I have had a love hate relationship with spas in Vietnam. Anyone who knows me will know about my disappointment in spa treatments in my favourite country. For years, I have been telling people that the best massage I have ever had in Vietnam was not as good as the worst one I have ever had in Thailand. I am happy to report that this is no longer the case.
I attended a spa treatment at the The Grand Ho Tram Strip and it quite honestly blew me away. The facilities, the staff, the experience and the whole package is simply divine. I could have stayed there all day.
First the facilities; well, like everything else at this multi-billion dollar resort and golf course they are of the highest order. No expense has been spared building the spa, which is on the ground floor of the hotel, on the beach side. The airy reception area is well designed and welcoming. It is here that you get your consultation prior to the experience itself. The superbly trained staff will ask you plenty of questions in order to determine if you have any medical issues and also just what you are hoping to get back from your spa treatment.
Entering the Spa centre you walk past the well-equipped gym, which contains the full contingent of weights and cardiovascular machines. The gym is open free of charge, 24 hours per day, to all hotel guests. The locker rooms resemble those of a high class golf course and after showering you are shown into the steam and chill out area. The steam area contains two hot rooms. One is set to about 40ºC and uses herbs like lemongrass to scent the environment. The other is purely steam and is hotter at about 50-55ºC.
After sitting in the steam for a length of time that is comfortable for you, you can cool off in The Spa’s special sensory shower area. This is just brilliant. It is a donut shaped room and you simply walk in and press the illuminated controls as you move from station to station. The first is a soothing shower, which is warm. The second a cooling powerful surround shower. The third is the best of all; a shower that sprays ice cold mist from above, whilst bathing you in a cool blue light, making you feel as though you are standing in some weird kind of futuristic arctic rain forest. Finally there are shaved ice particles with which you can scour your skin to really open up those pores.
After a couple of times alternating between the hot and cold, there is a relaxation area that is, for anyone like me who has a back problem, simply divine. The loungers here are ergonomically shaped to put you in the perfect position for total relaxation. At the same time the loungers are heated gently. This is the perfect relaxation area; I challenge you not to nod off.
My only criticism of the entire experience is that it would be enhance by the addition of a dry sauna. This is but a personal preference, however.
After relaxing in the warmth of my lovely shaped lounger it was time for my spa treatment. I should point out here that a complete collapse and five and a half hours of surgical rebuild of five of my vertebrae four years ago has left me with several medical issues, namely a severe weakening of the lower back, quite bad weakness and pain in my legs and quite frankly a morbid fear of it happening again. I adore massages and a good one really helps. However, no matter how many times I have told therapists that they cannot press on my lower spine, they ignore me and dive in with palms, fists, elbows and even knees. I have grown so tired of being hurt in Vietnamese spas that they had become a thing of the past.
Before your massage begins, you can take advantage of a short rest in an amazing jacuzzi, set in front of large windows looking out to the ocean. This really is being pampered in luxurious surroundings. As for my fear of being hurt yet again, I need not have worried at all. My masseuse was excellent; so well trained, she asked me of my issues, listened and gave me the best 60 minute massage I have had for a very, very long time. She used strength where it was ok and just gentle pressure where it was not. At all times she double-checked that everything was ok, and she never once got it wrong. This was a real treat for me.
I cannot commend the spa treatment that I received high enough. This absolutely is a 5 star spa.