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Lemongrass SpaMelina is one of only a handful of lucky Tioman resorts that have their very own beach. In fact, the Melina property is demarcated by pretty much impenetrable vegetation on each side. And it's this, along with its amazing tranquillity, that lends Melina a rather private feel.
You sense this the moment you step off the Melina speedboat that takes you from the Paya jetty to the resort.
So exquisitely secluded is Melina that arriving here kind of reminded me of Fantasy Island, the 80s tv hit series where guests were considered utterly and blissfully "off-grid" whilst on this idyllic almost mythical island.
The other way Melina stands out from most other spa resorts is the fact that its spa is actually set up a tree. Now, whilst it's not uncommon for wellness resorts to have their spa amongst their premises' tree canopies, Melina's spa is different. Its spa is located in an actual tree! The entire treatment room is a converted tree house, which, it must be said, makes for a positively unique experience.
Melina's spa is aptly named Lemongrass; the moment you set foot in the all-wood cabin, the fresh scent of lemongrass sets the tone. Delightful.
To be sure, it may look modestly-sized from the ground, but Lemongrass Spa is actually remarkably spacious once you're inside. It has room for a pair of side by side treatment benches, a niche for specialized treatments such as facials, as well as an inviting lounge corner to boot.
Now, whilst receiving a wellness treatment in a practice actually set within a tree, with a breathtaking beach mere meters below, is an absolute novel and certainly enjoyable experience, it's probably best not to expect the kind of luxuriousness typically reserved for the more exclusive wellness centres.
For instance, Lemongrass Spa doesn't offer air-con. Not that it's greatly missed, given that there's a fan present, as well as lots and lots of shade, courtesy of the canopy's dense foliage. But it's something that perhaps not everyone can forego.
Mind you, though perhaps not quite a full-on match, in terms of sheer quality, frankly, the treatment itself that I received at Lemongrass Spa wasn't too far off those at the more high end Tioman spas.
My therapist's name was Putri, a good-natured Indonesian lady with plenty of massage skills and experience, and, happily, well-versed in English.
That being said, Putri's abundance of hand strength may have the potential to exceed comfort levels, so if you prefer to stay well clear of your pain threshold, best state this explicitly at the start of your therapy.
Still, Putri instinctively homed in on the areas that I find the most pleasurable when subjected to a suitably administered massage. These include the soles of my feet, my calf muscles and the palms of my hands. Clearly Putri knows her stuff.
As a matter of fact, at the end of the day, Melina's Lemongrass Spa, whilst perhaps not the most extravagant of wellness centres, certainly delivers on its promise: a couple of hours of utter bliss at quite a friendly price. The hypnotic sound of waves lapping up at Melina's beach below is the icing on the cake.
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