Review: I’M Onsen Spa

I'M Onsen Spa, I'm Hotel Makati, wellness tourism, spa in Manila
How did you celebrate the Lunar New Year?



If you are an Asian who religiously celebrates the Lunar New Year, I bet you’ve been dealt the fuss of food preparation for the family (and when I say family, this is a BIG FAMILY), getting ready with those lai see, and visiting the parentals the next day. I maybe Asian but I only partly celebrate it, by spending the holiday at the renowned spa in Makati Avenue.





I’ve been planning to try this I’M Onsen Spa located at I’M Hotel in Makati Avenue, but only recently that I managed to have a right time to visit them and indulged myself to an afternoon of relaxation. Gladly, I’ve got a spare gift certificate that I’ve bought 18-months ago during the travel fair. Believe me, I almost forgot that I have that gift certificate until recently when I checked my stash of vouchers and GCs all safely store under the pile of travel magazines, right under my workspace. Then I realized that I made a right decision in purchasing that gift certificate, as the cost of the spa packaged I availed have increased.


Onsen versus Sento

However, before I give you the lowdown of my spontaneous experience, I would like to make this interesting facts that no one have ever noticed (unless you live in Japan).

We learn to appreciate an after work pampering, like many of our oriental friends through visiting a spa. One of this is visiting an onsen which became popular here in the Metro. Nonetheless, many didn't realized that the I'M ONSEN SPA is TECHNICALLY not an ONSEN but a SENTO.

Both ONSEN and SENTO are called PUBLIC BATHS, but different in some ways, which makes many foreigners (well even us many Filipinos) get confused.

“Onsen” means a hot spring. At an “onsen” spot, a hot water is always taken from a natural hot spring. Most of “sento”, on the other hand, use tap water heated by boilers. “Sento” means a paid public bath in general.

Locations of the two tend to be varied. Many of “onsen” are located in rural areas adjacent to active volcanoes. Visitors often stay overnight to fully enjoy hot springs at traditional Japanese inns. “Sento” can be built anywhere by installing water heating boilers and other necessary facilities.



So you mean I'M Onsen Spa is not an ONSEN but a SENTO?!

YES! They should named it I'M SENTO SPA, which is more acceptable IMHO especially for those people who knows exactly the difference.

But I understand this confusions (which is sometimes a genius way). For the sake of marketing and branding, some unintentionally mislead the brand name because they felt that this name would be sounds more pleasing and recognizable than the opposite (in this case, its all about branding okay!).





Tuesday morning, I called the reception and booked my appointment at 5:00PM. It was my luck because the spa wasn’t too crowded during that time, unlike the past hours due to holiday.

I'M Onsen Spa, I'm Hotel Makati, wellness tourism, spa in Manila

At around 4:00PM, I booked my ride via GRAB heading to the hotel. I was greeted by these ladies which I noticed are been busy for the next appointments, and et al. You see, hospitality in many spa varies. Some will greeted you with welcoming drinks and snacks, others don’t and just make you sit on the corner lounge, while waiting for your appointment time. I did wait and fill-up a form verifying my physical and health condition – not that I have any issues at all.




I'M Onsen Spa, I'm Hotel Makati, wellness tourism, spa in Manila

Inside the Onsen Spa


I was given my locker key/bracelet to store my items and clothing, and also get my towel, rubber slippers and my yukata (robe). The area is a free-zone, meaning it is normal to see naked ladies in the onsen even in the locker area. If you not used to the nakedness then you can cover yourself with yukata or towel, before heading to the onsen per se, but never give a judgmental look because that translates impoliteness.

After I’ve stashed my bag and clothing, I headed to the shower area, get myself cleaned and fresher before I dipped my body in the warm onsen.

I'M Onsen Spa, I'm Hotel Makati, wellness tourism, spa in Manila

For the sake of those curious minds what inside the onsen spa, I took a liberty to snap these images. The inside is very clean and less dripping water on the way. Each shower room have a rain shower head, and stored with refillable liquid body soaps and shampoo. Inside also have a sauna room, but I didn’t partake to that area, because I am more interest in getting free in the onsen.




Technically phone isn’t allowed inside but I am a stubborn clientele (and it would be a high risk of mine if I accidentally dipped my phone in the pool!).

Being in this place makes me feel safe and free – no worries and just relaxing, freeing those thoughts and letting new ideas comes in like a flowing water. The sounds of soft music and the water slowly flowing, and the sounds of the water in the shower rooms is such a great music to my ear. Very relaxing to the point it is normal that you fell asleep while dipping your body in the onsen.

I'M Onsen Spa, I'm Hotel Makati, wellness tourism, spa in Manila

Do you know what is missing during that moment?

A glass of sparkling champagne!

How I wish I could take a bottle with me and enjoy the moment like I own the place. Maybe when I avail the VIP Package then I could demand for a bottle of champagne, and enjoy it with my beau. Maybe next time when we catch the right time.

Or at least they SHOULD offer a warm ginger tea. Even cheap spas have them, and wouldn't cost them an arm-and-leg for that matter.




60-minute whole body massage

I'M Onsen Spa, I'm Hotel Makati, wellness tourism, spa in Manila
After enjoying my short nirvana, it was time for my whole body massage. I was told to wait in the lounge for a minute as my therapist (Melanie Marquez) is getting ready. This was a good lounge, very spacious and overlooking the busy street of Makati Avenue, and the next hotel the City Garden Grand Hotel.

I'M Onsen Spa, I'm Hotel Makati, wellness tourism, spa in Manila

You can also view the pool on the second floor, which is a also a relaxing sight – like viewing little koi in the pond.

There is a bar next to the pool which is perfect for a night to chill and relax, but pool closes at around 7pm so what’s the point of enjoying it?



I'M Onsen Spa, I'm Hotel Makati, wellness tourism, spa in Manila
I guess I haven't watched properly my face and my little makeup still there, lol

What includes to my package is a 60-minute whole body massage, which I really need because my body need spoiling so much. I choose their 1-hour signature whole body massage which is pretty amazing, my therapist Melanie is so good on her job. The whole facility is very clean, but I noticed one thing that irritates me most…

The obvious sounds of walking feet wearing those rubber slippers brushing against the wooden floor!



It is truly irritating and impossible for me to relax my mind. Not everyone can walk like a ninja, however they could minimize the noise by not letting clienteles and staffs to wear slippers inside, and do barefoot just like many Thai spas. I did this experiential relaxation at the luxurious Oasis Spa in Bangkok, and it was so zen – we are told not to use slippers inside the spa, only when we walk on hallways outside, because doing so will bring dirt, and noise to the whole facility.

How I wish I could go back to the onsen to free my thoughts, but doing so will only affect negatively my fully massaged body.

They should do something about the noise, plus the annoying chit-chatting and whistling of staffs in the hallway. It’s unethical.

I'M Onsen Spa, I'm Hotel Makati, wellness tourism, spa in Manila

That ugly rubber slipper had my afternoon in limbo hearing those annoying sounds. 

If slippers can’t be removed, I recommend they change it to bedroom slippers – its soft made of cotton and lightweight, and it’s good in the feet. Or opt for those soft abaca slippers or coconut husk made slippers that feels very therapeutic, and also very eco-friendly.



I'M Onsen Spa, I'm Hotel Makati, wellness tourism, spa in Manila
After my massage, I proceeded to the locker area and collected my things so I could enjoy the last part of my afternoon at the spa – enjoy the buffet dinner!


Buffet Dinner at The Common Good

I'M Onsen Spa, I'm Hotel Makati, wellness tourism, spa in Manila

Nothing makes the lazy afternoon of relaxation and pampering complete, without the feast of buffet and making your foodie soul happy.

I had a chance to enjoy that moment at The Common Good (which I believe formerly known as BLOOMS) it was almost 6:30pm and a perfect time for an early dinner. I was greeted with those very tempting food aroma, and I couldn’t wait to enjoy them all (although in really I can’t eat them all, as I have a habit of feeding my phone first, which makes me feel full for unknown reason).



The chefs are busy preparing those chicken for roasting, one is busy assisting another diner with his diy pasta, and another one is refiling the sweet station with those gorgeous delights.
I'M Onsen Spa, I'm Hotel Makati, wellness tourism, spa in Manila

Ahh dining is heavenly!

I got to enjoy the dinner without worrying of diet (it’s a bummer to think that way, I am here to enjoy to fuck the diet!). Food makes me happy, and my phone is happy as well!

Food brings us good memories. When I have an opportunity to dine (and not feeling in a hurry) I take my time sometimes it takes me two hours or more to finish, and it is okay. Dining gives me a chance to enjoy myself and reminisce good memories, taking mental notes of which food I would recommend to my beau and friends, what spices I love most, and then makes me think of the next destination I want to visit by next weekend. Food makes me dream and hope for the next adventure.



I'M Onsen Spa, I'm Hotel Makati, wellness tourism, spa in Manila

And what would complete my dining experience? A great wine on the side.

Unfortunately, that sparking delight isn’t part of the package, and getting one would be unreasonably costly than getting a bottle at Rustan’s store. Would be lovely if they offer a wine tasting event along with the spa package.

Pasta, maki, red meat (ohh I just taste the red, but took more of those chicken) lots of salads, pizza, ohhh Mamma Mia! I want wine for these!

It was a lovely day of being lazy and feasting at dinner. How I wish I could do this every day, I wouldn’t mind making this as a job! If there is one, please sign me up :D

I'M Onsen Spa, I'm Hotel Makati, wellness tourism, spa in Manila


Ratings: 4-stars

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT #SPONSORED POST


xoxo, Blair



Share this:

116 comments :

  1. This looks like a great place to relax and pamper yourself! I love everything that includes a hot sauna and a long massage. The food looks absolutely deliciosu too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The food didn't disappoint! If only have huge space in my tummy, I will stay longer :D

      Delete
  2. Looks like you had a great time! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I did! Next I would like to try their couple's package :D

      Delete
  3. WOW! It looks like you had a great, relaxing experience!! I need a day like this (and a massage!) in a place like this! haha I need to find one around me ASAP!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This place looks so peaceful. I would love to have a day at the spa. Looks like you sure enjoyed yourself!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree. It looks like a sento... I've been on an "onsen expedition" to Japan last year and an onsen has a distinctive appeal.

    However, it looks like you had a great time as you have the onsen for yourself. Nice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The onsen would be perfect for places with natural hot springs like those in Bicol.

      Delete
  6. Looks like a heavenly place to destress. Will definetly try this out when I fly visit Manila.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. please do! I will search for other spa and will report back soon!

      Delete
  7. This place looks amazing. I have never been to a real spa, but i hope to get around to it someday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You deserve it so you must have it to treat yourself!

      Delete
  8. This is a dream day out for me as I love spas!! This onsen spa has everything I want in a spa day, and you clearly had a good time! The food looks good too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, if I have time again maybe I'll pay them another visit.

      Delete
  9. I'm not Asian and don't celebrate the Lunar New Year but I would love to spend the holiday at this spa. You may have started a new tradition and just don't know it yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. having a spa weekend in everything!

      Delete
    2. Wow! very beautiful pictures. It is just like a treat to yourself. Thanks for telling about this Spa, I'll sure like to visit there.

      Delete
  10. It looks like u enjoyed every moment of that day. Awesome pics and u r looking beautiful. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    ReplyDelete
  11. A spa is a perfect place to relax and unwind, I didn't know there was a difference between Onsen and Sento :O but now I do, the food is probably enough to bring anyone there, like just give me the food that is my pampering xD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it is a huge advance that they included free buffet lunch/dinner. That's awesome.

      Delete
  12. The place looks very relaxing. Great ambiance.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I would love to try I’M Onsen Spa located at I’M Hotel in Makati Avenue. It seems like a lovely spa from your description. Keshia Richmond

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was good especially in the middle of this busy concrete jungle.

      Delete
    2. Oh wow, I would love to know more about this concrete jungle. KeshiaRichmond

      Delete
  14. I love reading this blog and I am great fan of your gorgeous photos!!!

    Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks SK! I am thankful that I have my Huawei P9 phone that assist me to capture these photos.

      Delete
  15. A great explanation between "onsen" and "sento". By the way, this spa is awesome! Thanks for documenting it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I really don't wanna sound stupid but i didn't know the lunar year was even a thing. Really cool reading about different traditions, though now i have spa envy haha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Lunar New Year is not a thing - its a culture and traditions and part of our Asian life. Ands its a huge celebrations that is also good for many businesses.

      Delete
  17. I looooooooooooove sentos and onsens! My favorite is the one near the Naha International Airport in Okinawa. It is a sento but it has a beautiful view!

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is a lovely sharing, I love travelling & wish to have a relax & pampering trip for myself soon. Love your sharing & am enjoy my reading here :D Cheers, siennylovesdrawing

    ReplyDelete
  19. That meal after a great spa experience sounds just about right

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes and pity I don't have a bigger space in my tummy!

      Delete
  20. I never been to spa before, and today you gave me some information about SPA. Thank you for this

    ReplyDelete
  21. What a wonderful way to spend the Lunar New Year! And thanks for highlighting the difference between onsen and sento, I just refer everything as onsen lol. The one thing I miss from my time in Asia to now in Europe is the spas. I envy you and that food looks amazing as well :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sarah! You can always visit Asia again :D

      Delete
  22. Hahaha oh goodness, they really should have not confused the public and called it I'M SENTO SPA instead. The massage looks and sounds soooo relaxing!! I don't blame you for finding the slipper sound on the floor irritating - I would too! And what a feast to enjoy after your spa treatment! Does sound like a day of being spoiled, which is totally what I need now!

    ReplyDelete
  23. This is a dream trip for me! I'm such a spa girl, and never miss the opportunity to visit one when I travel. An onsen is something I've not yet experienced. It looks awesome, would love to try this.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I’m jealous. This looks like an awesome and relaxing way to spend your day. I’ve never been to a full spa but I really want to go.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Jane Dempster-SmithFebruary 19, 2019 at 5:53 AM

    I feel quite zen just reading your article. Thanks for the clarification between Onsen and Sento. The 60 minute massage sounds heavenly. I could do with one now. The food looks amazing. Thanks for sneaking your phone in so we could enjoy your photos.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Looks like you had an amazing time pampering yourself. The spa looks relaxing and peaceful. The pool looks inviting and food looks yumm.

    ReplyDelete
  27. OMG. This is heavenly! I want to experience this - yukata, onsen, massage. Same thing as what I have watched in Anime. lol

    ReplyDelete
  28. I loved how clean the interiors looked. Absolutely agree on the slippers part. They could very well do it without them. Would provide more opportunity for relaxation. I loved how you explained the difference between an onsen and a sento. I had recently been reading up on onsens but I had no idea about sentos. I am so glad you clarified that up front.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Looks like an awesome place to treat oneself. The spa looks amazing and rejuvenating. Thanks for sharing this amazing wellness place with us.

    ReplyDelete
  30. We don't have anything like this around us and that is okay. Always nice to go and pamper oneself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting my blog! You can pamper yourself in anyway that is available :D

      Delete
  31. This place looks so amazing. I have never been to a spa, but it is on my dream list. One day! And I hope to go to one just like this.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Looks like you had a relaxing experience. It's been ages since I have been top a spa. Your post makes me want to book one soon!

    ReplyDelete
  33. looks like you had a great time. The place looks clean too and very neat. Hows the other expenses going?

    ReplyDelete
  34. looks like you had a wonderful time. You look so relaxed, and refreshed. thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  35. This place looks amazing! I have been wanting to take a weekend getaway and go to a spa and just relax! It looks like you were able to do just that. Everything looked gorgeous and so relaxing, thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  36. This looks like such an amazing place to relax. I've never been to a spa and I need to go.

    The food looks fabulous too! Yum!

    ReplyDelete
  37. What an absolutely fabulous way to spend a day! It would be so relaxing and I love that you are also served a delicious meal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's true! I felt relaxed and my tummy is happy too.

      Delete
  38. Looks fab!! Could do w/ a serious spa day myself right now

    ReplyDelete
  39. This Spa looks absolutely lovely! I love finding good spas to try, and have been needing to look for one that I love.

    ReplyDelete
  40. This looks SO luxurious! I want to go to a spa like this so badly! I have no idea if there are any in my area though. Booo!

    ReplyDelete
  41. I too love onsen a lot and whenever I visit Japan, I will book hotel or Ryokan with onsen bath. I know is public bath and at first I am not that comfortable but after few times, I am pretty alright even with my whole body naked (since Japan onsen bath does not allow any swimsuit or towels inside the pool.) Your pictures of onsen make me think of the onsen I went in Japan!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's true! It was so nice and free. You can relax and not worrying of anything. I would love to experience the authentic onsen in Japan :D

      Delete
  42. If there´s one thing that I love doing when I travel, it´s going to the spa! I find it to be so relaxing. This looks like it was the perfect day to pamper yourself!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it is! There is another onsen spa I would love to visit very soon, so stay tune :D

      Delete
  43. Wow! This seriously looks like an amazing place to relax! That pool is absolutely to die for :) I have never been to a spa but this would be a great first experience!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So lovely and considering its in a busy Makati district :D

      Delete
  44. I have to say, I've never been to a spa before. It looks like a great way to celebrate!

    ReplyDelete
  45. OMG I am so jealous! Sounds like you had an amazing day! i could defo use a spa day!

    ReplyDelete
  46. It's been a while since I have gone to a spa. I couldn't enjoy all of the amenities because I was still on dialysis. But now! This place looks like it would be a great place to have my first spa experience in over 10 years. I am glad you had a great time!

    ReplyDelete
  47. what an awesome and laidback way to spend a weekend. Thanks for sharing the difference between "onsen" and "sento". You are really good at interior photography.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Looks like you had a great time, I would love to visit a spa one day x

    ReplyDelete
  49. wow this looks amazing. a spa is definitely a good way to relax

    ReplyDelete
  50. The place looks amazingly relaxing. I believe many people will enjoy this.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I love spa, it makes me feel so happy and so relaxed. Spa is my ideal happy place. I love your photos, I'd totally visit it too

    ReplyDelete
  52. This is the place where you will feel relax. I want to experience their service because it sounds such a perfect place to spend your day.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Who wouldn't appreciate a great spa experience? It looks so ebautiul at I'm Onsen spa. What fascinates me most is that the water is from a natural hot spring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting Dalene!

      Unfortunately, this spa is not from natural spring. There is no natural spring in the Metro.

      Delete
  54. This spa looks amazing! Would love to visit some time in the future :) x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be great Becca! Thanks for visiting :D

      Delete
  55. May I know if you went just by yourself? Might do this for my bday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I visit alone, but would be more fun if you are visiting with someone :D

      Delete
  56. Very informative! Im curious, is it ok to wear makeup during the spa session? I won't dip my face in the pools

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dear!

      I think it is okay. Just wear waterproof makeup so it stays well.
      Then tell the spa therapist to not massage your face so that your make-up is still intact :D

      Happy spa-cation!

      Delete

DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any partner brands/company(s), beauty & lifestyle brands, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities, unless specified.
 
Copyright © for urban women | travel & lifestyle blog .