Uspa Immersion, Brighton

by Glenn Reynolds

Day Spa Review

Seasoned travellers are strange, eclectic beasts. That’s because they are always experiencing and gathering new ways of living, new philosophies, not to mention food and clothing. George Jilly, the founder of Uspa has over 15 years of travel and spa experience in South East Asia, bringing this wealth of knowledge to craft a unique concept spa in Brighton, Victoria. Integrating a diverse range of organic aromatic products, healing practices and philosophies of life, Uspa offers an interesting twist on the standard spa services, as well as a range of award winning skin and haircare products, clothing and candles.

Walking into Uspa, you enter a contemporary chic reception showroom, with clean lines, muted neutral tones, wooden tables and floors, stone features and sculptural pieces. Here the natural is juxtaposed with the ‘super-natural’, such as recycled timber flooring adjacent to a metal sculptural stair structure that emulates a loose weave of sticks. The heightened sensory experience continued, finding all sorts of aromatic products for sale, candles, oils, hair and skincare, but also aromatic scarves, hand woven in India by craftspeople who would pound herbs and spices into the thread before weaving. Funky highly designed product packaging with understated labelling reminded me that I was in a polished contemporary concept store, with experiences packaged and ready for sale. This melange of old and new, East and West, science and nature was an underlying combination that I was to find throughout my experience at Uspa. At this point I was left wondering how it would come off during a spa session.

Quality of Spa Experience

Ushered upstairs, by Lely, the Spa and Retail Development Manager, I was encouraged to fill out a Dosha quiz, which later I would learn the results of. For now I just learned that it was a way of identifying aromas, herbs and oils that would help me achieve balance and wellbeing in my life. Uspa is a moderately small spa, with a couples treatment room and 3 single rooms. I began my spa session relaxing in a large steam room, pausing in the moisture before turning on the overhead Vichy shower for a short period. I was to have a Men’s Moroccan Facial, followed by herbal tea in the relaxation lounge. After entering the darkened treatment room, my therapist, Natasha, took me through the opening ritual footbath, scrub and moisturise, using a range of aromatic products and ritual application that introduced me to the style of Uspa. Scrubbing my feet with an Organic Wild Thyme Pumice, followed by Tangerine Rose Body cleanser and Body Moisturiser, it felt like each aspect of the treatment had been thoroughly planned and integrated into the treatment, including pauses for quiet, a variety of product textures, aromas and feeling. Natasha was very adept at moving through the techniques, balancing light dextrous touch with deep pressure work when necessary.
The ritual focus of the session continued into the facial treatment, with each product being applied and removed with flowing sequences. From time to time I could feel a warmth just above my face, this being Natasha pausing with her hands just above my skin, each time bringing a sensory awareness that moved into a relaxing calm as she applied and worked the products. I found myself drifting off numerous times, almost falling asleep. Each product had a new and distinctive character, whether aroma or feel, ranging from the clean and crisp Sandalwood cleanser or Azulene balm to the lush and lingering Hydrating Mud Therapy or Moroccan Argun Moisturiser. Natasha had chosen my range of products in response to the needs of my skin and it was definitely a sensory delight.
During the process of the facial, I was treated to some Balinese Body Palming, scalp massage, and a sequence of massage moves for the arms and legs. It was a great balance of treatments, moving from one to the next with some surprise, adding more complexity and interest to the session. It was a great combination for the whole body. The room was suitably dark for relaxation, with very comfortable furniture, the presence of a subtly aromatic candle in a corner a nice touch, and soft, inoffensive music piped around the rooms.

After my therapy I was led to the relaxation lounge area for a herbal tea and a chat with the therapist. The lounge was an open area space with soft furnishings and wooden chairs as well as an outdoor roof garden, with sculptural plants and a couple of day beds, room enough for small groups of 10 or so for a spa party.

With a slightly tired air, the lounge was certainly quiet while I was there, with a great ambient light filtering in through the glass doors. Here I was to learn the results of my Dosha Quiz, published by the Chopra Center in Carlifornia (founded by the motivational speaker Deepak Chopra). A form of Ayurvedic philosophy, my Dosha is one of three “mind-body constitutions”, used in a natural healing system originating in ancient India. As I was new to this philosophy, I was a little intrigued to find which Dosha was applicable to me, leading to a choice of aromatic candle, oil and herbal tea to help maintain my mind-body constitution in balance. Apparently I was two out of the three doshas at the moment, but for the sake of the spa session, Natasha picked one for me to try the tea and oil. Feeling balanced was probably more a result of the spa session than anything else. I was left with a list of products that were used during the session, in case I wanted to purchase any.
Eclectic, stylish, aromatic and ritualised, Uspa lived up to its goal of an immersive experience. I found the Men’s Moroccan Facial a great way to treat the whole body, from head to toe, while experiencing a superb facial combination. The additional steam and Vichy shower beforehand were superb for relaxing and getting ready for the main treatment. Definitely recommended.

Men’s Moroccan Facial
90min $140 (including steam/vichy session)

Great combination of ritual, aromatic products and skilled application.
Well-designed ambience and product range

I wasn’t convinced by the Dosha quiz. It was a nice herbal tea, though.

Facilities: 4/5
Product: 4/5
Therapy: 4/5
Proficiency: 5/5

Total: 17/20 “A unique fusion of Indian and Balinese traditions with western product design.”

Type of spa: Day Spa

SPA DEAL: Book in for the 90 minute Concept Facial at Uspa Immersion and receive a complimentary massage (valued at $59) when you mention “Great Spa Search”

Tell them that you read it at Great Spa Search!

Address: 202 Bay Street, Brighton
Tel: 03 9596 0526

Wallet Rating: $$$

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 10am – 6pm
Saturday: 9am – 5pm
Sunday: closed

Skincare brands available:
Uspa (own brand)
Lu’Lur (own brand)

Other products available:
Sahara’zaha scarves
Yoganic yoga wear
Kashwere throws
The Chopra Centre
Papaya robes
Zoya nail laquers

*Please Note: This treatment was provided to us at no cost by Uspa for the purposes of review. Although complimentary, this is no way affected the outcome of the review. Our policy is to inform readers of any services provided free of charge.

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