By Aw Cheng Wei
When the going gets tough, the tough head for the spa.
While men who fancy a spot of pampering is hardly news these days, more of them are going for a quickie - a quick facial or a knead, that is.
A check by Urban found at least 10 spas and beauty centres here offering lunchtime packages for men. Some got in on the trend for mid-day mollycoddling as early as two years ago.
Guys are able to luxuriate in treatments ranging from facials to massages to foot spas.
They are going back to the office with more than just a healthy sparkle - some of the executive stress-busters include being rubbed with diamond chips and even particles of gold.
Others leave feeling like hot stuff, especially when a sprinkling of paprika heats up their epidermis.
Home-grown spa chain Beyond Beauty, which opened For Him Men's Spa in January this year, is one such place causing urban males to swop a quick bite for a quick-fix facial.
Assistant marketing manager Fauchon Eng says the facials and stress relief massages at the new spa are popular with white-collar males because they last about an hour and can be fitted in during lunch.
'More and more men are coming in for lunch-hour treatments for the convenience and they go back to work feeling relaxed and recharged,' he says.
Services at For Him Men's Spa, which has three outlets at Raffles Place, Scotts Road and East Coast Road, start from $40.66 for first-time customers.
They include the 24k Nano Gold Facial, which claims to speed up cell renewal, and Intensive Fat Burner, which is said to help men burn fat in stubborn areas such as the tummy.
'The treatment helps to show their abs,' Eng says.
|There are at least 10 spas and beauty centres here offering lunchtime packages for men. Luxuriate in pampering facials and body massages at places like For Him Men's Spa (main picture) and spas by SpaCare International (above).
SpaCare International, which manages The Aspara at Goodwood Park Hotel, The Asian Spa at The Fullerton Hotel and The Rainforest Spa at Safra Yishun Country Club, also reports seeing more men who don't mind paying - and skipping lunch - for some tender loving care.
It has seen a 10 per cent growth in the number of male customers who ask for lunch-hour spa treatments like body scrubs and massages.
The men, who make up about half of the clientele, usually head for The Aspara or The Asian Spa.
Its general manager Angie Soon says: 'Every day is a high-powered day, so lunchtime spa sessions are a treat for them. They get to escape the office for a while and indulge in a relaxing experience.'
So popular are the slots between noon and 2pm at all the spas Urban spoke to that customers usually have to book at least a week in advance.
Lynn Ang, marketing director of Citispa, says more of such services mean that 'one can look and feel good from head to toe within an hour or less and return to work with others none the wiser'.
Men may not realise it, but they have more time up their sleeves than women to enjoy all this buff stuff.
After all, they don't have the hassle of having to reapply their make-up before fronting up back at the office.
Joel Tan, 33, a business department manager at a bank in Shenton Way, is one guy who squeezes in a lunchtime facial at a Citispa outlet near his office about once a month.
The home-grown chain has 12 outlets here.
'Going for spa treatments maximises my lunch hour and is a time saver because it frees up my evenings and weekends,' he says.
Engineer Alex Soh, 38, is also a regular mid-day spa-goer who has no qualms paying $80 to $100 each time for facials and massages at For Him Men's Spa and Urban Homme.
'The treatment seems to cut short your day. Time passes faster when you go back to the office to clear your work. It could be the more relaxed state of mind, ' he says.
This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times on June 19, 2008.