Relaxation Massage & Spa, Bangkok: Thailand

Thai Herbal BagI would not have come across this small but friendly spa boutique in Bangkok if I did not have a bad experience with another local spa. (See earlier article)

Relaxation Massage & Spa is a small spa boutique located on the 6th level of Big C Complex in Bangkok. The spa is located on the same level as the cineplex in the building.

As I stepped into the entrance, a smartly-dressed lady was sitting at the reception table talking over the phone in Thai. Although I did not understand a single word of Thai, but from her body language, I could tell she was trying her best to arrange an appointment with the other party.

While waiting for her to finish her conversation, she smiled at me and ushered me to take a seat at the waiting area and handed over their spa treatment price list. Shortly, she came over and explained to me their spa packages. To my surprise, she turned out to be the spa manager, and she spoke good English.

I told her my needs and she recommended their 2.5 hrs Herbal Rejuvenate Package which consisted of a Thai Herbal Scrub, Thai Herbal Bag Compress Treatment and a Traditional Thai Massage. I wanted a Thai traditional spa package and not having tried a Thai Herbal Compress Bag treatment previously, I agreed immediately.

It was almost 9pm when we walked into the spa and it closes at 10:30pm. The receptionist was very nice to ask if the therapists were willing to stay later than their usual working hours before committing to us. We were glad that they were willing to accommodate the extra late hours.

We started off with a a complimentary 15 mins floral foot bath. We then started on the Thai Massage and then it was the turn for the herbal bag treatment.

I was looking forward to the Thai Herbal Bag treatment. First, the Thai Herbal Bag was heated up in a hot pot. The therapist then used the hot Thai Herbal Massage Bag to quickly dabbed various parts of my back.

Ouch! That’s my first reaction but after a few seconds, as my body began to accept the hot body dabs, I began to enjoy the heat on my back as each dab began to stay longer and longer in one position. I was told that the herbal bag treatment is ideal for aching bones and joints, clearing blocked breathing passage ways and detoxifying the body.

I later read that this unique Thai Herbal Massage Bag or Luk Prakop (Thai hot compress) is one of the most interesting variety of the Thai Traditional massage. More than ten exotic Thai herbs (such as Lemongrass, Plai, Leech Lime, Curcuma, and Galangal) are pounded and put into small bags, heated up and then placed onto various body parts to relieve aches and pains. While under-going treatment, the Thai Herbal Massage Bag also gives a strong yet pleasant aroma.

At the end of the treatment, I was completely relaxed. I was very pleased with their service. The therapists did not do a rush job even though it was way beyond their working hours. I will strongly recommend this spa to fellow avid spa goers and will not forget to go back to them whenever I’m in Bangkok :)

Location of Spa:
6th Floor, Big C Rajchadamri (Opposite Central World Plaza)
Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330

Size of Spa: Three single treatment rooms, one open space of five beds for Thai Massage, 5 foot massage chairs
Facilities: Private Shower and jacuzzi

Friendliness: Extremely polite receptionist and massage therapists. Speaks good English.
Pricing: Ranges from US$18 to US$45 for massage only. Between US$85 to US$175 for spa packages. (The spa was having a 15% discount for spa packages when we were there)

Pix credit: http://www.wadudcorp.com

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Bad, Naughty Spa

Thumbs DownThailand is well-known around the world for it’s polite people and good customer service standards. Spa and massage services are extremely popular among locals and tourists alike and there seems to be a small or large massage facility in every street in Bangkok offering the ever popular foot massage or Thai body massage.

Spa business is good and customer service has always been excellent where-ever you go; small and big massage facility alike. Until this one …

We were staying at the Amari Watergate hotel which is just a stone throw away from the Big C Complex, just opposite the Siam Square shopping mall. Both are popular tourist shopping malls and just next to the Big C Complex is the Indrana Spa.

Now, any seasoned tourist in Bangkok knows that if you’re looking for traditional Thai massage services, you can get them at any massage facility down the street and pay 1/3 the price for the same massage in a hotel spa. Unless you’re looking for Western-style massage services such as body wraps, aromatherapy, facials or hydro-massage, there’s really no need to use a hotel spa.

Indrana Spa is a fairly large non-hotel spa and I especially like their tag-line – 5 star massage services at 2 star prices. We walked into the spa and made enquiries with the receptionist. We were shown a spa menu and we deliberated about the packages we would like to take because the spa packages prices were indeed excellent. In fact, we were even planning our next few days activities around the spa packages we intend to take up here…

However, because of a prior dinner appointment, we decided that we’ll make our first treatment on the next day. What happen next shocked us … when the receptionist found out that we were not taking a spa package on the spot, the plastic smile she had on disappeared immediately and she literally snatched the menu from our hands! She continued to ignore us even when we were the only people at the reception area and wanted to tell her we were booking for tomorrow!

I had always recommended small and medium spa facilities in Bangkok because they offer excellent service at good prices. Never, ever had I been subjected to such rude and indifferent service attitude – expecially not so in Thailand!

Although this spa does indeed offer spa packages at good price, we decided to boycott this establishment. For the next few days, we bought multiple spa packages at an excellent spa establishment on the 6th floor of the Big C complex even though they cost more.

Spa consumers unite! Thumbs down to bad service!

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Sivara Spa, Bangkok, Thailand

Sivara SpaSivara Spa is a luxury chain spa exclusive to Amari Hotels and Resorts in various parts of Thailand (Bangkok, Koh Chang, Krabi, Patttaya, Phuket, Samui, Trang)

On my last trip to Bangkok, I stayed at the Amari Watergate and Sivara Spa is tucked away on the 8th floor of the hotel and facing the swimming pool and health centre.

The Sivara Spa at the Amari Watergate Hotel in Bangkok is newly renovated to a modern and contemporary Thai style. As you walk into the reception, you can find a delightful interplay of bronze “lotus flowers”, water walkways, stones, curtains, candlelight and flowers.

There are three spacious zen-themed double rooms and 5 single treatment rooms. Each of the themed double rooms is assigned to a signature treatment.

In the spa brochure own words, the various themes for the treatment rooms are:

The Mystical Forest room harnesses the spirit of the forest and allows guests to meditate on the power of nature. This botanically-inspired room features a tropical rain shower to wash away the stress of the day. The refreshing blends of essential oils used for the massages will leave the body feeling rejuvenated.

In Floral Bloom room, you can guarantee that tension will drain away and the spirit will be revived with a rose petal bath in this floral paradise. The fragrances of flowers will cleanse and purify your soul, whilst the ylang ylang, lavender and marjoram essential oils, used in the treatments, provide the ultimate feminine indulgence.

In the Herbal Inspiration room, the healing qualities of herbs – known for centuries, as nature’s gift to mankind – are combined with luxurious pampering.

I opted for the “Sarada Package” (2hrs) treatment which comprises a oil massage & facial. I was not keen to do a facial and the receptionist was flexible enough to change the facial to a body scrub instead.

From the lighting and temperature in the room, to the volume of music and pressure applied during massages or scrubs, the therapist was so caring and considerate for my entire treatment. The gentle therapist at the spa truly live up to the gracious spirit of the Thai’s spa culture.

For total relaxation, the Sivara Spa also offer a complete range of massage, spa, facial and body treatments. The selection of treatments include Thai and oil massages, body polishes and wraps, facials, and even a customized half day, full day, multi-days spa program. There is also the awesome 4-hands massage, which has become the signature treatment of high-end Thailand’s spa, but due to time constraints, I could not find time for this famous treatment.

The prices in the Sivara Spa are typical of hotel spas and are hence slightly on the high side. If you are a guest of the hotel, make sure you pick up a discount voucher at the hotel conceige which will entitle you to a 10% discount and a free floral foot bath.

Note: The Amari hotel and Sivara spa also has a honeymoon package and ultimate relaxation spa package at special prices for a minimum 2 nights stay. Do check the hotel website for promotion details. 

Location of Spa: Amari Watergate Hotel, 847 Petchburi Road Bangkok 10400, Thailand
Size of Spa: Three couple treatment rooms, five single rooms
Facilities: Private Shower and jacuzzi in couple’s room

Friendliness: Extremely polite receptionist and massage therapists
Pricing: Ranges from US$60 to US$120 for massage only. Between US$115 to US$220 for spa packages. Gift certificates and membership schemes available.

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Spa Promotion Search Directory, Singapore

Spa search directoryHere’s something interesting for fellow spa enthusiasts in a bargain hunting mood … a spa promotion online search directory.

This is how it works – supposing you are in the mood for a spa or massage session, and you jolly well know that spa establishments run promotions all the time – you look up on the internet: http://www.totallyspa.com, and bingo … you’re shown a list of spa establishments in Singapore that happens to be running a spa promotion! Just pick one and off you go happily!

This website is essentially a niche web search directory targetted to spas in Singapore. In their own words:

totallyspa is your online source for Singapore spa promotions. Treat yourself to the many available treatments on promotion now.”

Nifty idea, isn’t it? Well, almost…

This website is useful if you are too lazy to check out various spa websites and so, you can find various promotions consolidated here on your behalf. However, I find their spa directory and promotions not comprehensive and seems to only cover spas that, I assume, has signed up for their directory services. If your favorite spa is not listed with them, you’ll not find their promotions even if they are indeed running a promotion.

The key attraction for this website is their spa promotions. However, I noted that these are standard spa promotions and not something at a even better pricing or discount. If I have a bookmark of my favourite spa websites or are on the mailing lists for these spas, the promotions I am likely to recieve from these spas will be as good if not better. Hence, this website may only be useful for the occasional spa customer and not hard-core spa and massage enthusiasts like myself or some of my readers.

However, I do appreciate the logic behind the website’s founders. What I can suggest to them is to expand their directory services to not only Singapore but the entire Asia region. Hence, if I intend to make a trip to Hong Kong, I will definitely do my research at this website because I am obviously not familiar with Hong Kong’s spa environment, much less the promotions being offered by Hong Kong spas.

I will also suggest that the website sign up independent writers or get readers to review the spa promotions that are offered. Due to competitive circumstances, almost every spa worthy of it’s name run price promotions almost everyday, and so it is important to differentiate the ordinary promotion from the really, special promotions.

In addition, not every reader go for promotions but some may choose a spa based on service, variety of treatments, location, ambiance and other reasons and hence, independent and well-written spa reviews may attract a reader more than the best price promotion. A poorly managed spa will still fail to attract customer despite the best price promotions!

Regardless, I must commend the website for their attempt in making spa promotions that are running wild all over the various medias into one consolidated location. If they can improve further based on some of my comments, then I am sure spa enthusiasts like myself will make this website a must-have reference in the future.

Pix credit: http://www.totallyspa.com

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Surprise? Study pours cold water on drinking eight glasses a day

Water GlassWASHINGTON (AFP) – – Drinking enough to quench your thirst is sufficient for the body’s needs, and there is no evidence to support the common advice to drink eight glasses of water a day, according to a new study.

“Just drink when you are thirsty,” was the advice from a study published Thursday in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Doctors from the University of Pennsylvania said “there is simply a lack of evidence in general” that everyone should drink the recommended 1.5 litres of water a day.

Researchers Dan Negoianu and Stanley Goldfarb had examined the theory that drinking more water helped the kidneys flush more toxins from the body.

“So the question is does drinking more water increase these normal important functions of the kidneys. And the answer is no,” Goldfarb told NPR radio.

“In fact, drinking large amounts of water, actually and surprisingly, tends to reduce the ability of the kidney to function as a filter.”

Water has also been touted as an ideal aid to those who want to lose weight. But while drinking more helps dieters feel full, no clinical study has proved that it will help keep the weight off.

“There were some studies that suggested that in fact, calorie intake was reduced when individuals were given water prior to eating. Other studies suggested that it wasn’t,” Goldfarb added.

Increased water intake was only really justified in extreme cases, such as for athletes, people living in hot, dry climates and those suffering from particular illnesses.

Article credit: AFP – Friday, April 4
Pix credit: http://bizchicksrule.com

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