Lee Siyoung scales Ijen volcano in East Java, Indonesia
Electric-blue flames blaze from Ijen, an active volcano in East Java, Indonesia, a result of sulphur fumes that combust upon contact with the air. It makes for awesome photographs, but as you can imagine, the environment’s not that great for the people at the peak. Still, it didn’t stop Korean starlet Lee Siyoung from scaling to the summit to explore Ijen’s famous – and one of the world’s largest – acidic crater lake. Completing the treacherous climb is no easy feat, even for the experienced mountaineer, but Lee persevered. And it was all in the name of beauty. The expedition was part of the SK-II campaign, SK-II: ‘Face the Wild, Face the Camera’ Extreme Expedition Series, produced with National Geographic. The Korean actress followed National Geographic Young Explorer Hannah Reyes through Ijen’s highly toxic environment, armed with nothing but a safety mask to keep atmospheric pollutants at bay. The real test, however, lay at the summit of the volcano: an on-location photoshoot with celebrity photographer Jesper Mcilroy. ‘It takes guts to take on and nail a beauty shoot in one of the world’s most extreme environments immediately after a physically demanding full-day trek the day before,’ Mcilroy says. ‘The shooting conditions were tough, but she was relaxed and confident in front of the camera.’ Lee’s (not-so) secret weapon to nail the shoot with clear, camera-ready skin? A bottle of SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. Pitera, the key ingredient in the Facial Treatment E
Make your wedding wishes come true at Grand Hyatt Singapore
With 16 beautiful event venues, Grand Hyatt Singapore has a space for any type of wedding ceremony. Have a quaint solemnisation ceremony at the garden gazebo, hold an intimate reception at a loft kitchen, or check into one of these four stunning ballrooms (from $1,388/table) that have a little something for every type of couple.
Beyond the Runway
Dreams are but dreams, if you haven’t the right platform to make them a reality. For budding fashion designers, though, the third edition of the AirAsia Runway Ready Design Search promises one winner the chance to have a capsule collection produced and showcased at KL Fashion Week Ready to Wear 2018. The winning collection will even be stocked at mega online store Fashion Valet, alongside other prizes – including AirAsia credits for flights within the region and long-haul. We quiz a designer, stylist and street-style fashion photographer on their tips to making it in the often intimidating world of fashion.
Best health and beauty services in SingaporeRead more
Singapore's best spas
Step into the lift at The Westin Singapore and you’ll be taken straight up to heaven – the hotel’s Heavenly Spa, that is. Located 35 floors above the ground and boasting spectacular views of the CBD and Chinatown, it’s definitely not a bad place to clear your head and unwind. The spa has six rooms – one of which is a couple suite – that are decked out with minimalistic décor in soothing, earthy tones. Guests are advised to arrive early to take advantage of the other facilities in the gender-segregated changing rooms, including an Experiential Shower (choose between the hot ‘tropical’ and cold ‘glacier’ modes), a sauna room, and a whirlpool filled with very hot water. After your treatment, feel free to stay awhile longer in the relaxation lounge to nibble on dried fruits and nuts while browsing through magazines. Treatment to try Lavender’s often regarded for its relaxing properties, and the 90-minute Lavender Spa Journey ($250/single and $450/couple) does just that. It starts with a hydrating scrub made from pure sweet almond oil, natural sea salt and therapeutic lavender essential oils aimed at improving circulation. You’re then given time in-between to rinse yourself in the adjoining shower, before being treated to a 60-minute massage with yet more lavender oil. The scent never overpowers, though, and your masseuse adjusts the pressure of the massage accordingly to ease bodily tension and encourage complete relaxation of the mind. In fact, you’ll likely drift to sleep and awaken feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. Or pick the spa’s signature Revitalize Massage ($160/60 mins; $220/90 mins) that combines techniques drawn from three cultures – Chinese, Malay and Indian, in that order. The masseuse starts off by releasing the tension in the shoulders and back by targeting meridian points, followed by a gentle abdomen massage. To round off the treatment, a metallic Kansu bowl is rolled around your soles, which is said to dispel body heat, leaving you feeling both relaxed and energised.
Remede Spa at The St Regis
Decadence is the name of the game at Remede’s first branch in Asia. Located on the hushed end of the Orchard Road stretch, this place takes the relaxing experience up a notch with exotic teas, bubbly champagnes and floral-scented chocolates from the hotel’s LaBrezza restaurant. Filled with steam chambers, a Finnish dry heat sauna, a Vichy shower, a hydro massage pool and a peaceful outdoor hot whirlpool. What it lacks in space for outdoor cabanas and sweeping pools like other spas, it makes up for with indulgent amenities. There's the Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio by Bastian Gonzalez (for you to pamper your nails as well – it’s worth it, trust us), and the spa’s treatments include body scrubs, cooling facials, customised massages or facials, body wraps and more. If you're thinking of a staycation, they have packages available (depending on time with price upon request), which include spa treatments or complimentary vouchers. Treatment to try St Regis Signature Warm Rassoul Wrap ($230/one hour). Start off with a body brush, then lather up with warm, orange blossom-scented Rassoul – a type of mud renowned for mineralising and moisturising effects. As you relax on a warm marble slab while wrapped in cotton muslin, you’ll be treated to a gentle argan oil facial massage, followed by a Vichy shower.
Probably the closest to a public bath in Singapore, this independent spa complex is reminiscent of a Chinese hot springs resort. Upon entering, you’re directed to either the men’s or women’s side and given a locker – swimming trunks, robes and towels are provided, so there’s no need to bring anything. The locker rooms have a hot pool (plus a cold pool for the men – it supposedly improves circulation), sauna and showers. In the common areas, you can relax on comfy couches with personal TV screens, plus there’s an all-you-can eat buffet throughout the day, making it quite easy to spend a full day here (and well worth the basic $68 entry price). Treatment to try Gateway to Vitality (members $122/one hour, non-members $155/one hour). The spa’s standard deep-tissue massage uses Shiatsu-style techniques – you can choose to use oil for a smoother, more relaxing treatment, or non-oil for more direct pressure-point massage. The price includes free roam of the spa’s facilities and buffet.
St Gregory Spa at PARKROYAL on Beach Road
Revamped in 2013, this spa at PARKROYAL on Beach Road’s new annexe features a rooftop pool, a jacuzzi, a bar serving healthy cocktails and spa cuisine, as well as a gym and fitness room that you can enjoy. With a total of seven treatment rooms (including one for couples) available to book, St Gregory at PARKROYAL on Beach Road specialises in skin treatments using clinically trialled skincare products by British brand Elemis, and has in-house Traditional Chinese Medicine physicians and masseurs to diagnose and alleviate most common bodily complaints.Treatment to tryTraditional Chinese tui na massage ($180/60 minutes). Combining the techniques of massage and acupressure as practiced in ancient China, such as pushing, pulling and kneading, the spa therapy session will stimulate key pressure points in the body to relief tension and increase your 'qi' energy.
Definitely one of the funkier spas we've checked out, the rainforest-inspired AWAY Spa, in W Singapore, oozes trendiness and elegance all at once. The massage rooms are bathed in a unique, soothing blue light, and each comes with its own private outdoor shower. Guests can also make use of the many facilities, such as the warm vitality pool in the decompression area (complete with a hydro back bench and jet features) and a fun, experiential shower called Aqua, which has options like Tropical Storm and Cold Mist – with various water settings and light effects to match. Choose from treatments like customised massages, the luminous crystal facial, a bust-reviving therapy to lift, firm and tone, a cleansing and exfoliating facial for men, and even a tension-easing massage for sports buffs. Treatment to try AWAY Body Treat ($380/two hours). Using products from UK-based company Ila-Spa, the treatment starts off with an exfoliating body scrub with Himalayan salt crystals and a body mud wrap, while the second part involves an invigorating tension-reducing massage. A special soundtrack by Ila is played throughout the session to complement the long, gentle movements of the masseuse.
The 10,000-square-metre space houses a series of hot and cold facilities, including a Japanese-style onsen set on the edge of small jungle, a crystal steam room, gymnasium, yoga studio and Tangerine serving up healthy cuisine by chef Ian Kittichai. On top of soothing massages and stress-relief rituals, ESPA's staff include a naturopath trained to deliver useful advice on living and eating healthier, as well as perky gym trainers who conduct classes in their impressively kitted-out workout room. Patrons who purchase treatments worth more than $200 are welcome to use the various pools and exercise classes. ESPA's after-treatment facilities are also unrivalled. Thoughtful extras like the special spin dryer that whirls your swim suit dry, and the sleeping room with pods to take a nap in after your treatment – don't you hate abruptly navigating the bustle of public transportation after a massage? – are compelling arguments to go to ESPA and make a whole day of it. Treatment to try The Day Spa Retreat ($380/Mon-Thu, $450/Fri-Sun). Centred around themes 'Fit for Life', 'Weight Management', 'Intro to Detox' and 'De-stress', this package is a good primer to ESPA as a lifestyle destination, and includes a consultation with a lifestyle or fitness staff member and two treatments: one 60 minutes and another 45 minutes long (try the Indulgence Hammam Ritual, a Turkish bath ritual in Singapore’s first hammam steam facility). The package also includes a two-course meal at Tangerine, with a menu that recommends dishes based on the retreat you’ve enjoyed.