Health & Grooming | Chronicles of a Spa Junkie

Spa Junkie in… the Maldives

Our intrepid columnist is inducted into the sensuous world of Tantra

Spa Junkie in… the Maldives

Image: Jay Yeo.

May 07 2011
Spa Junkie

Part: 1 | 2 | 3

Spa Junkie is on a seven-day programme at the Four Seasons Resort Landaa Giraavaru in the Maldives.


I am led by two female Tantra therapists into a series of ritual rooms, each more beautiful and larger than the one before, with gardens, day beds, outdoor showers, steam rooms, and carved wooden massage tables. Despite feeling sceptical about what the next three hours will bring, I try to keep an open mind.

After a foot cleanse, I am told what Devi Bhavani – the female Tantric ritual – entails and am presented with assorted ingredients and paraphernalia on golden trays. The therapists start chanting and burning pots of oil and strongly scented candles. Naked, I am placed face-down on the bed and then, like synchronised swimmers, they start in perfect unison with a four-hand massage. After all the tension has been kneaded from my body, they turn me over and place a large Tibetan bowl on one of my chakras. The bowl is beaten again and again to create a vibration that penetrates deep into my body. The process is repeated for five minutes for each of my seven chakras. All the while, bells are rung and the hot oils and incense fill the room with a heady scent. I am in sensory overload. It’s definitely sensual but the forced intimacy prevents me from figuring out if I am enjoying it or not.

By the time the bowl is taken away, the sun has gone down. A therapist carefully sits me up and leads me to the edge of the deck to a square box with a perfectly square hole where rose-scented steam is bellowing out. There is a white towel on the floor, and I go to kneel and put my face in the hole. She says no, I must sit. I try to explain to her that if I sit on the white towel my face would not get to the hole for what I was assuming was the facial part of the ritual. Embarrassed, she motions towards my nether regions. Huh…? Then the penny drops: she means the other face. A second later I am sitting on the box with steam blowing deep into my reproductive organs. I have another not-sure-if-I-like-it-but-I’m-not-sure-I-want-it-to-stop moment.

As I sit over the steam, my neck is massaged and I can hear chanting in the distance as I look out over the torch-lit gardens. This is what it must have been like being prepared for your returning warrior 2,000 years ago. Before I sink into a reverie about Gerard Butler, I am led away for a rose, mint and honey bath in a giant-size tub. I lie there feeling totally serene and decide this ritual is worth every penny.

As I return to my villa I feel as though I am walking on air, but with no warrior to delight, I crash out watching chick flicks with my girlfriend.

Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, accommodation and treatments.