In the recent years, Spa and Massage services has been increasingly operated and many more are developed in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Sihanouk Ville.
Getting a lovely massage, facial, body treatment or pedicure is a quintessential part of the Cambodia relaxation experience. Even the expensive ones are affordable by Western standards and, on average, their services tend to be reasonably well executed. So, in the purest interests of research, we took it upon ourselves to visit as many as we could, and here’s our run-down on the best places for a rub-down in Phnom Penh.
Blends intricate local rituals with effortless Angkorian grace and offers a serene retreat for mind, body and soul. A small spa specializing on local traditional massage methodology using local herbs minerals, water feature, heat and a wide selection of ancient health treatments and state-of-the-art equipment offer a total spa indulgence for guests who seek the finest and authentic experience and wellness.
A firm favourite among expatriates, thanks to the beautiful, restful elegance of the setting, the supreme professionalism of the staff and the high quality of their products, Bliss is pricier than other spas, but there is not one occasion where we have not felt that this is entirely worth it. They offer a full range of spa services, with facials at $45 to $50, pedicures and manicures for $8, waxing from $6 to $32, scrubs and wraps for $24 and $28 respectively and massages starting at $22. They also offer eyelash and eyebrow tinting — not often offered in Phnom Penh — and were thus able to rescue us from an unbelievably bad experience at another location in town, thanks to the calm actions of their staff who have a genuine understanding of their products and the needs of their clients. Their waxing services are generally rated as second to none in town. They use peel off wax, which seems to be more effective and much kinder to skin. Open 09:00 to 21:00. Booking recommended. Highly recommended.
Not quite as pricey as Bliss, or as romantic, but Aura Spa is a lovely spot, with high standards for setting and service and attention to luxurious details. Aura Spa has two sites, but we only visited the Street 294 property, which was on the recommendation of a friend who swears, swears, by the Khmer massage for smoothing out the kinks in her highly strung body. We went for something a little less dynamic, and the one-hour head and shoulder massage was expertly carried out in a comfortable air-con room. The masseuse took great care to ensure that oil did not transfer to our hair, something that doesn’t happen nearly often enough in other venues — after all, who wants to go home just to wash their hair in the middle of the day. They offer a wide range of pressure, oil, aroma, hot oil and hot stone massages lasting for 60, 90 or 120 minutes with prices ranging from $16 to $52. They also offer body, nail and facial treatments, including wraps ($24), scrubs from $8 to $20, facials from $25 to $58, and nail treatments for $6 for a basic to $15 for a renewal treatment. Waxing is also available with, for example, a basic bikini at $12 and a Brazilian at $25. As with Bliss, they also offer eyelash and eyebrow tinting services. They also have some nice packages starting at $35 for two hours and a floral bath, scrub and massage. Open daily, 09:00 to 23:00.
Pristine Samata doesn’t market itself as a spa, but as a health and wellness studio, and there’s plenty of reason why. They offer a smaller range of relaxation and beauty services, including massage, scrubs (with Vichy shower) and waxing, but also offer a few things you won’t find in any spa in Cambodia, such as physiotherapy, acupuncture, osteopathy, podiatry, therapeutic yoga, Pilates, reiki and wellness coaching. The founder has also created a line of aromatherapy products, using premium natural oils and scents, sourced from all over the world. Prices start at $26 for a one-hour aromatherapy massage, or you could go for a quick half-hour back and shoulder massage for just $15. A body scrub with Vichy shower (five shower heads positioned over the massage table) costs $30. Waxing starts at $8, with a bikini at $20. Open daily 09:00 to 22:00.
Hair and massage in one easy spot.
In the heart of BKK1, long-running Champei has a firm following among expats and locals, thanks to a their direct, no-nonsense approach and consistent standards. The spa is spotless, and while not as luxurious as others, it still offers reasonably high service standards and a wide range of options at very good prices. We’re big fans of their $12 one-hour back and shoulder massage, but if you want to splurge a little more, then you could spring for a Japanese massage, starting at $20 all the way up to $100 for a two-hour package with their chief therapist. Champei also offers scrubs, starting at $35, baths, and are one of the few places in town with a steam room. Integrated within the spa, you’ll also find New Jack Holt, a full-service hairdresser, which happens to employ, Mr Win, one of the most quietly talented hairdressers we’ve ever met, anywhere. He has a gift for knowing what’s going to work for you that is extraordinary. A cut and blow dry starts at $9 for men and $14 for women. Open daily, 09:00 to 00:00.
Soothe body and soul with a trip to the Daughters Hand & Feet Spa to support an initiative that works with girls and young women who have escaped lives as sex workers in the capital city. Daughters of Cambodia offers safety, dignity and support through healthcare, childcare and vocational training. As a result, they say that 98% of the women and girls that they work with never return to the sex industry. In recognition of the needs of the practitioners, Daughters Spa only offers services to women in a small, very sweetly decorated room at the back of their shop on Street 178. Prices on the short menu range from $5 for a 15-minute head and face massage to $16 for a one-hour head to toe massage. Manicures and pedicures cost $7, and you can jazz up your nails with nail art designs for $9. For a special treat, try the soothing foot spa, with a foot bath, scrub, mask, massage, manicure and polish for just $14. Open daily, from 09:00 to 17:30.
At a prime riverside location behind the FCC, Bodia Spa offers a consistently high quality and comfortable service in town in the mid-upper price range. The setting is built around warm colours, clean lines, and natural fibres and materials that create a sense of being secured away from the grimy streets outside. Massage prices start at $24 for a one-hour reflexology foot massage, while a one-hour head, back and shoulder massage will cost $28. An indulgent 90-minute four-hands massage will cost $58. They also offer a range of scrubs and wraps for $32, and facials start at $30, and for some you can choose to use Caudalie products from France, which are completely natural and enjoy a huge reputation there. They also offer waxing services, with a bikini at $15, Brazilian for $25, and are one of the few to advertise waxing for men. Their packages are good value. For example, the three-hour relaxation package includes a foot bath, massage, body scrub, facial and all over body hydration, for just $65. Open daily, 09:00 to 22:00.
U & Me Spa
A long-running spa in the mid-price range, U & Me offer a reasonably consistent service in well-cared for settings that are straightforward if not luxurious. They offer a wide range of massages, starting at $10 for a 30-minute neck, back and shoulder massage, up to, $35 for a indulgent two-hour aromatherapy massage. A one-hour traditional Khmer massage is just $10, while hot stone therapy is available starting at $25 for a one-hour neck, back and shoulder treatment. Facials are available for as little as $20 for a 45-minute cleansing and natural mask, while a body scrub will be $30 with a range of scrubs and scents to choose from. They offer a full range of waxing services, for women and men, with a bikini wax costing $13, and a Brazilian $18. Open daily, 09:00 to 22:00.
We’re told they offer some of the best manicures and pedicures in town, and our experience gave us no cause to doubt that proposition, and their signature manicure or pedicure are very reasonably priced at $8 and $10 respectively, given the amount of time that is devoted to getting them just so. You can go for acrylic or gel nails starting at $20 a set of gel nails, or get your nail art on for $1 to $5 depending on complexity. They also offer waxing, facials starting at $25, hairdressing and massage, with for example a one-hour Swedish massage for $18. Set in a dedicated space just above Deco restaurant, it kind of invokes a 1950s feel with a row of comfy seats arranged over their own basins. We did find the service to be rather languid. On our second visit, even though we had reserved a lunchtime pedicure (and thus presumably had jobs and schedules to return to), it took the staff a wildly irritating 15 minutes to unwind themselves from their comfy chairs and chats, organise their equipment (which should have been ready since they knew we were coming), and finally settle down. Open Monday to Saturday, 09:00 to 19:00 and Sunday, 09:00 to 18:00.
Bliss Spa: #29, Street 240; T: (023) 215 754; [email protected]; www.blissspacambodia.com.
Aura Spa: www.auracambodia.com; [email protected]
#23, Street 294; T: (011) 816 555.
#21 Mao Tse Tung Blvd; T: (023) 555 3209.
Samata: #54, Street 306; T: (023) 726 267; [email protected]; www.amata-aroma.com.
Champei, #38, Street 57; T: (023) 222 846; [email protected]; www.champeispa.net.
Champei: #7, Street 334; T: (023) 217 774.
Daughters: #65E0, Street 178; T: (077) 756 678; www.daughtersofcambodia.org.
Bodia Spa: #10, Street 178. T: (023) 226 199; [email protected]; www.bodia-spa.com
U & Me Spa: [email protected]; www.unme-spa.com
#183 Sisowath Quay; T: (023) 986 821.
#299 Sisowath Quay; T: (023) 986 822
#18, Street 306; T: (023) 987 006
#216B, Street 63; T: (023) 997 576
Cha Nails: #46, Street 352 (corner of Street 57); T: (023) 987 789; [email protected]; www.chanails4u.com