My experience at Queen Spa in Shenzhen, China, was not at all what I had imagined. And is easily one of the most bizarre travel experiences I’ve had to date. I’ll set the scene for you…
After a hard day’s shopping at Luohu District‘s Commercial City, the 5-floored rabbit warren of a shopping mall, my friends and I checked into the nearby Queen Spa. Now, we only had 24 hours in China after crossing the border from Hong Kong, so we planned to spend all night at the spa. Something I thought was pretty weird but seemed to be the norm here, and made the whole experience even weirder…
After we checked in, a group of women showed us to a changing room and gave us identical cotton robes to wear for the duration of our visit (which were pretty much PJs), as well as an electronic wristband to charge any treatments onto. All other belongings were not allowed into the spa so I had to leave everything else in lockers. A fact that means I don’t have any photos of inside this place and a reason I have put off writing this post… But it’s just such a strange experience not to share!
When you go through to the main spa area, you suddenly feel as though you are on a cruise ship. Everything is open plan with wood-panelled walls and no windows in sight. Just hundreds of leather reclining barker loungers in different clusters.
I settled into one in front of a large screen showing a film and chose the treatments I would like from a menu next to me like I was at a restaurant. The ‘waitress’ then took my order and a guy was sent over to set to work on my pedicure. It felt pretty strange doing it this way but equally quite queen-like!
The pedi was insane. Much like the rest of Asia, the Chinese tend to use actual razor blades to tend to the hard skin on your feet. It isn’t good to watch because you get really anxious like the guy’s going to cut your toe off. But once done… Smoothest. Feet. Ever.
When it was time for dinner we trotted on over to the restaurant and charged the meal to our wristbands, then helped ourselves to the free fresh fruit on offer!
The rest of the evening continued like this, ordering treatments and living the life of luxury. But the weird part was that you couldn’t tell what time it was. The lighting never changed, there were no clocks, it didn’t get less busy, films continued to be shown on the big screen… The cruise ship vibe started to feel more like casino at this point.
We took a dip in a few of the spa pools, which were super relaxing, before heading for our Aromatherapy Full Body Massage. You have to book big treatments like this and we had booked a slot booked at 1am. That was my first notice of what the time actually was.
The massage was in one of the private treatment rooms and was 1 hour 30 minutes long. I’ve never had a massage that long because I normally can’t afford it, so why not right? The only thing was it was quite hard for my liking – I’m more of a nice Swedish Oil Massage kind of girl but this one was verging on Thai Massage… But anyway, can’t complain when I’m being treated like a queen.
After the massage we decided to go to the ‘Sleep Rooms’. I found this the weirdest part. It’s a large pitch black room with lots of little pods for people to sleep in during their visit. A receptionist-type woman asks you how long you want to go in for and when you should be woken then leads you to you little pod-bed with a torch. By this point it was really late so we couldn’t sleep for long as we had to head back to Hong Kong first thing, so we only had a 2 hour nap.
Well, it was really comfy with blankets and air-con. But it was strange when the woman came over to wake me up. They obviously can’t make any noise in case they wake anyone else up so get really close to whisper you awake! Not the most relaxing thing to wake up to, a stranger in your personal space…
The visit to Queen Spa ended with a quick pit-stop in the big barker lounger room for a 30 minute wake-up and chat with the girls before heading back to the changing rooms to get ready and recover our belongings.
On leaving Queen Spa, you hand back your wristband to pay your bill. Now with an overnight stay, a 1.5 hour full body massage, various pedicures and little treatments as well as dinner, I expected a big bill. I was treated like a celeb and I thought I would be charged like a celeb… It came to £50.
Now the whole experience was pretty surreal I admit. And with us all wearing the same pyjama-like robes, I did feel like I was in an insane asylum at some points. But hell if isn’t a bloody bargain for that level of pampering! Especially when Shenzhen is so crazy outside, it’s a nice break!
If you’re interested in checking out Queen Spa in Shenzhen, check out the details below:
皇室水疗 (Huang shi shui liao)
Have you been to Queen Spa in Shenzhen? Any surreal spa experiences in Asia? Leave a comment below or tweet @ HeelsInBackpack!