Since one of the things Shenzhen is most famous for is an enormous amount of luxury spas and massage parlours, the problem becomes finding one that suits you.
With an endless amount of spas and massage joints on just about every corner of the city, it seems like a dizzying experience to find a place to relax. Don’t worry though, we did the research so you don’t have to worry about winding up with something expected.
For starters, you have to be able to recognise the “other” type of massage parlour. The best way is if you walk in and see pretty young girls dressed in skimpy outfits. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what is going on there. If you enter a place where there are both women and men, or at least the women are more mature and well covered, then 放心 (relax), you are in the right place. The dangerous part about the “other” types of massage places is that if the person massaging you is often not professionally trained and can do more damage to your health than good.
For the best-of-the-best, don’t miss out on Queen Spa (0755 8225 3888; B1/F-5F, Golden Metropolis Bldg, Chunfeng Lu, Luohu). Since it is commonly called the best spa in Shenzhen, be prepared to splurge a little. Aside from a huge amount of amenities, Queen Spa has a great advantage over the competition with its English-speaking staff, unlike most places where you must point and make funny sounds to get what you want. The newly decorated rooms - equipped with music, aromatherapy, special lighting, detox spa bath and massage - are enough to satisfy even the most finicky of customers. From Chinese Medicine massage to hand, back and head massages, as well as pedicure, manicure and even ear cleaning, this place fits the bill.
It also has a top-notch Cantonese restaurant, gorgeous swimming pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, dry sauna, and more. If you really want to go all out you can get the VIP service, which includes Royal Club rooms with a semi-private swimming pool and even Rolls Royce transfers from Luohu or the airport. There is an entry fee of 98 RMB but it is waived after paying more than 168 RMB of spa services (not including the 10 percent service charge and tips of 10-30 RMB per 45 minutes). The foot massage, which is actually foot, leg and head, is 56 RMB for 45 minutes, while the Chinese massage is 168 RMB for 90 minutes. Prices can vary though so bring enough.
SLF International Spa Club, also known as the Water Cube (0755 8297 8888; Gang Cheng Hua Ting Yu Nong Villeage, Futian), is fairly new, in excellent condition and tastefully designed with an interior that resembles a luxury hotel. Although most of the staff don’t speak English, the service is extremely friendly and helpful. The massages cost 48 RMB for 45 minutes of lounge-chair massage and between 128 and 238 RMB for 90 minutes of a standard Chinese full-body massag. The 10 percent service charge and tip are separate. You can see the spa from the main street outside Lok Ma Chau border crossing and metro stop and shuttles are available to Luo Wu and Huanggang border crossings. They also have a gym, fruit, full drink menu, videogames, Internet, karaoke with VIP room rental, billiards and table tennis.
What makes Oriental Palm Spring International Spa Club (0755 8204 1888; 1F-3F Jinganghaoting Fuqiang Lu, Futian) unique is the Thai-themed interior décor, which they call a “Thai sanctuary”. Their service and massage has an excellent reputation, which matches their fantastic Chinese cuisine, although it is a little pricey compared to local alternatives. Their sauna and steam room are second-to-none.
Gold Coast Club (0755 8237 6288; Building 1-4, Kaili Hotel, 2027 Jiabin Donglu, Luohu) This place goes for a Florida and South American look and feel, with a different theme to many of the others. They provide Chinese, Thai, Australian, European, Rocker back and Chinese massages, as well as aromatherapy, foot care, manicures and more. The entry fee is 138 RMB with a 10 percent service charge.
For no frills, but hands down great massage, my personal favourite is the Shenzhen Blind Man Massage Centre (0755 2669 3358; 69 Gongyeq Qilu; 1st Floor, Lin Yuan Building, Shekou). Sometimes you just want a plain massage and nothing else. If this is the case, I recommend this massage parlour in Shekou. At only 40 RMB per hour, the price is right and it is arguably the best massage in town. The conditions are nothing noteworthy and the staff can’t speak a lick of English, but it is Shenzhen’s best-kept secret as the best massage anywhere. The masseuses are trained by an old massage shifu (master). No matter what kinks you have, they will knead them right out of you. Be aware it can get quite painful but don’t worry because they know what they are doing.
Whether you want to pay to get pampered, or save on costs and stick with just a good old-fashioned Chinese massage, you can find it in Shenzhen.
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