Top 5 spas and massages in Phnom Penh
Australian designer Roxane Horton regularly travels for work to Cambodia's capital and has fallen in love with the wonderful spa and massages available. She names her top five.
- August 2018
Cambodia is famous for its World Heritage-listed temples, stunning scenery, and its delicate and delicious food. Less well known are the opportunities to indulge in relaxing and invigorating spa treatments. Australian designer Roxane Horton regularly travels to Cambodia to source hand-loomed silk for her label Alexandria Main. From Seeing Hands massages (conducted by blind masseurs) to rosebud and jasmine scrubs, Roxanne recommends five Phnom Penh spas to try.
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Sofitel So Spa
Treatment: So Rejuvenating facial (60 minutes)
Price: USD $60 (plus 17% VAT and service charge)
Address: Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeetra, 26 Old August Site
The So Spa at the five-star Sofitel Hotel is a luxurious, zen space featuring moody timbers and calming relaxation music. You’ll be greeted with chilled ginger tea and an iced face cloth before being led to a large pink and white treatment suite. The spa menu is divided into starters, mains and desserts, and includes rejuvenating facials and relaxing massages using French products.
Tip: Perfect for travellers who love a hotel spa experience and don’t mind paying Western prices.
SEEING HANDS MASSAGE
Treatment: Body massage
Address: 12, 13 Preah Ang Eng Street
Seeing Hands employs blind masseurs, giving them the opportunity to make an independent living, and now has outlets throughout Cambodia. The Phnom Penh spa room is basic – a communal, unisex space with six beds. A sighted receptionist takes you to change into blue tunic and pants resembling medical scrubs. After you’ve changed, your masseur deftly places clean towels over the bed, takes your arm and quietly asks you to lie face down. Signs on the wall request silence, broken only by the talking clocks that alert the masseurs to the time. There’s no sugar-coating it; the massages can be vigorous, but if you’re on a budget or believe in “no pain, no gain”, you’ll love it.
Tip: Avoid drinking water before you go, as you might be uncomfortable during the full-body massage. Stick with a foot massage if you’re faint-hearted.
Treatment: Anti-ageing and firming facial (55 minutes)
Price: USD$34 (plus USD$5 tip)
Address: Corner Sothearos Boulevard and Street 178
Hidden up a flight of stairs away from the main tourist areas, Bodia Spa is a beautifully designed, organic space with curved, slatted walls, contemporary Asian furniture and hardwood floors. In the cocoon-like treatment rooms, gentle hands apply soft, sweet-smelling concoctions made from avocado, egg white and lemon juice to your face. While the anti-ageing and firming facial is working its magic, your beautician will massage your hands and feet. You may never want to leave.
Tip: Bodia offers complimentary tuk tuk pick-up from any hotel in Phnom Penh.
Treatment: Traditional Lulur Scrub (45 minutes) and Bliss Aroma massage
(60 or 90 minutes)
Price: USD$26 (plus USD$4 tip)
Address: 29, Street 240, Phnom Penh
Walk past the racks of cotton dresses, pants and tops in the Bliss boutique until you reach an urn brimming with lotus flowers. The spa menu includes a full range of beauty and spa treatments but you can’t go past the traditional Lulur body scrub made from crushed rose buds and fresh jasmine flowers blended with turmeric powder and rice to smooth and nurture your skin. It is followed with a soothing lavender oil massage for total relaxation and rejuvenation. Bliss by name and bliss by nature.
Tip: Take extra cash to treat yourself to something from the Bliss Boutique on the way out.
Phnom Penh Airport Plaza Premium Lounge Wellness Spa
Treatment: Foot Massage
Price: USD $20 (plus USD $2 tip)
Address: Phnom Penh International Airport
There’s nothing sweeter than an encore. After you have passed through airport security look for the signs pointing to the massage rooms inside the Plaza Premium Lounge Wellness Spa. Hop into that chair and let your feet feel the love for half an hour before your flight. It’s the perfect way to get ready for your journey home.
Tip: Access to the lounge is available to anyone for a fee of USD$35 (two-hour limit, not including massage). Business class travellers and members of reciprocal airport lounges receive complimentary access.