Words by Steven Fernandez In the wake of New Zealand Fashion Week, I was in dire need of some self-appointed time out and a chance to unwind from all the craziness and chaos. My friend Anna insisted on us getting a spa treatment together and I figured I may as well give it a go. I’ve never had a full-on spa treatment before, so I asked around for the best place to go and everyone recommended So Spa at Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour. I rarely relax and when I do I rarely enjoy it. I’ve had massages before, but I wasn’t really satisfied with the standard massages that were neither relaxing nor personalised. When I got to So Spa I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they offer a personalised treatment experience, which caters to the particular needs of the individual. Borrowing ancient wellness therapies from around the world and using modern French cosmetology techniques, So Spa has created what is essentially a menu of treatments and therapies for guests to choose from, so you can create the exact experience you’re after. Listed under ‘Starters’, ‘Mains’, ‘Specials’ and ‘Desserts’ like a gourmet French restaurant, So Spa encourages guests to create a treatment that suits their specific wellness needs. Nestled in the tranquil west wing of Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, So Spa is an intimate sanctuary beautifully designed with inspiration from New Zealand culture and the surrounding Waitemata Harbour. Even I was completely relaxed as soon as I walked in… The personalisation of the treatment is carried right through the experience, from the peace of your own space in one of six world-class treatment rooms to the music which you can choose via So Spa iPods. The staff are as attentive as they are educated on the spa treatment process, helping a beginner like me understand the process as much as enjoy it. For those who know what they’re after, the So Spa menu also includes a Healing Manuka Honey Facial with New Zealand Manuka honey; a traditional Greenstone Massage using greenstone and the Maori inspired Ataahua Beautiful Body Treatment. Guests like me, who are unwilling to accept that the stunning treatment is over, can take home with them specialty beauty products on offer, including the famed French skincare line THEMAE and organic range Plantogen. Click here for more information on So Spa at Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour. If you’re anything like me, finding time to kick back and chill out is hard to come by. So when you know it’s time to take some time for yourself, I seriously urge you to visit So Spa to do it well. Now I’m intentionally stressing myself out to justify a visit back there as soon as possible!