Opened in July 2019, Fivelements Habitat is the urban out-posting of the flagship Fivelements in Ubud, Bali. Offering many of its signature spa therapies, activities and vegan dining for city clientele, the wellness club is a welcome reprieve from the stressors of everyday life. Taking a day out from the frenetic pace of city living, Compare Retreats’ Chief Content Officer Rebecca Cairns takes a day out to unwind on a half-day retreat with a chocolate-oriented spa experience, hot yoga, and decadent vegan dining…
Situated high above the frantic commercial activities of Causeway Bay, the 15,000-square-foot wellness club sits on the 13th floor of Times Square, Hong Kong. In the centre of Hong Kong, Fivelements Habitat is easy to reach via the MTR (Causeway Bay, exit A) or taxi. The proximity of the urban retreat to the MTR also makes it a great option for anyone on a long layover in Hong Kong—from the airport, Fivelements Habitat can be reached in well under an hour, taking around 40-minutes.
Balinese-Chic Wellness Club
Fivelements Habitat caters to club members and drop-in guests looking to unwind and maintain their health holistically. The space includes a reception and lounge with the Sakti Elixir Bar at the front, three large wellness/yoga studios, and an intimate spa suite with three treatment rooms, as well as a unique ‘Soundscape’ room which offers unique 20-minute audiovisual meditative escapes with 360-degree screens, cushions and blankets. Changing rooms provide luxe amenities, plush white towels and robes, Balinese-style wicker slippers, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotions.
Chic and modern, Fivelements Habitat channels its Balinese roots through subtle decorative details: natural wood and stone materials, leafy green plants and soft furnishings like the batik sheets used in the spa gently transport you to a laid-back tropical island mindset.
As a wellness club, Fivelements Habitat doesn’t currently offer accommodation, but nearby five-star options for out-of-town visitors include The Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, and the newly opened St Regis Hong Kong in Wan Chai.
Sakti Elixir Bar is based on the same model as the original Sakti Kitchen in Fivelements Bali. Chef Arnaud Hauchon, who works between both Hong Kong and Bali’s kitchens, has fine-tuned a vegan-friendly cuisine that uses whole, plant-based ingredients to create both cooked and raw nutritionally dense dishes. The pan-Asian cuisine takes inspiration from its Balinese roots, applying the flavours, ingredients and techniques to Japanese, Chinese, Malay and Indian dishes, giving them a unique and flavourful twist.
The kitchen is open to both members and walk-in guests and offers a three-course lunch daily as well as an a la carte menu of coffee and tea, smoothies and elixirs, and nourishing mains like curry laksa, cashew cheese on toast, miso soup, and kale salad. Excepting the use of honey in a few dishes and drinks, the menu is entirely vegan—double-check when ordering if you want to avoid.
Bespoke Wellness Offerings
Fivelements Habitat offers both fitness and mindfulness classes, ranging from yoga and Pilates to meditation and tea ceremonies, as well as an expansive selection of spa therapies: facials, body scrubs, massages and more. The wellness hub has many half-day retreat packages, although they’re also happy to tailor to suit guests specific needs. I opted for a customised half-day retreat, which included a morning yoga class, a two-hour spa treatment, and lunch at the Sakti Kitchen.
My day began at 8am with Hot Vinyasa Flow with one of Hong Kong’s top yogis, Victor Chau. The small group size meant myself and the other class participant got a lot of attention and postural corrections from Victor, and I couldn’t let my mind wander: I often get very distracted doing yoga, but Victor kept pulling my focus back to the pose and movement.
While I’m familiar with Vinyasa Flow movements, the 40-degrees-Celcius heat added another dimension to the class and made everything a little trickier—and don’t forget to bring a towel. Fast-paced, energising and very sweaty, the class was an exercise in concentration as much as it was a physical workout, and an invigorating start to the day.
After yoga and a quick shower, my therapist Moon greeted me in the lounge and led me to the spa treatment room. The treatment began with a traditional Balinese foot bath, using salt, lime and orange to energise and revitalise the skin. Moon invited me to join her in a short energy-balancing meditation: holding my hand, she guided me through a couple of minutes of meditation so that our energies were aligned.
If you’ve ever contemplated what it would feel like to be dipped in chocolate, then this treatment—the 120-minute Chocolate Love Body Care therapy—is probably as close as you’ll get. Personally, I find the scent and taste of chocolate soothing on stressful days, so this cacao-centric therapy was just what I was looking for after a hectic week.
The treatment began with an almond body scrub: the sweet, perfumed scent of the almond was grounding, and the scrub gently exfoliated without being too rough. Next, the chocolate body mask: I could smell the raw cacao powder and coconut milk concoction before it was even applied to my skin, and for the next twenty minutes, was immersed in the aroma of luxuriant melted chocolate. While the body mask set, Moon gave me a head and face massage while I revelled in the scent of the cacao mask.
While I showered off the set mask (did I consider tasting it? Of course), Moon reset the massage table with fluffy white towels for the personalised full-body massage. Using the more softly scented, hyper-moisturising cacao butter as massage oil, my skin felt soft and nourished for days after, and Moon expertly worked my tense leg muscles and taut shoulders.
The multi-sensory aspect of this treatment—the relaxing chocolate aroma, the tactile scrubs, the ever-changing soundtrack of natural birdsong to synth music—is the best kind of distraction from whatever is worrying you.
Post-treatment, I enjoyed Sakti Elixir Bar’s three-course lunch, choosing from a selection of starters, mains and desserts. I chose the cassava and chickpea pancakes, curry laksa, and the trio of desserts, which on that day was creme brulee, coconut macaroon, and a dense orange syrup cake. Portions were generous, but the whole, plant-based foods meant I didn’t feel heavy afterwards. Everything was delicious, particularly the pancakes, which were loaded with flavourful hummus, apples and fresh herbs, and I could have happily drank the creamy coconut soup base of the Laksa in a mug.
Expect to feel energised. My five-hour half-day retreat at Fivelements Habitat was an indulgent reset I didn’t know was possible in just a morning. City life can be exhausting, and most of us don’t make enough time to really truly relax.
Just taking that time out of a day for yourself is an act of self-care most of us never give ourselves, and the mental and physical effects of mental stepping away from our everyday stressors are remarkable.
Physically, my body was invigorated from the yoga, relaxed from the massage, and my skin was super hydrated from the mask and oils. Mentally, I managed to switch off for a few hours and felt more focused for the rest of the day and motivated to tackle things head-on.
The chocolate, of course. The chocolate treatment ends with a couple of handcrafted dark chocolate nibbles, so if you’re tastebuds are tingling by the end of the treatment, they’ll be rewarded. Sakti Kitchen also offers decadent hot cocoas, if you’re looking to go all-out on the chocolate extravaganza.
When the chocolate mask is applied, you might begin to feel a little chilly—Moon warned me of this ahead of time, but just ask for an extra blanket to keep yourself warm and comfortable. If you have time, book in for a soundscape experience during your visit: it’s a wonderful meditative experience that really transports you to another world.