Thursday, 15 July 2010

Breakaway - Queen for a day at the Queen Spa in Shenzhen

Here is an experience to share - if you are in Singapore and planning a holiday in Hong Kong, make sure that you mark Shenzhen (across the Hong Kong border into mainland China) as one of your 'must' stop overs. Here you will find the ultimate in Spas - a new concept that I personally call, "the Family Spa" because this is a place you can bring the kids to.

Shenzhen is truly what I call the modern day Sodom and Gommorah. Where the real and fake have no legal boundaries. Think the iphones and ipad. The real and the fake co-exist harmoniously on each street corner along with fake and real DVDs, original and non-original branded goods and even fake and real sharksfin, bamboo shoots, milk and yes, eggs are openly sold. Although how one manufactures a fake egg is a complete mystery to me.

All said, we visited a place called the Queen Spa last weekend with two other families (6 adults and three 5 year olds) for a one day long eat, pamper and preen escape from humid Hong Kong. It was a fascinating experience. Firstly, I have always had this impression that all spas are sleezy - pretty much a front for boys to get a massage and more. Am not entirely sure that this one was free of the plus, plus offers especially after you get inside and realise that you get to choose your masseuse from a computer screen full of lithe, youthful, made up faces that they label 'professional masseuse'. 

You are greeted by a host or hostess and ushered to a reception area where you are given a rubber wrist tag with a number like the ones you get at the gym or a public pool. From this point you have to choose from a menu of massage, reflexology or facial services or you can use the pool where they even rent you swimmers and charge all it to your wrist tag. Snacks and refreshments are aplenty inside the Spa and entirely FOC. There is an amazing fruit and dessert buffet full of help yourself water melon, cookies, confectionery, drinks, sweeties and soft serve ice cream.

Opened in December 2009 this particular Spa has since become one of the largest and most well known Spas in Shenzhen as it is housed in one building over several floors with a few onsen style hydro, aqua therapy tubs and unisex temperature controlled recreational pools that the whole family can use. There are even mahjong rooms with massage chairs and beds, private or communal massage areas for full body, head or just foot rubs. And if you don't want to leave the building, you could make this a whole day affair by dining at one of their 4 or 5 restaurants, yes, all under one roof.

We were all given Thai style outfits to wear. They look a bit like PJS but reminded me of a POW outfit that only kids could ever get away looking cute in. We booked a private room for RMB68 an hour so that the 9 of us could enjoy the experience together. The children had a blast ordering free flow ice cream, fruit, drinks and reclining in their own massage chairs (massages optional) with HBO on tap as there was a TV attached to each massage chair consul. For the older kids, there were even two computer terminals for them to play games. Entertainment and expectations managed for a good few hours whilst the adults got their fix.

I had a one hour long foot reflexology, back and shoulder massage and a pedicure including shaving off the dead skin at the back off the soles of my feet. I would have tried a facial but then again my mandarin not being the best, I was a little worried about what products they would actually use. I would pass the next time on the back and shoulder rub as I have had much better ones before but the foot reflexology was good although the guy who did it kept up-selling other things to me and did not tell me that all of it cost extra. The trick is they casually ask you and make it sound like it is part of the service so do not be fooled. Well, I guess this is how they earn their extras. The tips can come up to as much as the actual service which is a reasonable RMB58 for a 45 minute foot rub. The tips section has pre-printed denominations of 20, 40. 60, 80 and 100RMB and you can then choose to be stingy or extra generous. The guideline is to give about 20RMB for each service that you knowingly or unknowingly ask for.

After 2 hours of being peeled and prodded, we headed upstairs to the Dining area of the spa for some hotpot which what the Spa is well known for. 5 hours later and only RMB500 poorer (this included Dinner, all the massage services we ordered and tips for 3 people), we headed back to Hong Kong, new converts of the elusive Family Spa.  See:

Queen Spa and Dining
Chunfeng Rd, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China,
Tel: 755 82158822.


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