Greater China’s Top 10 Spas

 Hong Kong has long been known as a Shopper’s Paradise.

It has great Chinese restaurants, a spectacular harbour, and a well-deserved reputation for having some of the world’s most luxurious hotels.

But spas?

They’re not the first thing that generally comes to mind when people think of Greater China’s most dynamic city.

The same can be said about Macau, just a 1 hour’s jet foil ride away. Mention the former Portuguese enclave, and most people will think of gambling. A few might think of heritage architecture or baroque churches.

But spas?  No likely.

The 2010 Forbes Travel Guide hotel and spa award winners were announced Tuesday, and – surprisingly enough – five spas in the two cities were awarded five stars.

The Mandarin Spa and The Peninsula Spa by ESPA retained their 5-star status. The Oriental Spa at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental moved up from 4 to 5 stars. Two other spas, Plateau Spa and The Spa at Four Seasons Hong Kong, retained their 4 star status.  

In  Macau, Spa at Wynn Macau retained its 5 stars. The Spa at Altira moved up from 4 to 5 stars. The Spa at The Four Seasons Macau earned its first 4 stars. Six Senses Spa at the MGM Grand Macau and V Spa at The Venetian Macao all retained their 4 star ranking.  

In Beijing, the only other city in Greater China surveyed for the ranking, 4 stars were awarded to The Spa at Ritz-Carlton, Spa at Aman Resort at Summer Palace and The Peninsula Spa.  

A total of 18 spas were awarded 5-star status worldwide. All of the rest were in the United States. Another 100 spas received 4-star ratings.

Until 2008, guides were limited to the United States and Canada. In that year, its first two international editions – one  for Beijing and another for Hong Kong and Macau – were launched.

More international destinations are expected to added in the years to come. Properties are inspected without advance warning. There are two types of inspections: facility inspections and service evaluations. Facility inspectors rate spas on cleanliness, physical condition and location.

Those spas passing the first inspection are evaluated a second time by an anonymous inspector, whose evaluation is based on more than 500 service standards. The Forbes Travel Guide was formerly known as the Mobil Travel Guide.

The transition was announced recently in the Accidental Travel Writer. The list has a history of more than 50 years.