Am back from China and preparing for the May 20th Global Spa Summit which is shaping up to be quite an event. Just spoke with Susan Harmsworth (ESPA) on the phone as we are now adding her to the speaker line up in addition to Steve Case (Revolution LLC and Miraval) and Kevin Kelly (Canyon Ranch). I knew Susan’s company was global but I had no idea they were now operating in over 50 countries around the world. As I look over the stellar list of delegates I am getting excited about so many icons in the spa industry coming together in one room. Christina Ong (COMO Shambhala), Deborah Szekely (Rancho La Puerta and Golden Door), Stephen Purdew (Champney’s Health Resorts) and the list goes on. And having just returned from my trip to China where the spa industry is just beginning to bud, I can’t help but feel that the timing of this gathering seems almost perfect.
On our last morning in Shanghai before heading to the airport, Nicholas was up for one more spa experience as was I, so we decided to visit one of the large foot reflexology places which Geraldine Howard (Aromatherapy Associates) had recommended, telling us that we have to have an authentic Chinese pedicure where they”wield knives”. Oh dear. So off we went to the Tapian Spa (I think that is the English name for it). We walked up several flights of stairs to find the front desk. After pointing to the menu, trying to get across that I wanted a pedicure, Nicholas wanted foot reflexology, and that we didn’t have 90 minutes (their minimum for a foot reflexology session) because we were heading to the airport but were willing to pay for 90 minutes anyway (It was only $20). We gave up trying to convince anyone of anything and just settled in for our treatments.
The place has 100 foot reflexology chairs and about 300 clients per day. The photo you see here is of the guy who gave me a pedicure. No doubt their tools are sharp and their work precise – I felt no pain whatsoever and my callouses were gone. There was no sign of nail polish anywhere – this was about cleaning feet. Nick loved his foot reflexology and although we did stretch our time from 45 minutes to almost an hour, we would have loved to stay for the entire 90 minutes! No doubt if I lived here, or had such a place (at such a price) to visit in New York, I would take my computer and make this my post-work day retreat.
A visit to the Evian Spa at Three on the Bund was on my list of “must do’s” while I was in Shanghai. Not only did its opening several years ago cause quite a splash, but Alexa Brue reviewed it in the May/June issue of Luxury Spa Finder Magazine, giving it a mixed review which meant I wasn’t planning on dropping off any magazines during my visit.