Around Shanghai are hundreds of blind massage parlors, inexpensive no-frills salons whose blind masseurs are closely attuned to the body's soft and sore spots. At the other end of the spectrum lie the hotel spas, luxurious retreats where pampering is at a premium.
Banyan Tree Spa. The Banyan Tree Spa, the first China outpost of this ultraluxurious spa chain, occupies the third floor of the Westin Shanghai. The spa's 13 chambers as well as its treatments are designed to reflect wu sing, the five elemental energies of Chinese philosophy: earth, gold, water, wood, and fire. Relax and choose from a menu of massages, facials, body scrubs, or indulgent packages that combine all three. Westin Shanghai, 88 Henan Zhong Lu, 3rd fl., Huangpu, Shanghai, 200002. 021/6335–1888. www.banyantreespa.com.
Double Rainbow Massage House. With instructions clearly spelled out in English, Double Rainbow Massage House provides an inexpensive, nonthreatening introduction to traditional Chinese massage. Choose a masseur, state your preference for soft, medium, or hard pressure, then keep your clothes on for a 45- to 90-minute massage. There's no ambience, just a clean room with nine massage tables. 47 Yongjia Lu, Xuhui, Shanghai, 200127. 021/6473–4000.
Dragonfly. Dragonfly is one in a chain of therapeutic retreat centers that has claimed the middle ground between expensive hotel spas and workmanlike blind-man massage parlors. Don the suede-soft treatment robes for traditional Chinese massage or take them off for an aromatic oil massage. Dragonfly also has waxing and nail services. 206 Xinle Lu, Xuhui, Shanghai, 200031. 021/5403—9982.
Evian Spa. The first Evian Spa outside of France, this palace of pampering has 14 theme rooms that offer head-to-toe treatments. There are nine different massages and a detox package will ease the effects of pollution and late-night partying. Three on the Bund, 17 Guangdong Lu, 2nd fl., Huangpu, Shanghai, 200003. 021/6321–6622. www.threeonthebund.com.
Mandara Spa. With its exposed wood beams, unpolished bricks, and soothing fountains, the Mandara Spa in the JW Marriott resembles a traditional Chinese water town. Face and body treatments include the spa's signature massage, a 75-minute rubdown in which two therapists administer a blend of five massage styles: Shiatsu, Thai, Lomi Lomi, Swedish, and Balinese. JW Marriott, 399 Nanjing Xi Lu, Huangpu 200003, Shanghai, 200003. 021/5359–4969. www.mandaraspa.com.
Ming Massage. This Japanese-style salon caters to women. Cross the footbridge to one of five small treatment rooms for a foot, body, or combination massage. 298 Wulumuqi Nan Lu, Xuhui, Shanghai, 200020. 021/5465–2501.
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