Trial Run: Hippopo Baby Spa & Wellness

I had previously seen some pictures of newborns in China wriggling around in the water like space invaders with their little orange-coloured neck floats, but it was my sister-in-law who first told me about baby spas after visiting one in London. I found the concept quite fascinating. According to the owners of Hippopo Baby Spa & Wellness, there are thousands of such spas in China, about 50 in Indonesia, and 15 or 16 in Singapore, but none in Malaysia until now. My husband, our twins and I visited what’s touted as Malaysia’s first baby spa last Sunday, with my mum-in-law and sister-in-law in tow.

HBP2

Price Swim (RM38/session); Massage (RM38/session); Swim & Massage (RM78/session); 10 Sessions of Swim & Massage (RM538); 20 Sessions of Swim & Massage (RM889); and Unlimited Sessions of Swim & Massage (RM1,689).

Yay

  • There’s nothing quite like seeing your baby gurgling gleefully whilst curiously bobbing around (like a baby hippo!) in the Jacuzzi like tub. It’s the kind of joy you feel when watching little seal pups swim around at the zoo, except that this little seal pup is yours. We’ve laughed again and again looking at the videos we took of our little tykes during their experience.
  • Chlorine is said to trigger asthma and allergies in young children. So, the chlorine-free, specially filtered warm water in the tubs is safe for young infants.
  • The décor of the space is tasteful and cheerful; the ambiance warm and inviting; and the temperature evidently regulated.  It’s obvious that the owners have given careful thought to the design of the place, down to the very comfortable chair they placed in the nursing room – another plus point.
  • The little swim is meant to make your baby sleep longer and more soundly (our babies certainly did on the night of our spa visit). Swimming strengthens a baby’s heart and lungs as well as improves its muscle tone.
  • Being a big fan of baby massage, I also didn’t need convincing about its benefits. The massage here is administered using techniques sanctioned by the International Association of Infant Massage.
  • No swimwear or swim diapers are needed as these are provided.
  • Packages that offer good cost savings are offered.
  • The spa is owned by best friends Nick and Leslie, and Nick’s wife Stephanie who themselves have small children and so can relate to other new parents.

Nay

  • For those not familiar with Centrepoint Bandar Utama, the spa can be a little tricky to locate. Some clear directions with mentioned landmarks e.g. “go through the entrance at the old section near Papa John’s and up the escalator in the middle, the spa is located next to the Shichida Method Centre” would be appreciated and useful for frazzled mums with cranky children.
  • As the place is only two weeks old, some of their systems still needed tweaking. For example, used regular diapers were left on the counter tops near the massage booths after babies were changed into their swim diapers. Though not soiled, the sight of these still bugged the hygiene-conscious mum in me.
  • We also expected our twins to take simultaneous swims, so that the activity could be done within an hour. However, our daughter had to wait for around 30 minutes before they managed to get the warm water in the second tub ready, and she fell asleep during that time. So the whole session took longer than we had planned for.
  • Organic edible grape seed oil is used for the baby massage, with special musk oil is offered to parents willing to pay a small premium. However, I was surprised that this “better” alternative was scented. Whilst some scented oils are safe for babies, it’s largely recommended that these are not applied directly to the skin of small infants three months and below. That said, the spa’s Facebook page does mention that it uses “retail organic-hypoallergenic and 99.99% safe specific products for infants.”
  • In any case, the owners apologized for our wait, accepted my feedback graciously and promised to look into improvements (and in fact began taking note of my observations almost immediately). I appreciated their genuine openness to constructive criticism and customer-oriented outlook.

Bottom Line
Whilst it still has some simple teething issues to iron out, the Hippopo Baby Spa is a nice place to spend an afternoon with your little tot. It’s a new and unique concept in town that offers a fun experience for the family as well as physical benefits for your child. It can be a good pre-cursor to formal swimming sessions.  When they start to sell gift vouchers, this would also make a nice present for new parents.

Interested Makchic mummies who would like to take their little Hippopos for a dunk can call 03-7728 1889 to book an appointment at Hippopo Baby Spa & Wellness.

Address F30 1st Floor, Centrepoint Bandar Utama, No. 3 Lebuh Bandar Utama, Bandar Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Operation Hours 10am – 8pm (Mon-Sat); 10am – 7pm (Sun and Public Holiday)

For more information, go to their Facebook page.

Date Reviewed: October 2013

Li-Hsian recently left a career in corporate communications to become a full-time mum to twins. She is learning new things daily as she tries to balance the romance of motherhood with the messy realities of her latest role.

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