By Charlotte Hope, Lifestyle Editor @TLE_Lifestyle
I went to South East Asia when I was eighteen, on a trailblazing gap year through Thailand, Australia and Singapore, a route no youth enjoying a year out before university had ever taken before. Something I rarely tell people when I extol the virtues of finding myself in Thailand was that I actually never indulged in a Thai massage – the look of complete horror on the few people who I’ve shared this with, I have found, isn’t worth it at all.
In an attempt to finally remedy this, many moons after my visit to Thailand, I found myself making my way through the busy streets around Covent Garden to Thai Square Spa for a Mother of Pearl body scrub. Whilst this wasn’t the traditional massage it certainly felt like a traditional setting. The moment you enter the doors the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden seems miles away. I checked in and was taken downstairs where I swapped my tragic commuter trainers for a pair of flip flops.
I was led through to change into a dressing gown and some paper underwear. Once I’d done this, I was shown to a seating area and brought some sweet tea. I then waited a while, sipping my tea and enjoying the soft music, as a few people came out of their treatment rooms and sat in their post massage haze whilst tea was brought to them. I was impressed at how busy the spa was for a Wednesday evening and enjoyed the satisfied, relaxed atmosphere that the clients gave the spa.
My therapist, Ning, came to get me and showed me to our treatment room. She began by washing my feet in lukewarm water with soap. My travels taught me that the Thai consider the feet to be the dirtiest part of the body, so this made sense to me. I lay on the bed and Ning moistened my body before rubbing the small mother of pearl pieces into my skin, exfoliating my whole body. I found the experience very pleasant for the most part, hindered only by my being quite ticklish. At one point, I almost kicked the poor girl in the stomach (don’t worry, I held myself back) and, when having my underarms scrubbed, I laughed out loud. Nothing kills the mood quite like inappropriate laughter.
After i’d had the scrub applied to both front and back, I was taken through to the shower. I washed off the scrub and donned the new dressing gown that had been left for me. After settling back on the massage table, I was then treated to having my full body moisturised – by far the most luxurious feeling I’ve ever experienced. I came out of Thai Square feeling relaxed, with skin softer than any of Jim Thompson’s products. It may not have been a traditional massage on the beach, but it was certainly close.
For more information visit www.thaisquarespa.com