The top-less-chiefs with their extra-cool sunglasses are dancing while they are turning the meat and veggies on the barbecue and the girls that are presenting the mantou-dishes start doing the same. Techno music is filling the room. Vera and I have to yell at each other to make us understood. We are not having a dinner-party but a party-dinner.
Wait – didn’t I start talking about sauna and spa? A place where you relax in a quiet atmosphere? Words are merely whispered? And IF, very big if!, there is any sort of music it would be a syrinx, quietly in the background, hardly touching our consciousness, just intensifying our impression of being at a special, peaceful and relaxing place?
Most of this place is like that. But not the buffet at dinner time. And again – wait. Buffet? Sauna? Are you sure? Yes, I am.
Food in form of a buffet is an essential part of the 24-hours-spas. It’s included in a price where in my hometown I could maybe afford a three-hours-stay for.
Oh and then there is always the point of bringing towels. Shampoo. Bathing suit. Slippers. And. And. And. A big duffel bag full of essential items. Plus, maybe a book to read. Not so in China. And of course a bottle to fill up with water to avoid having to spend a small fortune on or offer your first born for enough water to stay hydrated. Back home, there’s the logistics of the unpacking part. Wet towels that need to be dried, washed and dried again. Or washed straight away. Anyway – WORK after you just came home from relaxing!
Not so in China. After checking-in (yes, bring your passport. It’s like staying at a hotel even if it’s just a few hours during the day) you are handed towels and short-sleeved pyjamas to wear in the mixed areas. The non-cloth-areas like Sauna, bath and showers are separated by gender. Massages and body scrubs are available as well. Shampoo, soap and face-wash, even toothbrushes and toothpaste is being supplied. We make proper use of it and scrub our bodies before even dipping the first toe into the hot-bath or going near the sauna as we didn’t want to be frowned upon nor pollute the water.
We soak in the heat of the sauna – when a worried employee jerks the door open, holding up small white towels towards us. They are wet and cooled, straight out of a small fridge next to it. Hold in front of the face they are meant to make the breathing easier but we are not interested. Just trying to get her to close the door as it starts getting cold.
Wearing the p-j’s we explore the mixed area, lounge, read and nap in the arm chairs until our party-dinner starts. Food is delicious and I put some effort into not eating at the speed of music. If we want, we could stay for breakfast. Or lunch. Or even the next dinner.
Heaven, especially if you live during winter in a place where most places don’t have heating!
That said – if you are headed to China and looking forward to a place like this. I couldn’t find them everywhere but Yunnan definitely offers these. For Beijing my search was without result – the information I found online was outdated. My friend Huan even called a few places for me but to no avail. They were either not offering the overnight stay or not open anymore.