Best-Kept Auriga Spa Beauty Secrets

Singapore really comes to life during the festive season – with dawn-to-dusk feasting, dusk-to-dawn parties, and lots of shopping and gatherings in between.  That said, the festive frenzy sometimes sends me (and my skin) into over-drive.

This past month, back-to-back late nights were starting to take their toll.  So, with the party season coming up, I really needed a beauty reboot.  Fortunately, Auriga Spa’s Regional Director of Spa Alsu Abdulina read my mind, and invited me for a restorative experience.

The Ultimate Healing Journey

I’m personally not a fan of the new breed of ‘in-and-out’ express spa treatments.  So Auriga Spa’s back-to-classics and back-to-nature approach was just my cup of tea.  Instead of newfangled ideas and short-term quick-fixes, I embarked on the ultimate healing journey.

Vitality Pool

Vitality Pool

The moment I stepped into Auriga Spa, I felt removed from the fluster of the world.  Shrugging off my worries and slipping into my spa robe, I relaxed in the cinnamon-infused steam room, cooled myself down with the ice fountain, and then stilled my mind and body with the warm massaging jets of the vitality pool.  I was teleported to a secret universe where time stood still.

Rejuvenating Lunar Rituals

Since city life causes us to feel estranged from nature and our bodies, Auriga Spa’s treatments are designed to put us in tune with nature again.  The spa’s signature moon phase treatments are uniquely synced with the lunar cycle, and tap into its restorative energies.  My spa day happened to correspond with the new moon, so I was offered the New Moon Treatment for festive detoxification and renewal.

Unhurriedly, my therapist began by anointing and massaging my foot with a clarifying blend of juniper, rosemary and fennel oil.  Then, she treated me to an aromatic seaweed and eucalyptus salt scrub.  After I rinsed off the salt, dead skin cells and impurities, she slathered on a purifying seaweed mud wrap to purge out toxins.

Auriga Spa (Clay Back)-2

While being cocooned in this warm soporific wrap, my face was thoroughly cleansed and massaged with an organic honey jasmine mask that smelled good enough to eat.  And to end the treatment on a high note, I enjoyed a soothing body and scalp massage.  My therapist had an uncanny knack for finding and easing every ache in my body so that I emerged from this treatment feeling as good as new.

Best-Kept Spa Secrets

Alsu Abdulina, Regional Director of Spa

Alsu Abdulina, Regional Director of Spa

To retain my post-spa glow for as long as possible, I quickly caught up with Regional Spa Director Alsu for her wellness tips.  Here are her four secrets to youth and beauty:

#1 Eat Your Way To Glowing Skin

True beauty comes from within, so the first step to inner radiance is eating right.  Cut down on sugar, which cause glycation and damages the collagen and elastin in your skin.  Also, consume carbohydrates moderately, especially refined carbohydrates which are depleted of nutrients.

Instead, trade these for superfoods such as antioxidant-packed goji berries and acai berries, nutrient-dense avocado and omega-3 rich chia seed.

#2 Nature Is The Best Healing Balm

Don’t overwhelm your skin – many modern skincare products contain harsh and strong ingredients that may deliver flash results, but also tend to over-stimulate your skin.  This causes inflammation and premature ageing over time.

Organic and natural products on the other hand may take longer to deliver results, but they nourish your skin from within, and won’t strip or irritate your skin.  Some wonderful natural skin-savers to try are aloe vera, seaweed and marine collagen.

#3 Exercise Is The Key To Youth

Exercise not only helps your body flush out toxins through sweat; it also boosts microcirculation, and delivers oxygen and nutrients to each of your skin cells for speedy cellular rejuvenation.

Regular exercise also shapes your body up, and keeps your muscles toned.  Alsu personally enjoys a mix of cardiovascular workouts such as cycling, high-impact exercises such as gym classes, and relaxing and toning exercises such as yoga.

#4 Stress Ages Your Skin At Record Speed

It’s no secret that stress damages skin cells and accelerates ageing.  So in today’s fast-paced urban environment, spa-time is no longer a luxury but a necessity.  Scheduling spa-time regularly has immense stress-relieving and anti-ageing benefits!

The best way to benefit from a spa treatment is not to zip in and out of the spa in a great hurry.  Make it a point to arrive early, take your time to enjoy the spa facilities such as the steam room and vitality pool, and prepare your body well for the treatment ahead.  Don’t forget that our skin repairs itself best when we are completely relaxed.

Embark on your own wellness journey at Auriga Spa.  For more details, call 6591 5023 or email

Eating Well: Healthy Tips For Summer Travel

Longer days, children buzzing about outdoors, and warmer weather can only mean one thing – summer has finally arrived!  My family summer vacations always included fun road-trips, action-packed plans, and a ton of laughter while creating memories that I continue to cherish until today.

Often a key component of our traveling was the dining.  My parents always attempted to find a balance between summer indulgence and making sure we stayed healthy and well nourished.  Today, this is still a priority for me, as I love to take part in local flavors, but not at the expense of taking care of my body.  Taking this into consideration, I thought it the perfect opportunity to sit down with the Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown culinary team to find out what they recommend for maintaining a healthy, but enjoyable, lifestyle during summer travel.

Healthy Tips For Summer Travel:

Chef Frank Ruta - DC

“Always ask the locals and those around you, even your waiters while dining out what the healthiest options are on the menu or local spots to try.  Insider tips are always helpful and they know what they’re talking about!”   ~Executive Chef, Frank Ruta

Chef Aggie - Pastry Chef DC

“Remember it’s a vacation!  It’s a time to enjoy everything that’s going on with the activities and with your family and friends surrounding you. Enjoy the food and desserts and have a great time.” ~Pastry Chef, Aggie Chin

Steven Fowler - Director of Food & Beverage DC

 “Sitting in a cramped position for long periods, whether in an airplane, car, or bus, can lead to an increased risk of potentially health related issues.  To minimize risk, drink plenty of water and stay active to allow the blood to flow.  Always carry around with you bottles of water and try to drink plenty of fluids to prevent from becoming dehydrated.” ~Food & Beverage Director, Steve Fowler

Kelly S - Catering Sales Manager DC

“The first thing I do when I travel is to search for the local markets and grocery stores to stock up on fresh veggies, fruits, and snacks.  Sourcing our breakfast meals from fresh local markets was a great way to save some extra cash and getting in touch with how the community in that particular destination lived.  You can ask for a complimentary mini-fridge to be sent to your hotel room to store these items as well.” ~Catering Sales Manager, Kelly Schneider

I hope these tips will come in handy for healthy and delicious summer of traveling!  Please tag @CapellaDC on social media and share your own healthy/delicious summer traveling tips so that I can share them with our community.  Have a great summer!

Discover The Wellness Retreat at Capella Singapore

I love exploring the furthest corners of the world.  However, very often, I find myself returning from a vacation feeling like I need another one to recover from the first.  So after all the excitement of New Year, Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year, I finally decided that it was time to take a quieter sort of vacation.  I checked myself in for Capella Singapore’s new Wellness Retreat.

The retreat began with a private consultation with a dietician, and a wellness dinner at The Knolls.  I was fully expecting ‘rabbit food’, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that beyond a tasteless plate of greens, I was treated to a Thai Beef Salad, Baked Cod Fish with Olive Mozzarella Crust and Homemade Tiramisu – all nutritionist approved.  They tasted delicious, and left me feeling less lethargic than usual.

Baked Cod Fish with Olive Mozzarella Crust

Baked Cod Fish with Olive Mozzarella Crust

Day Two began bright and early at 7:30am with a personal training session with multiple Manhunt Singapore winner, Jovin Koh.  Jovin discussed my fitness abilities and goals with me before putting me through a series of weight resistance and intensive cardio exercises that gently tested my personal limits.

After ‘paying my dues’ at the gym, breakfast and lunch were rare treats. The highlight of the day however must have been the spa session at Auriga Spa.  The herbal steam room, ice foundation, vitality pool and 90-minute Shiatsu massage were uniquely revitalising.

By Day Three, I didn’t even need my alarm clock get up in time for sunrise yoga at 8am.  My body was so well rested that it didn’t scream for more snooze time.  Going through the gentle yoga postures also helped me discover a newfound sense of balance and well-being.

15. Sunrise Yoga

I emerged from the retreat feeling more than five years younger and absolutely radiant.  I also scored useful tips to embark on a lifelong journey towards healthier living. Here are five detox tips I learnt from senior therapists of Auriga Spa Amapola Nazareno and Chang Huang Mei.

GET REAL – Avoid processed food as they are packed with chemicals and preservatives. Pick real and whole food, whenever possible.

DECAF – Avoid drinking too much coffee and black tea – these stimulants dehydrate the body.

REHYDRATE – Drink up to 2 litres of water daily. Keep a bottle on your desk so you won’t forget.

BRUSH UP – Use a body brush in the morning to stimulate lymphatic circulation and drainage.

SUPPLEMENT – Natural supplements can help your body cope with a hectic and stressful lifestyle. Vitamins, antioxidants, probiotics and other superfood sweep away harmful free radicals and flush out toxins to keep your body in tip top condition.

To find out more about Capella Singapore’s Wellness Retreat or making reservations, please dial +65 6591 5000 or email


Auriga Detox Day At Capella Singapore

With the Christmas season behind us, here in Singapore, the festive feasting continues with the Lunar New Year just around the corner.  During this time, Detox is the buzz of the town.

I had the wonderful opportunity to try out the Auriga spa Detox Day treatment which was something specially designed by Auriga spa to compliment The Organic Pharmacy’s 10-Day Detox Programme, a special kit that comes complete with tailored menus, recipes and activities to guide you through a 10-Day Detox ritual.

Detox Tips

While I was looking through The Organic Pharmacy’s 10-Day Detox Programme, I was thrilled to find a series of simple Detox tips to an effective detoxification process.  Here are a few of my favourite:

  • On waking each morning, drink glass of hot water with half a lemon squeezed in it.  The lemon provides nutrients to your body, which is quickly absorbed because there is no food yet in the body.  This practice also helps to break down the mucus in the body and alkalises the tissue.  Not to mention, the tangy zest from the lemon is a sure wake-me-up.
  • Ten minutes of breathing exercises, followed by another ten minutes of stretching is great for clearing and calming the mind as well as to get the blood circulating.  If you do not have much time, reduce the time to five minutes for each.  I felt so refreshed and rejuvenated after taking time off from my busy schedule to do this.  Stress is one of the biggest causes of the buildup of toxins in the body so this is the perfect preventive measure.
  • Before taking a shower, gently dry brush the skin to improve blood circulation and remove impurities on the skin.  I particularly love the soothing feeling of the dry bristles exfoliating the skin.
  • Shower and massage the body with body oils containing rosemary and grapefruit essential oils.  Besides its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, Rosemary has been known to boost the immune and circulatory system.  Meanwhile, grapefruit oil is not only a lymphatic stimulant, but also has anti-depressant properties- sure to keep you feeling positive.

If your New Year’s resolutions are of the wellness variety, these Detox tips are something to consider.  In fact, you can also pamper yourself and get detoxed in style at Capella Singapore’s Auriga spa with the Auriga Detox Day treatment.

Overcoming Stress in The New Year

Did you write down your New Year’s resolutions?  What is on top of your list?   While I did write the entire list of resolutions, there is one thing that is most important for me this year – health and well being.  I already pay attention to the food I eat and cook, make sure to spend enough time in the nature, and workout regularly (my pilates lessons 3-times a week are one of the achieved resolutions from 2013!), this year I want to focus on living a stress-free lifestyle.

In these fast-paced times it is very hard to avoid stress.  And to so some point, I know that stress is necessary for life.  We need it for creativity, learning, survival.  Capella Ixtapa’s El Capricho Spa Director, Skarlette Castro, explains “stress only becomes harmful when it becomes overwhelming and interrupts the healthy state of equilibrium that our nervous system needs to remain in balance.”

 stress free“To many, relaxation means unwinding in front of the TV at the end of a busy day.  While you do in fact get some rest, this does little to reduce the damaging effects of stress.  To effectively combat stress, we need to activate the body’s natural relaxation system,” says Skarlette.  And this can be done in several ways:

–  Practice relaxation techniques as deep breathing or meditation.

–  Attend Yoga or Tai Chi classes.

–  Take daily walks with your dog.

–  Enjoy a relaxing evening reading books from your favorite authors.

–  Schedule regular relax and recharge time for yourself at a spa.   Skarlette suggests “El Capricho’s Rain Drops Therapy, whose main focus is relieving your back pain and providing relaxation to your body and soul, with the use of essential oils and special massage techniques.”

Do let me know what are your New Year’s resolutions in the comments below.  And I promise to keep you posted how I am doing by taking my regular relax and recharge time.

For more information about El Capricho spa treatments or reservation, please visit the Capella Ixtapa website or send us an email.


Comienza El Año Nuevo Libre De Estrés

¿Has definido tus resoluciones de Año Nuevo?  ¿Cuál es la prioridad en tu lista?  Mientras que yo definía mis resoluciones, hay una que sin duda es muy importante para mí este año: salud y bienestar.  Ya desde hace algún tiempo pongo atención a lo que como y cocino, asegurarme de pasar suficiente tiempo en contacto con la naturaleza, y hacer ejercicio regularmente (mis lecciones de pilates 3 veces a la semana son una de mis resoluciones del 2013 cumplidas!), este año me quiero enfocar en tener un estilo de vida libre de estrés.

En estos tiempos donde todo es mucho más dinámico, es difícil evitar el estrés.  Y hasta cierto punto, se bien que un poco de estrés es necesario en esta vida.  Lo necesitamos para detonar la creatividad, el aprendizaje, incluso la supervivencia.  Nuestra directora del Spa El Capricho en Capella Ixtapa, Skarlette Castro, me explica “el estrés se vuelve dañino cuando se vuelve tan grande que interrumpe el estado de equilibrio que nuestro sistema nervioso necesita para permanecer en balance.”

 stress free“Para muchos, relajarse significa tumbarse frente a la televisión al final de un día agitado.  Aunque puedas descansar un poco, esto hace poco por reducir los efectos dañinos del estrés.  Para combatir el estrés de forma efectiva, necesitamos activar el sistema de relajación natural de nuestro cuerpo,” me comenta Skarlette.  “Y esto se puede conseguir de diversas formas:

– Practicar técnicas de relajación como respiraciones profundas o meditación.

– Tomar clases de Yoga o Tai Chi.

– Caminar diariamente con tu mascota.

– Disfrutar de una relajante tarde leyendo libros o textos de tus autores favoritos.

– Agendar regularmente tratamientos de relajación y recarga en un spa.  Skarlette sugiere la Terapia de Gotas de Lluvia del El Capricho, “el cual se enfoca primordialmente en sanar el dolor de espalda y relajar tu cuerpo y alma, con el uso de aceites y esencias así como técnicas de masaje especiales.”

Por favor hazme saber cuáles son tus resoluciones de año nuevo en los comentarios debajo.  Y les prometo que los mantendré informados de cómo voy con mis sesiones de relajación y recarga de energía.

Para más información sobre tratamientos y reservas en El Capricho Spa, por favor visita la página de Capella Ixtapa o envíanos un email.