Raindrops the size of egg yolks pummeled the roof of my car as I drove the 15 miles from my suburban home to The Langham Boston. It was late August, but the soaking rain and unseasonable chill in the air made it seem more like early March.
I was on a mission, driven by a desire to find sanctuary from the stormy weather and relief from my unsettled mood, a result of too much work and too little play. My sister, Nancy, a working mother of two, was in the passenger seat. Sometimes we’re so in sync we can almost read one another’s minds.
In sync or not, we can always read each other’s moods. In an abstract sense, I may be the yin to her yang — or vice versa, depending on the day. At any rate, we had the good fortune to be embarking on a girls’ spa getaway to Chuan Body + Soul, The Langham Boston’s mini-incarnation of Langham Hotels International’s luxury retreat, Chuan Spa.
Like Chuan Spa, its more comprehensive counterpart, treatments at Chuan Body + Soul are based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Long considered a family of “alternative therapies,” TCM is based on principles of wellness dating to ancient China. These days, it’s finding acceptance not only in spas and holistic centers but also in some mainstream medical practices. Treatments can include herbal remedies, acupuncture, cupping, massage and other practices designed to stimulate and balance life energy, or qi. In its simplest form, the goal of TCM is to remove blocked energy, allowing qi to flow freely throughout the body.
We entered the spa reception area where an attendant greeted us and escorted us to a small locker room to change from our street clothes into robes and slippers. Langham operates two Chuan Body + Soul spas, one in Boston and another in Pasadena, Calif. The mini versions of Chuan Spa may be more compact than the full-size Chuan Spas at Langham properties in Auckland, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Ko Samui and London, but the treatments still pack a punch.
Nevertheless, space is an issue. With no lounge area attached to the locker room, we returned to the reception area to meet our therapists and complete questionnaires designed to reveal our states of mind and body on the day of our visit. Our therapists, in turn, used the information we provided to custom-tailor our treatments. Chuan Body + Soul at The Langham Boston offers two treatment rooms; one is designated for couples but is also used for solo treatments. We had opted for separate rooms. Nancy’s therapist escorted her through a heavy door; my therapist and I followed a few minutes later.
I had expected the hushed ambience of the reception area and changing room to continue throughout the spa, so I was surprised when I found myself crossing through the fitness area — treadmills humming and weights clanging — up a flight of stairs to the pool deck and up a few more steps before entering the treatment room. My “spa mood” returned the minute the therapist closed the door, but I have to admit the transition was a bit jarring.
As soon as I was cocooned on the table, my therapist began my balancing treatment. According to the theory of Wu Xing, optimal health results when the body’s five elements — metal, wood, water, fire and earth — are in harmony. The questionnaire I had completed revealed that my fire element was out of balance.
I had booked Body Elements, a 1-1/2 hour treatment including the Chuan Harmony Massage and Aromatic Bliss Facial. While it was lightly based on the principles of TCM in terms of zeroing in on acupressure points to release blocked energy, the experience was more conventional than cutting edge.
But Chuan Body + Soul doesn’t claim to offer authentic TCM. It does, instead, aim to incorporate the elements of TCM into a relaxing spa experience — a balancing act it does exceptionally well.
Chuan Body + Soul
The Langham Boston
250 Franklin St.
Boston, MA 02110
tel 617 451 1900
One of Ibiza’s hottest restaurant destinations since its opening five years ago, Bottega il Buco, draws legions of fans with the addition of new head chef Max Rivera Papic, whose kitchen credits include skills honed under the tutelage of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, London.
THE MOST EXCLUSIVE TOURS OF EGYPT EVER OFFERED with the world’s most eminent archaeologists
Ski season is around the corner. Now is the perfect time to plan your winter ski getaway. These Colorado resorts offer deals designed for skiers.
This holiday season, give your loved ones a gift from around the world to create memories that last a lifetime.
IHG® Hotels & Resorts certainly has a lot to celebrate, starting with an incredible growth story. Over the past five years, IHG has acquired or launched six new brands: Six Senses® Hotels Resorts Spas, Regent® Hotels & Resorts, Vignette™ Collection, voco™ hotels, avid® hotels and Atwell Suites™. Most recently, IHG reached an important milestone with its 6,000th open hotel. The company looks to further expand its portfolio by 30 percent with 1,800 hotels in the development pipeline, with significant focus on growth in the luxury segment where IHG is positioned as one of the top two hotel chains.
Lodging and hospitality company Angama announced the November 2023 opening of Angama Amboseli, an intimate, 10-suite lodge set in Kenya’s private, 5,700-acre Kimana Sanctuary, against the iconic backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, located just across the border in Tanzania.
Costa Rica prepares to welcome its first Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts property, slated to open in 2025. Waldorf Astoria Guanacaste will boast 190 guestrooms, as well as 25 Waldorf Astoria-branded residences, all offering sweeping views overlooking the ocean. A presidential suite will also grace the property.
Copa Airlines is celebrating its 75th anniversary by showcasing a Boeing 737-800 NG in an aircraft livery that harkened back to the airline’s look in the 1990s. During that time, Copa Airlines launched an expansion of their network to become the Hub of the Americas®, changing the way to travel to and connect in our Continent.
West Coast travelers can now enjoy easier, more efficient access to the Cayman Islands thanks to a new airlift option via Cayman Airways Ltd. As of Nov. 6, Cayman Airways operates nonstop service from Los Angeles International Airport to Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman at an introductory fare of $399.