Beijing: Well-being and Spa
The Forbidden City
Beijing is a center of relaxation and well being, with many Spa Hotels dedicated to making your stay as tranquil as possible.
Linking two cultures, LeSpa at Sofitel Wanda Beijing blends the ancient traditions of Chinese well-being in rituals handed down through the centuries with the knowledge and expertise of modern French beauty.
Taking a holistic approach to physical and spiritual well being, this palatial retreat provides a sanctuary for the senses. Its innovative East/West fusion treatments and elegant rooms are a hit with guests and their royal jasmine package is well worth the cost.
Zen Spa's architecture is to integrate Chinese traditional courtyard style and western aesthetics. As the name suggests, it promotes the Buddha spirits, where there has the sound of creeks and breeze make you feel comfortable and easeful.
Inevitably, many of the plush new spas here are in five-star hotels, but there are also many excellent independent options that are usually cheaper than their hotel counterparts. The variety in treatments is exceptional, ranging from standard Thai and Chinese aroma massages, to targeted treatments and indulgent all day rituals. These spas are increasingly catering to male patrons, with a number of men only centers opening in recent years (including Spa de Feng, C306 Sunshine 100, 2 Guanghua Lu, Chaoyang, 010 5100 1330). Pattaya is also popular with gents (www.pattaya-spa.com).
Some spas will charge around ¥100 for admission, which includes use of the showers, hot tubs and saunas, and even food. Charges are then added for massages (usually between ¥200 and ¥500 for one hour) or other services. Whatever you go for, membership offers can see you pumiced, polished and pruned for a lot less than you might expect.
Cheaper massage and beauty services are available at bathhouses and salons around the city, but be aware that many of these are fronts for prostitution.