What goes on inside a beauty salon in Dhaka?
Clients badgering the receptionist about having to wait, approaching footsteps, white noise from blow drying, staff talking to each other about what they brought for lunch.
In that chaos, the essence of a massage or a spa - to relax, to disconnect from the daily mayhem - for which you came to this salon in the first place, is lost.
So, where can we go to disconnect from the mundane daily routine and gratify ourselves with some self-love? Maybe Alavee Hossain has the answer to this.
In between her work breaks, Alavee, a former Wall Street employee, used to run for a quick spa with her work buddies in the Japanese spas and salons, amidst the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.
As a computer science graduate, she naturally did not plan for a venture into the beauty industry. But even having worked in companies like Google and BNY Mellon in Wall Street, she chose to bring that authentic spa experience to Dhaka.
In the heart of Gulshan, which is simultaneously known as a commercial hub and diplomatic zone with banks and embassies, she launched her own salon, Kenshō Spa, back in 2021.
Her aim was to provide girls in Dhaka the relaxation they badly need in between work, and she certainly seems to have achieved it.
"Because of the spa's prime location, which is close to the diplomatic zone and bank areas in Gulshan, I often find many celebrities and ambassadors as my clients," she said.
But as their comfort is her top priority, she said, "even if I am a fan and would like to ask for a picture, I try to restrain myself and not cause any disruption, as they have chosen this place to resolve all stress and relax."
One of the reasons clients keep coming here is for its quick spas like the 'Nap and Sleep Spa'(Tk3,500), where you can lie down for a hair spa and body massage, all the while you take a nap.
Alavee explained, "And after 30 minutes you wake up, they give you a blow dry and you're good to go!"
This spa is specially designed for in between work breaks so that you don't have to wait for the weekend to alleviate stress.
No matter where she goes, she likes to pick up different things from the culture. "I had lived in Thailand with my husband for more than seven years. I picked up a lot of spa techniques from there. What I learnt I have tried to use to elevate the spa scene in Dhaka."
Another unique service Kenshō has to offer is their pre and post-natal spa, where pregnant women and new moms can ease down during this crucial phase of their lives (Tk9,000 for 165 minutes).
The whole idea of Kenshō was developed from Alavee's own experience. "When I was thinking about launching Kenshō, I was actually expecting. So, I decided to provide what I had already experienced in Thailand to the mothers in Dhaka," she added.
When you enter the 11th floor of Hamid Tower in Gulshan 2 circle, you will feel like you have already left the madness of Dhaka behind and entered a soothing ambience that reminds you of a place in Japan.
This theme of soothing feminine beauty seems to have seeped into the structure of the luxury salon. The interior of the space is infused with natural tones and materials such as stone and wood, which creates a segue into Japanese minimalism.
The water pouring down the fountains, distinctive wooden architecture, dim lights and the earthy decor are bound to calm your nerves immediately. The gentle music along with the flow of natural light adds to the entire exquisite experience at Kenshō.
"Most parlours that offer spas in Dhaka have glaring lights, people speak all around and thus we cannot truly relax. But here at Kenshō we make sure that all our six senses can get activated."
Apart from spas, the salon is renowned for its signature nail extensions and bridal makeover services. Other salon services like waxing, threading, haircuts and treatments are available as well.
Upon entering the salon, the clients are provided with kimonos and sandals that help to ease them down and make the Japanese theme more immersive.
Nail services can cost from Tk380 for nail polish application to Tk5,900 for services like Poly-gel Extension and Tk7,500 for Fiberglass Nail Extension.
To rejuvenate your skin they offer skin treatments like microdermabrasion. The price of their organic and luxury facials can go up to Tk6,500.
Although the services are priced slightly higher than regular salons in Dhaka, you can surely give Kenshō a try to feel the best version of yourself and enjoy a calming and unique salon experience.