Massages in Hanoi range from the very cheap and cheerful $5 foot massage through to the high-end luxury spas, where you’ll pay nearly $100 for just an hour of pampering. The choice can be overwhelming but here’s a selection of places we think are worth checking out.
Our best budget massage picks — under $15 for an hour — aren’t in Hoan Kiem district, but all are accessible by bus, so you can keep yours costs down.
Our top pick is the Yakushi Centre, located down an alley off Xuan Dieu Street. It’s popular with expats for a reason: it’s clean, friendly, well priced, and the massages are fantastic. The hot stone and acupressure with oil are two favourites and if you have time and want to float rather than walk out, try package one, which combines a facial with a massage. A one-hour massage costs 240,000 VND. Book well in advance, especially for evenings and weekends. They are responsive to emails if you don’t have a phone to hand.
A different experience can be had at Huong Sen, which has five branches in town, all offering the same service. First you strip and jump in a shower, hot tub, sauna and Jacuzzi, then you get a firm but well-executed massage. The session finishes with a bowl of chao (rice porridge). It’s not so much relaxing as therapeutic, but don’t go if you’re the modest type. Prices start at 250,000 VND for 1 hour 45 minutes, including refreshments.
Two other budget places we recommend employ blind and partially sighted masseuses: Ms Dzung’s and Omamori Spa. Check them out!
If you’re looking for slightly fancier surroundings — your own room, for example — then expect to pay 400,000 VND and up. The massage won’t necessarily be any better but the experience may be more to your liking and the menu will be more extensive.
The entrance and waiting area of SF Spa on Cua Dong is softly lit and welcoming. The treatments are conducted in spacious, private rooms by well-trained staff and it’s clean and secure, with private lockers for belongings. A second location is on Cau Go Lane, just north of the lake. Look out for leaflets around town as they sometimes include a special offer.
Hidden Hanoi has been offering quality tours and cooking classes from its centre off Nghi Tam for many years and the spa takes further advantage of its beautiful setting. Treatments are conducted in a wooden-roofed long room that is divided by curtains. Hidden Hanoi also does mani-pedis, so you can come out both looking and feeling good.
La Siesta has two branches inside hotels in Old Quarter, at the Hanoi Elegance Hotel and La Siesta Hotel. We’ve yet to visit, but hear excellent things about the massage and the staff. It’s a bit pricier than our other two mid-price options but still comes in at under a million VND for an hour.
Those looking for the ultimate experience should look no further than La Spa du Metropole at the Metropole Legend Hotel. This beautiful spa boasts marvellously considered details, such as huge, elegant treatment rooms, fluffy robes and your choice of music. Prices start at around $75.
For a more reflective experience, try Zen Spa in West Lake district. You’ll struggle to find a simple massage on their menu; instead, you’ll have to opt for a “Body Therapy”, combining what is essentially a massage with “Himalaya Salt and Negative Ion Therapy”. That comes in at 1.5 million VND, but trust us, you’ll be tempted to go even further and upgrade to one of their packages, such as the 2.5-hour Lotus, or The Moment of Zen Escape, which includes more than five hours of pampering.
68 An Duong, Tay Ho district
T: (04) 3717 1999
La Siesta 2
3rd floor Hanoi La Siesta Hotel & Spa
94 Ma May St, Hoan Kiem
T: (04) 3926 3642
La Spa du Metropole
Metropole Legend Hotel, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem
T: (04) 3826 6919, ext. 8500
209 Alley 45/173 An Duong Vuong, Tay Ho district
T: (04) 3719 9889
By Sarah Turner
Last updated on 19th May, 2015.