Cynthia Chua is the CEO and founder of the Spa Esprit Group, comprising 17 lifestyle brands that encompass beauty, food and wellness. She gives us the inside scoop on the best spas and wellness treatments around the world.
Did your travels in some way influence your starting a business and inspire your line of work?
Travel is essential in my inspiration. I love discoveries and wonderment.
What are some ideas you have brought back from your own travels and incorporated into your products and services?
Ideas include bringing Brazilian wax from New York to Singapore.
Also, I brought the specialty coffee from Melbourne to Tiong Bahru, and the best French bakery from Paris to Singapore. A lot of the concepts evolved from what I saw during my travels but the fun part was tweaking them to suit the local culture.
As a lifestyle business owner, what are some of your favourite global lifestyle/beauty brands that you love but cannot find in Singapore, and where do you go for them?
I love Juniper Ridge now, the wild fragrance is completely distilled from real plants, bark, moss and mushrooms. They only sell in America so I order online and get it sent to my shop on Spring Street, in New York.
I also love the Palo Santo wood chips from beauty brand Buly that are only available from their stand-alone shop in Paris. It's great for scenting the bedroom. There is something about wood fire that I find captivating.
The Fraise Des Bois confiture from Sicily. It's made from wild strawberries. So nice! It's only available in La Tête dans les Olives in Paris.
Pictured above: Juniper Ridge (credit: thefuturepositive)
I'm sure you've tried and tested many spas and beauty services around the world. What are your favourite spa experiences so far?
I love the Ojai Resort Spa in Southern California. Superb, comprehensive treats. The kuyam treatment uses healing clays, dry heat, inhalation therapy and the sharing of a communal experience. It's a great mix of the ancient traditions with the new.
The Farm at San Benito in Philippines is great for the Asian retreat. It has a serious detox medical program and raw cuisine that is executed very well.
Recently, I had a great experience at the recently opened Andaz Tokyo. The jyujizai spa treatment with the breathtaking view really won me over. In my view, it's the best urban spa at the moment.
Pictured above: The Farm at San Benito (credit: fameimages)
And for beauty services, what are some of the craziest rituals/services you've seen on your travels that you've tried or been wanting to try?
Colonics, nostril waxing, the kuyam treatment.
I have always wanted to try Chelation therapy but haven't done it. And Vipassana meditation retreats where you get 10 days of monastic living, deep meditataion and not speaking a word to anyone. It sounds almost impossible with the kind of discipline that's involved.
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