Urban Retreat Onsen Spa is a private onsen in Kuala Lumpur’s (KL) expatriate area with almost everything imported straight from Japan.
What is a Japanese Onsen?
Onsen is a kind of Japanese hot spring bath that is famous all over Japan. It’s so famous that it is now available outside Japan. There is one in Singapore, one in Bangkok and finally one in Kuala Lumpur! If you have heard of onsen, Japanese hot spring, but have never visited one – then this is guide for you. I was clueless before I visited, too. I believe you definitely have to try the onsen at least once!
The newly developed building in Mont Kiara, 163 Retail Park hides one lesser known gem that perfect for a recharge. Urban Retreat Onsen Spa, Malaysia’s first private onsen spa, offers guests the traditional Japanese hot spring experience in the privacy of their personal bathhouses. Depending on the package you choose, the onsen soak is then followed by a range of relaxing treatments, from massages to full body scrubs.
The best part? They are having opening promotion of Private Onsen for 45 minutes and 1 hour of body massage package costs just RM249!
Here is my onsen experience in Urban Retreat Onsen Spa, Mont Kiara, KL.
After greeting you at the entrance, the staff will direct you to the cosy air-conditioned waiting area, where you’ll be served some cold tea and wet towel. Before stepping into onsen hot pool, you have to swap your shoes out for a pair of sandals.
The spa grounds are very well maintained and clean, with thoughtful details and interior décor that imbue the place with very calm, Japanese feel.
The first thing to do is to select the onsen salt for your onsen soak. Urban Retreat salt offer four different types of onsen salts that they formulate by themselves, each with their own special benefits. Supposedly, there’s one with softening skin properties, one for refreshing, one for smoothening skin and one that aids in recovering shoulder and back pain.
Next, you’ll directed to the changing rooms so you can get ready for the spa. You can choose your own locker and open the digital lock with your key. The facilities are impeccable, from the spacious wooden lockers to store your belongings to a cloth partitioned private changing space. The dressing area has everything you need post-spa: facial cotton, hair comb, tissue and even an imported hairdryer.
Both ladies and gentleman have separate changing rooms. The onsen rooms are in the same area with the changing rooms. Be ready to take off your clothes and placed all your belongings in the locker. Taking just the towel and locker key with you, now you are ready to step into the onsen room.
Private Onsen (45 Minutes)
All the bathhouses at Urban Retreat Onsen Spa are private – each room contains shower amenities, wicker baskets for dry items and a rustic wooden tub filled with steaming bathwater that’s just perfect for one.
Standard onsen etiquette applies here. First, cleanse yourself at the shower area, soaping up as you would usually do. After rinsing free any remaining suds, make your way to the hot tub.
Tips: Start by sitting on the wooden plank, dipping your legs first. Then, as your body adjusts to the temperature of the hot onsen water, slowly lower the rest of your body in.
The best part about Urban Retreat’s personal onsen room is being able to fully relax in the privacy of your little tub. No stress about having to soak yourself in front of strangers. Swimsuits are allowed into the bath, a deviation from the strict no clothes rule upheld by most onsen baths in Japan.
Once your 45-minute is over, one of the staff will give you a 10-minute warning by knocking on the door. At this point, you can either cleanse yourself at the shower area or enjoy the hot tub a little bit longer before the times up.
Body Polish/Scrub (1 Hour)
Once you’ve had your time in the hot steamy onsen, you need to change to yukata – a light cotton Japanese garment worn mostly during summertime. The staff is very attentive, she gave me a matching pant for hijabis. I’ve always longed for the chance to wear one of these comfy yukata – who would have thought that my dream would finally be fulfilled here in Mont Kiara?
Once you are ready, an attendant will usher you to a waiting lounge to have a drink. Next, an attendant will escort you to a darkened, scent-filled room for the 1-hour Body Polish. Good thing is the bed was equipped with heated pad, so it keeps you from feeling too cold in the air-conditioned room.
One plus is that you can specify which area you’d like your masseuse to focus on. No worries about language barriers – you can inform your preferences, including the amount of force used and if you want to skip on any part of your body.
This body polish was quite unlike any I’ve experienced before. A combination of gliding strokes, circular movements and kneading, which did its job in ridding my body of all remaining dirt and tension. I nearly nodded off at several points. I’ve chose Vanilla Citrus scrub, a special scented scrub that deeply cleanses your skin.
Once your 1 hour is over, cleanse yourself at the shower area. At this point, you can see your skin feeling soft and glowing after the body polish session.
After a restorative spa experience, you’ll be led back to the waiting lounge, where another drink will be waiting. One of the staff was taking this opportunity to engage with us and welcome any feedback from our onsen experience.
While it does not mimic a 100% authentic onsen adventure, Urban Retreat Onsen Spa is instead a unique hybrid – combining traditional onsen, private spa and massage all in one package. Compared to my research of the rustic hot springs in Japan, Urban Retreat provides a more luxurious and comfortable experience, due to its private spa facilities. Service was incredibly warm, with the spa attendants always alert and ready to assist in a second.
Urban Retreat Onsen Spa is excellent for onsen beginners who would like to enjoy a Japanese hot spring experience but can’t make a trip all the way to Japan, or who aren’t fully comfortable with taking on the full on communal onsen experience.
All in all, Urban Retreat Onsen Spa is KL’s hidden gem, if you’re looking to switch things up from the common Thai massage parlours. I left feeling fully revived and recharged, ready to take on the week ahead.
Urban Retreat Onsen Spa’s Detail:
Website: Urban Retreat Onsen Spa
Facebook: Urban Retreat Onsen Spa
Address: L2-02, Second Floor, 163 Retail Park, No.8 Jalan Kiara, Mont Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur:
Tel: +6017 881 4486