Soothing touch at Saray Spa

Friday January 11 2019

The treatment room at Saray Spa in Kigali Marriott Hotel. PHOTO | JEFFERSON RUMANYIKA | NMG


Looking for some rest and relaxation to rejuvenate after a long tiresome week, I found my way to Saray Spa in Kigali. It is Kigali Marriott Hotel’s day spa.

As I walked in, I was welcomed in by a young lady with a beaming smile. She ushered me into the lounge area as she prepped the private treatment room. A few minutes later, she directed me to the changing room. She offered me some water after I had changed into a robe, and then directed me to the treatment room.

Sweet soft Zen music was playing in the background creating a blissful ambience. The interior of the spa was minimalist with tones of dark brown and light brown on the olive green lounge chairs.

Aromatherapy had come highly recommended by some of the masseuses. When I got to the treatment room, the massage therapist ushered me into a seat and requested me to wait as she fetched the essential oils for the treatment. I perused some magazines that were laid out on the table while I waited.

The treatment room was pristine and the soft music played here as well.

The therapist motioned me to lie on the massage table facing down with my face in the cradle.


She lit an aroma lamp and some flameless pillar candles. The massage at Saray begins from the feet up.

Aromatherapy is relaxing and soothing because of the use of plant-based essential oils; at Saray, they use lemongrass, eucalyptus and patchouli oils.

As the therapist kneaded the pressure points on my feet, the aroma of the essential oils enveloped the room triggering emotional responses in the limbic part of my brain, which was very soothing. I got so lost in the massage that I didn’t realise the room was darkened.

Spa etiquette dictates that all mobile and electronic devices should be off. So, the massage therapist didn’t take too kindly to the shrill of the mobile phone ring filling the room. She was gracious enough to act unperturbed.

From my feet she moved to my hands and back easing my tense muscles and joints.

Aromatherapy is more about relaxation, sensory stimulation and a soothing touch than deep tissue work. I certainly benefited from its calming, de-stressing effects as I came up with brilliant ideas lying face down on that massage table. Afterwards, I gave their steam room and sauna a try and was quite happy.

The prices range from Rwf30,000 for a 30-minute massage to Rwf91,000 for a 90-minute special spa package.

Saray Spa is open from 9am to 9pm and offers a wide range of treatments to relax and rejuvenate one’s body. These range from Swedish massages and aromatherapy to body scrubs, body wraps, facials and grooming.

It has special spa packages with a variety of body scrubs and massages like the Escape package, Ikawa “Coffee” package and the Thousand Hills packages.

Saray also has a 24-hour fitness centre with a gym. The steam room and sauna are open from 6am to 10pm, and the swimming pool is open from 6am to 7pm.