showed that offering warranty insurance plans was a good way to restore consumer confidence in the spa, beauty and wellness industry.

Consumers interviewed in a study conducted by the Republic Polytechnic said they were more likely to remain with a spa service provider if there were package warranties.

Of the 149 consumers interviewed in a study conducted by the Republic Polytechnic, 74 per cent said they would even purchase larger packages if there was some warranty.

The Spa and Wellness Association of Singapore introduced the Spa, Beauty, & Wellness Warranty Insurance Plan in July following the sudden closure of centres which left some consumers unhappy.

The industry ranked second with the Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE) for drawing the most number of complaints.

Source: Channel NewsAsia, 14th September 2010