So Spa Sofitel comes with huge credentials after being named Best Luxury Destination Spa for Australia and Oceania for the fourth time at the 2019 World Luxury Spa Awards as well as winning the luxury spa hotel title for Australasia at the World Luxury Hotel Awards.
Housed in Sofitel Queenstown in Shotover Street the Spa’s emphasis is on balance and rejuvenation and uses local ingredients as part of the treatments allowing visitors to experience a massage or facial while also discovering quintessential elements of New Zealand.
The Spa is, however, not just exclusively available to hotel guests.
Spa manager Suiza Sevilla says an external entrance means people can walk in off the street and will be greeted as warmly as if they entered through the hotel. Similarly, the amenity is not just for travellers, with Queenstown residents comprising a large percentage of the Spa’s clientele.
Suiza says one of the Spa’s signature treatments, popular over the summer months, is the Ataahua(translated as beautiful)bodytreatment.
“For this treatment, we use a combination of Rotorua clay and Manuka honey as a body mask. We do exfoliation, body mask treatment then a hot greenstone massageusing local pounamu stonesfor 30 or 60 minutes. Guests love the Manuka honey and it caters to different skin types and balances the condition of the skin.”
In the Spa’s receiving area clients can get acquainted with the products used in the treatments.
Suiza says they can choose the oils for their massages and take time settling in before meeting their therapist and beginning their treatment.
“Our rooms have built-in showers which is very convenient if you are having body treatments and scrubs. We start with a foot treatment. This is how we connect with the client and ask what they would like us to concentrate on and the therapist will advise what to expect.”
Suiza encourages people to use the steam room before beginning their treatments, as this can help to open pores and make the skin more receptive to facials and body masks.
After the treatment clients are served tea, water and dried fruits in a comfortable relaxation area giving them space to transition back to the real world.
“With every treatment you can really see the difference in the client,” says Suiza. “When you welcome them to the Spa, they are often very reserved, but when they finish the treatment there is a change of emotion, they become warmer. I sincerely believe pampering is the best gift you can give to someone, as well as to yourself.”
The Wakatipu was an early gathering point for Maori searching for pounamu (greenstone or jade), which could be found at the headwaters of Lake Wakatipu. Much has changed since then, but pounamu is still revered in New Zealand as a special stone that holds mana or prestige.
At So Spa Sofitel people can experience the Pounamu Stone Treatment – similar to a hot stone massage but instead uses a set of pounamu stones.
“The stones are really special as they have been blessed by Maori,” says So Spa manager Suiza Sevilla. “Usually, a black volcanic stone is used for a hot stone massage. Our stones were especially carved by an expert carver in Arrowtown and on a full moon we put them under the moonlight to energise the stones.”
Suiza recommends the treatment for people who have been engaging in adventure activities as the heat helps to loosen the muscles.
“It is often used ahead of a deep tissue massage and is popular with guests who have been hiking or skiing.”