Some Thai massage/spa questions

Oct 29th, 2007, 07:56 AM
  #1  
jgg
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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Some Thai massage/spa questions

First off, what exactly is "original Thai massage"? I have seen some people mention that you either love it or you hate it, and that it could cause further pain if you have neck or back pain already.

Secondly, I have promised the fam that our first day in Bangkok I would allow for some rest and relaxation (I usually make us hit the ground running!). After our 18 hour flight from LAX I have promised spa/massage treatments. We will be staying at the Peninsula. I am debating between just doing the treatments at the Peninsula or heading over to the Face Spa. I have already contacted Face and they will do treatments for my kids who will be 12.5 and 15.5.

Which would you recommend for an easy start to a 2 week Thailand/Cambodia trip?
jgg is offline  
Oct 29th, 2007, 08:57 AM
  #2  
 
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Any of the spas will do Thai massage or other types of massage - amomatherapy, Swedish, etc. The massage only places often just do Thai Massage. Thai massage involves lots of pulling and stretching, and it isn't uncommon for the masseuse to kneel on you or use their hands and feet to pull and stretch you. Typically, you are dressed a in soft cotton knit top and long pants. Does that sound just great to you? If it does, you'll probably like Thai massage. If it sounds like it would hurt - go for another type of massage!

I love Face. The two treatment rooms are small free-standing teak "houses" with modern plumbing. They can only take four people at a time at the spa, two people in each room. But as you can imagine, the arrangements aren't for everyone. There are lots of other spa options as well.

One question to ask yourself is whether after your flight, you will up up for taking the Pen boat to the Skytrain station, climbing several sets of stairs to the train, transferring from one train to another, then walking back down the stairs and maybe 50 yards down the soi to Face.

While for me, that helps me feel like I'm in Bangkok, it's not for everyone. I arrive about midnight, so I'm doing this after maybe 5 or 6 hours of sleep. If you've just gotten in that morning, you may not want to take the long trek to Face.

There is something to be said for only needing to push an elvator button to get "home" after a wonderful spa treatment.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 29th, 2007, 03:01 PM
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Over the years I've been to many spas...and the Peninsula Spa is the best I've experienced.

The whole experience was flawless every time I went (3 times in August). Check in is easy, your shoes are taken and you are given slippers. Change into a robe and go to the spa lobby, where you are served tea and given time to relax with the tea and just chill or browse magazines. Your therapist comes and greets you and you discuss a bit about your treatment, then you go together to you treatment room.

The Thai massage room is quite big with a large mat in the center. It is softly lit. You are given soft Thai pajamas to change into for Thai massage. The Thai massage is a series of pressure, stretching, and manipulation which I really like if it is done well, and can be very painful and unpleasant if it is not done well. I've had bad Thai massages, most recently at the Conrad Bangkok spa. The Thai massage at the Peninsula was wonderful...just right, like passive yoga somewhat combined with pressure on muscle points that just hits the right spot to induce relaxation and encourage lengthening. At the Peninsula spa, the therapist was highly attentive and intuitively knew just how much pressure was right, just how far to stretch me, just how much to push...it was the best Thai massage I've ever had.

They also offer other treatments. I had a massage with oil another day which was also quite sublime...it was one of the rare times that I was awake but so relaxed and content that I had that kind of floating feeling you get sometimes between awake and asleep.

After treatment is finished, you are taken to a nice relaxation lounge (one room for men, one for women) which has adjustable reclining lounge style chairs with great mattresses on them, equipped with headphones with relaxation music choices or just silence, reading light if you want to read, blanket for covering, juice, water and apples (I think the snack changes from time to time) for you to help yourself to. You can stay there as long as you like. It is great to hang out in there and just chill after your treatment rather than go out and right away see people.

At your leisure, you head back to the reception area, where you can shower if you like before getting dressed. Then you sit in the reception area and sign your bill, your shoes are brought back. 2 out of 3 times the spa manager came out to ask how my treatments were and to recommend something for me to try next time.

I had 3 different therapists there, and they were all excellent, which is quite unusual. It has been my experience at other places that one or two therapists are very good and the others are just fine or ok, and sometimes just awful, like at the Conrad Bangkok. This trip in August, I went to spas at the Four Seasons in Singapore (very good), Victoria Angkor (quite good), JW Marriott Phuket (good), Anantara Golden Triangle (once excellent and once good and once horrible...average good I suppose), and Peninsula (excellent). For overall experience as well as treatments, the Peninsula is hands down the winner of these places.

The one thing that will be a problem is that the Peninsula Spa does not accept children under 16...I asked because my daughter loves the spa. So for that reason only you might need to try Face....but do go to the Peninsula Spa yourself at least once. Another place that I had asked about kids treatments is Bua Spa...kids are fine there too, and a friend in Bangkok goes there quite regularly and loves it.
KimJapan is offline  
Oct 29th, 2007, 03:02 PM
  #4  
 
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To make things even easier, you can call the Wat Pho School of Massage and they will send masseurs or masseuses to your hotel room. It's very relaxing to get a massage in your room and not have to worry about travel afterwards. It's relatively cheap, 800 Baht for two hours. Make sure you get a two hour massage wherever you go. This will allow much relaxation time.
Gpanda is offline  
Oct 29th, 2007, 03:18 PM
  #5  
 
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Unfortunately, I read somewhere that the Peninsula did not allow outside massage therapists to enter the hotel rooms...maybe on flyertalk.com I read that. So before you plan on that, check with the hotel first.

Totally agree about the time...45 minutes or 1 hour that is offered is not enough time. Always book for at least 90 minutes, longer if you have the time. Every place can adjust the length of treatment to suit you even if you don'T see the amount of time on the menu.
KimJapan is offline  
Oct 30th, 2007, 06:38 AM
  #6  
jgg
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Thanks for the suggestions. Kim - you had me sold on the Peninsula until the part about no one under 16 - that is a bummer. i will contact them just to double check they haven't changed the policy recently (I know you were just there!)

I also like the suggestion of the therapists coming to our room - I will also double check on that policy.
jgg is offline  
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