My spa experiences while traveling are a fairly recent phenomenon. I have to say it all started the week that I overindulged–too many in 1 week, I just couldn’t take anymore. We were staying at La Quinta Resort just outside of Palm Springs. The fantastic hotel package that included unlimited daily golf (for you know who), and a daily spa treatment for me. What a way to sample the menu of treatments, some of which I’d never heard of before. The La Quinta Spa is a wonderful place and I made my reservations for the week, with a line-up of things like sacred hot stone, reflexology, an orange blossom wet scrub, and a facial. By the 4th day I was feeling like it was a little too much and I even tried to cancel the last one, but there was a penalty so I forged on to one more massage. Somehow, after (mostly enjoying) a week of excess, I felt I had evolved into a spa expert. And that is how I became more adventurous in the world of Spas.
In China, I had a half day to wander around by myself since my spouse wanted to take a long walk to Tiananmen Square and back. I was not interested since we were going to be there the next day on a tour anyway. I was walking around the neighborhood of our hotel and saw a massage place (I hate to say parlor). I walked in and asked if anyone spoke English–no, but the receptionist handed me a menu written in English and I chose a basic simple massage for 90 yuan — about $15. It was a really hot day and the building was not air-conditioned. I was led to a room that was hot, humid and smelled of cigarette smoke. The girl had me put on silk pajamas for my massage, and she did a great job. It was a nice experience, no English spoken the whole time and the girls were very friendly.
Cusco, Peru: this was probably the creepiest experience. This place was upstairs over a tattoo parlor. I was a little over-anxious about being able to see my belongings while I had my head in the table. This was because the walls were curtains, so I ended up moving my stuff underneath the table so I could watch it.
Since I’m not crazy about spending top dollar for hotel spa treatments, I’ve learned you can usually go down the road for a lot less. This is what I did in Scottsdale, AZ. Again we were on a golf trip staying at a nice resort. I’m sure they had a nice spa, but before we left home I had googled the neighborhood and found a nice place with a specials coupon and made a reservation.
Sometimes, I indulge while on a cruise. Ships will usually have special prices on port days. The last time I had a spa treatment on a cruise was in St Croix. My masseuse was a lovely lady who told me all about her granddaughter, who called her “grand-nanny”. Grand-nanny was only 37 years old! I’ve read that when cruising and you want to know the inside scoop at the ports, ask the crew. I asked her about what to do in St Croix and she told me where to find a public free beach within walking distance of the ship where the locals and crew go. I followed her instructions and it was a quite suitable beach.
In a couple months we are going to Italy and we will have several free days in Siena. Isn’t this the land of Roman baths? Guess what I’ll be looking for?