Health & Grooming | Chronicles of a Spa Junkie

Spa Junkie at… the Four Seasons Sydney

Can our covert reporter resist the aroma of hot buttered toast?

Spa Junkie at… the Four Seasons Sydney

Image: Jay Yeo

August 16 2011
Spa Junkie

Part: 1 | 2 | 3

Spa Junkie is in Australia for a wedding and has booked into the Four Seasons Sydney to detox and lose weight.


The second I wake, I reach for my hip bones – they’re a litmus for weight-loss success, and it’s always a good sign when I can feel them. But my proddings are inconclusive, so I have to face the scale; sadly it is a far more precise science. It has not moved. This is not good.

I psych myself up. Remember: you are single! There will be some great men at this wedding and unless you drop some weight fast, you will have nothing to wear. The dress hangs framed in the window, an ominous reminder with Sydney Harbour as a backdrop. I pop more tinctures and supplements and commit to hitting the gym twice as hard today.

DAY FOUR, 7:30am

Phew. I am three pounds lighter. Thank heavens.

By 9am I’ve done my duty in the gym; but on my way back to my suite, the smell of buttery toast becomes so irresistible, I decide to sit and enjoy one small piece as a little reward. Several minutes later I’ve devoured a piece of French toast, a croissant and a slice of butter-slathered toast.

The “high” fades almost immediately and I’m mortified by my lack of discipline. I self-flagellate with images of having my mouth wired shut and being locked in a padded cell. Guilt-ridden, I slump back to my room, the “minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” adage echoing in my mind.

I decide to get a trainer for the afternoon to atone for my sins. He is beefy and militant, and together we belt out a variety of army-style training exercises, then go for a running tour around the harbour. I’m sent up and down countless stairs; every bench turns out to be a torture machine, as I’m ordered to step up, step down, do dips, do sit-ups. And I thought park benches were for relaxing on.

Back at the Four Seasons, I indulge in one last treatment: the Soul to Sole, which is exactly that – a 60-minute head-to-toe scrub and massage (A$145), expertly executed with just the right amount of strong, even pressure to ensure that my tension dissipates and I’m left revived. Even my face gets a nice workover.

I exit the spa with my skin glowing, the puffy bags under my eyes subsiding, and relishing the feeling of being wonderfully relaxed. But in the end I’ve only dropped a little over three pounds. It’s going to be a tight fit for the wedding.


In the grand scheme of hotel day spas, the Four Seasons Sydney rates as solidly good. If one overlooks the tired décor, the treatments were uniformly well-executed, good, and the staff very well informed on the product, able to answer all questions. And very friendly.

But I have to say the best thing about Sydney is the Marc Newson-designed first-class departure lounge at the airport – an exquisite piece of work by the man who is probably Australia’s number one export (trumped perhaps only by Ugg). The Payot day spa is absolutely gorgeous, with Patrick Blanc-designed vertical gardens throughout – somehow both dramatic and totally soothing. Perhaps some clever PR will read this and enlist Mr Newson to create a world-class wellness retreat? Now that would be worth traversing the planet for.

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