Vietnam’s highest profile home-grown luxury spa brand, L’Apothiquaire, runs three wonderful Day Spas in Vietnam’s largest and most buzzing city, Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon as it is also called). L’Apothiquaire brands itself as a “French Day Spa” with French “herbalists”. On 100 Mac thi Buoi in Saigon’s District 1, the Spa is within easy walking distance from most of the city’s best hotels, including the Park Hyatt, the Sheraton, Renaissance and Caravelle Hotel. It’s slightly further from the new InterContinental Asiana – but a 5-7 minute cab ride should get you there. Would this spa be a suitably Vietnamese experience? We tried it out…
Unlike the brand’s flagship spa, “La Maison de L’Apothiquare” in the city’s District 3, this downtown spa is much smaller and seems slightly restricted by the lack of space. For instance, there is no dedicated relaxation or waiting area (or at least, what there is feels cramped and not particularly luxurious). The treatment room was very large, with several treatment beds. I was the only one to be treated so it was very private. Along the wall were lots of products and potions (including L’Apothiquaire’s own) and the smell, lighting and music were all soothing and relaxing.
The two staff – one male and one female, were absolutely lovely; I was poured several cups of tea, while waiting, listening to soothing music, while wonderful scents wafted through the air.
RASK had the “Soin Transparence” – a 90-minute non-aggressive face treatment aimed at unclogging pores. The therapist was incredibly gentle and thorough; starting off by wiping my face with soft cloths, she then proceeded to lather my face with a delightful smelling concoction. Once this had been washed off, the treatment continued with steam and three (!) masks, one of them a peel off mask, – and then the best “extractions” RASK has ever experienced. This can be quite a painful treatment, but the therapist showed amazing skill at both carrying out the extractions and relaxing me; with each “pinch” she placed a calming hand on my chest so as to comfort me from the pain. A cooling mask and a beautiful neck and upper back massage followed this – just wonderful. The treatment came to a soothing end, I was poured a glass of water, and left in the room with the music turned slightly up, allowing me to take my time to get dressed.
A fantastic treatment, in lovely surroundings, by a very capable therapist. While Vietnam, along with many places in South East Asia, has some real bargains when it comes to massages and other treatments, actually getting the treatment you need and want can be difficult. At L’Apothiquaire, I felt very welcome, comfortable and cared for; and the facial treatment really worked. However for a more refined and relaxing environment, RASK recommends choosing the brand’s District 3 Flagship Spa.