Sheva Thai Spa.
(photo credit: SHARON BOKOV)
Is there a cure for the Israeli winter blues? While most of the year we live in a sunny paradise, our short but intense winter season can really take its toll. Sheva Thai Spa at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv hopes to alleviate the cold and stress in the finest of ways with its series of traditional Thai spa treatments and unique atmosphere
My winter escape began as soon as I entered the waiting room, where guests are greeted at the door by a hostess in distinctive Thai dress. A warm smell of jasmine and lemongrass filled the air and wafted throughout the spa. As I waited on a plush wooden bench, I was treated to a cup of tea as well as a light snack of dates and almonds.
Before each treatment, guests go to the locker rooms where Sheva provides everyone with a long, white terry cloth robe and slippers. The well-maintained locker room has a full range of amenities, including a wet and dry sauna (which, of course, smells of lemongrass instead of the usual eucalyptus), large showers with Moroccan oil-brand products, as well as a set of vanities with hair dryers.
After changing into my robe, I went for my first treatment, the Traditional Foot Massage (NIS 225 for 30 minutes). Foot massages are given in a special room filled with 12 large, cushy lounge chairs. The chairs face a large window right on the Tel Aviv boardwalk and overlook the Mediterranean Sea. Make sure to arrive before sunset to catch a great view.
The massage itself is intensive, but relaxing, and the masseur made sure to check that the pressure was to my liking. Using a warm lemongrass-scented oil, the specialist massaged my legs from the toes to the knees, strategically pressing harder in some parts of the muscles than others. I could have easily fallen asleep right then and there if it weren't for the bright lighting and 11 people around me. Sheva also offers the option to add a 15-minute version of the foot massage to any treatment for an additional NIS 70.
Next was the Thai Oil massage in a private treatment room (NIS 450 for 60 minutes though my treatment was 30 minutes long). The room, along with the rest of the spa, is decorated in dark reds with soft Thai music playing throughout. Some rooms have jacuzzis, though mine did not. The massage itself had the wonderful intensity of the foot massage but this time for the whole body. For parts of the massage the masseur even climbed on the table herself to gently but effectively stretch and massage the arms, legs and back. It can be a bit startling for someone who is used to just idly laying back, but the result was well worth it.
For both of my treatments, the women were personable and sweet, which makes a huge difference when a complete stranger is touching your body. They told me stories of their lives in Thailand and how they arrived in Israel, already going back decades. There was an overall happy, pleasant vibe among the people working there, which employees attributed to Sheva's owner, Naomi Hurvitz, who opened Sheva just eight months ago.
Hurvitz moved from Thailand to Israel 20 years ago “for love,” in her words, and simply ended up staying. She hand-picked each person at the spa individually based on the time she spent with them as coworkers at the Hilton spa's former incarnation.
She ended up opening Sheva after taking part in an entrepreneurship program for women, also by the name of Sheva, that helps participants navigate the bureaucracy that goes along with making a dream into a reality. From Sheva, Hurvitz gained the assistance and encouragement to jump on the Hilton's vacant spa space and bring a full-service authentic Thai spa to Israel, along with a top-tier level of service and professionalism.
Sheva Thai Spa is a treat for those looking for a luxurious winter escape to hasten the coming clear skies of Spring.The writer was a guest of the spa.
Sheva Thai Spa at the Hilton Tel Aviv
205 Hayarkon, Tel Aviv