Royal Romance

A Malay-inspired couples’ treatment at Spa Village Kuala Lumpur

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

A Malay-inspired couples’ treatment at Spa Village Kuala Lumpur   

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THE DEAL: Afternoons in Kuala Lumpur often consist of a tropical sprinkle, and there’s no better place to take cover than the urban oasis that is Spa Village Kuala Lumpur. Its unique treatments incorporate the area’s rich heritage through natural, local ingredients. 

Among the most luxurious is the decadent three-hour Traditional Royal Malay Treatment for couples, where gents are treated like Malay warrior Hang Tuah, and ladies served in the same manner as Princess Tun Teja. 

The treatment, passed on by a Malay family who prepared their own herbs and oils, and deeply valued the heritage of local healing traditions, has been designed to improve male virility and enhance beauty and fertility in women. 

Both include a full-body massage, facial and scrub, before a herbal bath and steam session together to relax and re-energise. 

THE LOWDOWN: After a syrupy sour plum welcome drink and foot wash with lime, which in Malay culture is believed to nullify negative vibes, it is time to begin the spa extravaganza – a great way to pass time on a dreary day. 

From the Tun Teja perspective, things are off to a splendid start with skilled therapist Joanne performing the Urutan Kebayan, aka traditional princess massage. She treads the fine line between delivering pleasure and pain, particularly across my tight shoulders and chest, which appears to hold a surprising amount of tension. 

Following this delightful hour, she moves on to the Lunak Mayang, a scalp and hair conditioning treatment where sesame oil and pandan are applied to my tresses in long, rhythmic strokes, a lovely, natural   progression of the massage. 

Next, the Lulur Cendana Cangi eases me back to reality as my face is cleansed and exfoliated before an aromatic blend of turmeric and rice is vigorously applied to the body. The drizzle has lifted and I can hear a running bath outside, as the sun makes its first appearance through the door opening onto the terrace. 

Reunited with my ‘warrior’, also Simpson-esque from being tinged with the turmeric scrub, we hop into a tepid al fresco tub strewn with lime and rose petals.  Soaking in the Siram Panca Cahaya, or royal herbal bath for 20 minutes, is calming and invigorating in equal measure. 

Perhaps the most interesting part was the Wap Cindai Berahi, or scented steaming, in which we are effectively encased in a body-sized bag, zipped up to the neck, while specially blended oils are put to work, apparently to slow the ageing process. Rose for ladies, lime for gents, while both also contain the ubiquitous and deliciously scented pandan. 

Those with sensitive skin may appear rosy from the heat of the stem, but lavender oil can be applied afterwards to soothe, before the concluding herbal tea is served to round up this most regal of treatments. 

THE BENEFITS: After spending the good part of the day lying horizontal, we emerged in a spa daze, ridiculously relaxed, not to mention with softer skin and smelling delicious. Often epic treatments end with the massage to ‘save the best for last’, and it was refreshing to have done first as it set the tone for the indulgent session. 

THE VERDICT: Royal treatment indeed. If you’re looking to spoil yourself, and earn brownie points with your other half, this is the perfect way to spend quality time without distraction and focus purely on each another. It was also fascinating to learn more about Malay culture throughout the treatment, and our therapists were top-notch, knowledgeable and managed to work through every last knot. Highly recommend.