Time Out

Escape the madness of the city and spend the day in a cocoon of pampering

The new stylist villa on 61 Xuan Thuy in District 2 may have already caught the attention of those living in the neighborhood with its standout pink façade. But peek over its pink wall and you’ll find a well-kept lawn and a water fountain centerpiece, both representing the calmness and energy flow of Moc Huong Spa. I walked passed this into the glass entrance of the villa, where I was greeted by impeccable English-speaking staff. Iced tea was brought out, along with candied ginger and lotus seeds. While I snacked, I pored over the extensive menu of treatments.

What sets Moc Huong Spa apart from others is the different international style massages they offer—Swedish, Thai, Japanese Shiatsu, Balinese and Indian Ayurvedic—there’s even a Hawaiian massage available. Depending on the style, your massage may involve oil, acupressure, breathing, dance movements, assisted stretching and/ or yoga positions. In addition, you can opt for a four-handed massage, a six-handed massage, hot stones, herbal steams, or the brand new Vichy shower. The Vichy shower is only available in Moc Huong’s Thao Dien location. To experience it, you lie on a padded table, while seven separate shower heads are positioned to massage your back.

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I had a hard time choosing between the many options so I chose the Thai, Shiatsu and Swedish combined Moc Huong Signature massage (VND500,000 for 90 minutes), which I highly recommend. Next I was given a pressure chart to fill out. One side of the chart lists body parts (head, neck, shoulders, etc.) while the other side lists pressure levels (soft, normal and strong). I was able to indicate exactly where I wanted more pressure and where I wanted less. Such communication is important in a massage, especially to avoid injuries and get the most out of your session.

The spa interior was designed for both relaxation and drama. The tall ceilings were complemented by long velvet drapes. A wall of plants and a fountain in the center of the second floor brought a touch of natural serenity indoors. I was given a VIP suite with a Jacuzzi and steam room to relax in before starting my treatment.

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The Moc Huong Signature massage began with firm pressure applied through a towel. The therapist targeted Shiatsu energy points on my back then she added oil and started Swedish gliding and kneading strokes. In a Swedish massage, the basic theory is that muscle fibers get stuck together as you repeat certain movements all day, like hunching over a laptop. The five strokes of a Swedish massage are meant to break apart these ‘knots’ of muscle fibers, releasing tension. After the Swedish segment, the therapist placed hot stones on my back, the heat helped my muscles loosen even further. Finally, she led me through a series of Thai-style twists and leg stretches before pummeling my back with the side of her hands. I felt invigorated at the end of the massage—my muscles were relaxed but my mind was wide awake.

My visit to Moc Huong was like a mini-vacation. If you want to treat yourself for a day, they offer several package deals that combine massages with facials and nail treatments. If you’re short on time, try an Express massage for 35 minutes. In addition, every month the spa offers a different promotion.

IMAGES BY NGOC TRAN

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