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Beijing: Where to SPA?
14:33, July 10, 2008

To escape the hustle and bustle of city life, you don't have to drive out to the suburbs. You might be able to find all you need right next door. Hiding amid the towering city buildings there are some top-class spas that provide clients with a soothing, pleasant get-away from the daily pressure. So why not step next door and leave all you worries behind?

SPA is the acronym for Greek phrase Solus Par Aqua meaning 'water of health' in English. The word 'spa' may call to mind images of rose petal baths and Thai massages, but in reality a trip to a spa is much more comprehensive, including beautiful background music, aromatherapy, healthy foods and peace of mind. There are many different kinds of spas, city spas, day spas and mineral spas, just to name a few. There are also spas that offer one-day spa treatment and facial massages.

One Spa: go for the music

One Spa stands out because of its broad music selection, encompassing everything from foreign tunes to Chinese folk.

At In one Spa, clients can choose their aromatic essential oils out of five available scents. The philosophy behind it is that the client will naturally choose the scent that contains the elements his or her body is lacking. A 90-minute aromatherapy massage costs about RMB688.

Location: 2F, Tower E, Beijing Hotel, No.33 Dongchangan Jie, Dongcheng
In Chinese: 北京市朝阳区东长安街33号北京饭店E座2层
Tel: 010-65135812

The Community at the foot of the Great Wall: go for the landscape
Chinese: "北京长城脚下的公社"俱乐部

The Great Wall Community is located inside the valley right at the foot of the Great Wall. It boasts 42 independent and unique designed villas of 236 guestrooms. Each has a good view of the old Great Wall and has a private path leading to the Great Wall.

The community is known for the Mandara massage method. Mandara is the biggest spa brand in the Asia Pacific region and it advocates that the massage speed should be in accordance with the client's breathing. Mandara's signature massage method integrates an essential oil massage from Bali Island, finger pressing from Japan and other skills from Hawaii, Sweden and Thailand. The 50-minute massage is given by two masseuses at once. The complexity of Mandara massage relaxes the body, instead of making it tense. A 90-minute massage costs RMB 880. There are also set services lasting from one hour to four hours, with prices ranging from RMB 1000 to RMB 4000.

How to get there: Take the Badaling Highway and take the Shuiguan Great Wall Exit. The drive takes about 50 minutes from downtown Beijing.

The spa is about a 15-minute drive from Badaling Airport, which provides services for private helicopters and small planes only.

Chinese: 北京延庆县八达岭高速水关长城出口

Tel: 010-81181888

Green Tree Spa: for a quiet mind

Located inside the Rich and Force Club, right in the center of CBD (central business district) surrounded by the city's most prestigious office buildings, the Green Tree Spa focuses on simple Thai massage. It boasts eight suites, all of different decorative styles. Each suite has different aromatic themes, but all have a private bathroom and a sauna to ensure that clients can enjoy the whole spa in one room. Services offered by Green Tree Spa include a whole body spa, partial massage and facial treatment. With equipment imported from Italy, Green Tree Spa also offers weight loss and body-building services.

Location: B1/F, Rich and Force Club Spa Center, No.59 Dongsanhuan Zhonglu, Chaoyang

北京朝阳区东三环中路59号, 建外大街/国贸,富力会康体俱乐部。

Tel: 010-58623139/58622277

Alexander City Club-CBD Branch: for the soothing sauna

Located inside the busy business area, the Alexander City Club CBD branch creates a beautiful blue Mediterranean world with healthy drinks and warm afternoon sunshine. It's fitness center including various sports facilities for tennis, squash and swimming and various spas that give clients a chance to rest after sports.

Alexander City Club CBD Branch is a members-only club. It issues two kinds of cards, the RMB 599 annual card for ordinary spas and the RMB 13,000 annual card that offers members professional spa treatment including dry sauna, wet sauna and Taiwan flower tea. Those buying cards before Spring Festival may get a discount off the original price.

Location: No. 6 Chaowai Avenue, Chaoyang Dist

Tel: 010-65970088

Spa Tips

Smoking and alcohol are not allowed in spas. Drinking alcohol before a spa is also not allowed due to health considerations. Those suffering from heart diseases, asthma, high blood pressure as well as pregnant women should not do spas.

For those having their first spa, or those not feeling well, the spa time should be shortened by 10 or 15 minutes.

After the spa, don't forget to spend 20 or 30 minutes in the designated restrooms before getting ready to leave.

China Daily January 12, 2007

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