If I could choose one scent to follow me wherever I go, basil would be my fragrance life partner. So when I saw the sweetly fragrant herb growing on a wooden table piled high with dried fruit, flowers and oils at the AO Spa, I knew I was in for a bespoke Zen indulgence.
The facialist plucked a few of the bright-green leaves, placed them into a mortar and, using a pestle, ground them together with some fresh wasabi (it happened to be in season) to create a good-enough-to-eat blend for a pre-treatment foot soak. This personalized approach using fresh, locally sourced ingredients is the spa’s modus operandi, known as jiyu jizai, or “your creation.”
After the apothecary session, it was time for the main event: the Repair Facial, administered in one of the spa’s 37th-floor treatment rooms with sweeping views of Tokyo. The multi-step process uses Diamond Collection products from Spanish brand Natura Bissé to boost hydration and restore luminosity and elasticity. After this massage marathon of oils, exfoliants and serums, I opened my eyes, looked out the window and spotted the Imperial Palace— an apt vista after an experience fit for an empress.
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