There’s no denying that massages are a great way of relaxing – throwing off the cares and tensions of daily life in the city. However, the world of massage and spas in Shanghai has something of a dodgy underbelly. Many parlours offer services that you (probably) wouldn’t be interested in, if it’s just a foot massage or back rub that you’re after. If the massage shop front consists of a window from which weary-looking women gaze, lolling on dirty sofas, the chances are you should walk on by.
So where can you go to get a decent, above-board (and –belt) massage and spa treatment in Shanghai? The good news is that there are plenty of places, for all budgets.
Spas have long been the province of expat wives with money and time on their hands, or business travellers seeking some R&R after meetings. Thus, it’s no surprise that Shanghai does a good line in top-of-the-range massage and treatment parlours. The big, fancy hotels along the river all have spas.
The Yuan Spa in the lower lobby of the Hyatt on the Bund (199 Huangpu Lu) is a giant of a place, spread over 3,000 square metres. It has 12 treatment rooms, a gym that is open 27/4, a pool and sauna, beauty salon and juice bar. It’s Yuan by name and yuan by nature, as the treatments here don’t come cheap. Bank on spending a good few hundred, even for the most basic of treatments.
Also on the pricier end of the spectrum is Water’s Edge at the Park Hyatt (85/F, Shanghai International Finance Center, 100 Century Avenue). It holds the accolade of highest spa in the world, and its infinity pool looks out over the city. If you want some spirituality with your pampering session, Water’s Edge runs daily t’ai chi sessions every morning in a special courtyard. Another Pudong luxury favourite is the CHI Spa at the Shangri-La hotel (Tower 2, Floor 6, 33 Fucheng Lu, near Lujiazui Ring Road).
Moving away from the river and further downtown, the hotel spas worth visiting are The Spa at the Hilton (4/F, 250 Huashan Lu) and Le Spa at Le Royal Meridien (789 Nanjing Road East, near Peoples’ Square)
A number of good spa chains can be found at other locations around Shanghai. One of the most popular and well-established is Dragonfly. With at least four branches in operation, and others under renovation or still being built, Dragonfly brings you luxury at more affordable prices. Your average massage will set you back around ¥250, and most branches offer mani/pedi treatments. The Xinle Lu branch of Dragonfly is actually one of our favourite massage joints in town, thanks to its low lighting and gentle fuwuyuan. Bizarrely enough, if you have a tattoo of a dragonfly anywhere on your body, you’re entitled to free and discounted treatments. It’s almost worth going under the needle…
Branch addresses: 206 Xinle Lu, near Donghu Lu/ Villa 5, Lane 3911 Hong Mei Lu / 29-31 Changyi Road, Pudong, near Ascott Hotel/ B17-20, Green Sports & Leisure Centre, 633 Biyun Lu, Jinqiao, Pudong.
Another multi-branch giant is Everlasting. This is one you can go to with your beloved, as it offers his and hers treatments. It’s renowned for aromatherapy, reflexology and hot stone therapy, as well as massage, mani/pedi and weight-loss advice. Branches: House 218, 555 Nanjing Xi Lu/ 175 Xiangyang Nan Lu, near Fuxing Lu/ 55 Xiangyang Bei Lu, near Changle Lu.
For some Cambodian hospitality, head to Apsara (457 Shanxi Bei Lu, near Beijing Xi Lu) Where the massage traditions of Phnom Penh are brought to life for Shanghai-ites to enjoy. Then there’s Yu Massage (370 Wuyuan Lu, near Wukang Lu) in the hidden depths of the French Concession. Behind its easy-to-miss wooden door set into an old stone wall, a whole host of traditional Chinese massage treatments await.
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May 03, 2014 20:35 Report Abuse