The Oriental Spa at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel is one of the finest in Hong Kong, but now there’s another reason to go. Bastien Gonzalez who tends to the toes of celebrities and supermodels brought his pedicure studio to town. Here’s a first hand account of her experience by Gillian Rhys.
Opting for the famous pedi (there’s also a manicure available) I arrive at the serene reception on the fifth floor of the hotel and I’m handed some paperwork. Questions about foot or posture pains are the first clue that this is no ordinary beauty treatment. Albin, an immaculately turned out and charming Frenchman, leads me through to the treatment room. Although Gonzalez is not working in Hong Kong, he has a specially trained team in place clearly chosen for being as personable as himself. A very comfortable reclining chair and a plate of peeled and sliced fruit suggest this will be the customary Oriental Spa experience, but then I notice an alarming array of tools set out – not unlike those at the dentist.
Following my gaze Albin reassures me that the pedicure won’t hurt. Like all Gonzalez’s staff, Albin is a podiatrist so his priority is the health of the feet and nails, rather than painting your toes the latest cult colour. He sets to work with what look like scalpels and drills using the lightest of touches to remove hard skin but not the cuticles, which he says are essential to nail health. Next he buffs the nails to a shine so they look a natural, pretty pink. A signature of the Bastien pedicure is not using nail varnish as it’s healthier for the nail.
After a firm but not painful massage, with a deliciously scented cream my lower legs and feet feel lighter and a niggling pain in my big toe has disappeared. My toe nails now have a healthy shine and since I always opt for a neutral pink laquer, there’s little difference in the colour, although Albin does offer varnish for those who prefer it. I’m enamored with my beautiful feet and am certain to be heading back next month.