SAKS in the City. Spa review

The festive season is here and I see everyone in a mad rush to get designer clothes, beautify their homes and keep mithai and gifts ready to distribute. But none of these will matter if you feel tired and worn out on the festival days itself. All the prep-ing can bog you down, snatching away that glow from your face. How do you get it back? Steal some ‘ME’ time in all this madness and head straight to a spa. Better still, head to Saks Salon and Day Spa, which has just opened its second outlet in Andheri, Link Road. The first one is in Bandra. You’ll be surprised at how just entering a serene space like a spa can calm your tired nerves. The biggest advantage that Saks has is its gigantic space. A lavish 6,000 sq ft area, the Andheri outlet is segregated into manicures and pedicures areas, facial rooms, hair treatments and the like. The first floor is for face and body related treatments, while hair care is restricted to the ground level. The second floor is for administrative staff.
Stark white interiors invite you to further calm your senses and indulge yourself. The spa and facial rooms have an attached steam room, so unlike in most other spas, you don’t have to parade around wrapped in a towel till you reach a common steam room, located in another corner of the spa!
Saks also gets full marks when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene. One normally assumes that international salons follow high standards of hygiene but it is not always the case. If I had a dime for every time my friends and I saw dirty towels lying around or almost threw up seeing masseurs rinsing used mixing bowls.
Saks, UK’s leading hair and beauty salon, thankfully, lives up to its reputation. The face tissues used are disposed off and the towels touching your face are warm, freshly steamed. Hygiene is a big concern with me and I avoid going to spas and salons that use cold towels and have equipment just lying around. I didn’t find myself worrying about nitty-gritties like these at Saks and that is a good sign.
The menu is crisp and designed keeping in mind what men and women want out of a spa outing. There is a separate section for Kerastase Rituals, which will take care of all your hair related worries, with their volumising and purifying rituals. The 90 minute Kerastase Rituals are priced at Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000. Next on the menu are youth specials, a variety of high performance facials and body wraps to rejuvenate tired senses.
I went for the Luminous C and Sea high performance facial. Its aim is to provide absolute radiance, reduce lines and strengthen elasticity. It also provides relief for sun damaged skin, Vitamin C and freeze dried sea weed are clubbed to give a smooth complexion and luminous glow… just what I needed to sail me through Diwali festivities.
The expert wasted no time in showing me to the facial room, adjusted the air-condition cooling to my comfort and started right away. A cleanse and then the faciaI, I could feel her hands swirling my cheeks, oddly in rhythm with the mellow sound of the music in the background.
A 75 minute ritual, the facial lasts till the very last minute. The spa therapist told me not to wash my face till the next morning, to allow the ingredients to work their magic on my skin. I abided and to be honest, there was a visible glow on my face the next morning. I guess the technicians at Saks know what they’re doing, after all. And I’m all set for a glowing start to Diwali celebrations.

Saks Salon and Spa menu and rates:
SAKS Salon and Day Spa Menu

Barbeque Nation Food Fiesta Review

Customise your   barbeque at Barbeque Nation

What: It doesn’t take a lot of effort to sell the idea of an evening in Barbeque Nation. Foodies, especially those who dig barbequed starters will love the concept of having a live grill on your table. Skewers holding marinated and partly grilled starters are placed on the barbeque stand that is at the center of the table. You have to keep turning the skewers to avoid charring the chunks of meat and empty them on to your plate when you think they’re ready for your palette. The choice is ample – pieces of boneless chicken, fish (Basa) and prawns apart, one also gets to taste mutton, aloo, paneer and the like. Honestly, a normal tummy can’t handle more than a few rounds of barbequed meat and salads for accompaniments. But the spread at Barbeque Nation likes to challenge sane tummies. The main course spread has a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes to dig into. The perfect ending to a meal here would be picking from the range of desserts, usually comprising of pastries, gulab jamuns, pudding, cheese cakes and ice creams with chocolate sauce.

Current Highlight: I was very excited when I heard that BN is having a Sun and Sand food festival, where in patrons can get a glimpse into cuisines from beaches of the world. Grilled artichokes, cottage cheese, quesadillas, shallow fried fish fillet from Maldives and Bahamian smoked ribs, inspired from, well, the cuisine of the Bahama – BQ lured me to its midst.

If it is an unlimited buffet spread, I like to park myself at a table right from when the buffet is announced open to guests. I reached BQ at around 8.20 pm and was surprised to see the stewards putting up a dance performance for guests. Dressed in dungarees with palm trees and the sea printed on it, they put up an enthusiastic performance, one which was rewarded with a lot of claps.

As we settled down, skewers full of chunks of juicy meat were brought to the table. They looked like they always did – wrapped in rustic red masala and partly cooked. I really hoped that they would taste different, but they didn’t, reminding me of the regular fare served at BQ, on any other day. Among the main course, the Lamb Vindaloo and Mangalorian Crab Curry caught my attention. They were well-prepared, but again, the dishes weren’t something I hadn’t had before at BQ. Ditto for the desserts.

Thumbs up: An evening at Barbeque Nation is always eventful and paisa vasool if you are in the mood to eat! The meat, whenever I dined here, has always been fresh, succulent and juicy. Food festival or not, BQ is always on my list of haunts to visit with friends and family.

Thumbs down: Not everyone may take not adhering to the theme as lightly as I do!

The interiors

Sun n Sand, Beaches of the World Festival dates: October 10 – October 21, 2012.

Barbeque Nation outlets in Mumbai: Khar, Thane, Lokhandwala, Andheri and Nerul