Where to get pampered in Barcelona – part 2
Relax by treating yourself to a day of pampering at health spas and massage centres that come highly recommended by Explorer Publishing.
The Catalan ‘work hard, play hard’ philosophy can be daunting when you first arrive, and it can be hard to find time for the recommended eight hours of sleep. For those who need a break, Barcelona offers more than enough respite in the form of massages and health spas.
Catalonia’s love affair with health spas goes back a long way. Hot springs and natural spas (aguas thermals) can be found throughout the Pyrenees Mountains, most notably in Andorra.
Try Caldea (902 932 025, www.caldea.ad), one of the largest mountain-based natural spas in Europe. The sodium-rich minerals found in the centre’s thermal waters are excellent for relaxation and rejuvenation.
In Barcelona itself, the swankiest hotels house some of the city’s most luxurious (and most expensive) health spas. Exceptions do exist though, such as Aqua Urban Spa, a centrally located independent spa. The Aqua Diagonal O2 Wellness Centre (93 330 63 66) and Poliesportiu Marítim Talassoteràpia (93 224 04 40) offer no-frills facilities including hydro-jets, plunge pools and spa circuits at accessible prices. If you want to treat someone to a thoroughly different experience, Metropolitan Spa in Richard Rogers’ state-of-the-art Hesperia Tower (93 413 50 00, www.hesperiatower.es) is the largest spa in town, offering numerous treatments and facilities.
Aqua Urban Spa
C/ Gran de Gràcia, 7
93 238 41 60
Treatments at this independent spa mix holistic trends, aromatherapy products and ancient Greek and Roman traditions. The main spa area has several different baths, hydro-jets and Jacuzzi pools, each catering to different needs, like tired legs, muscle toning, anti-cellulite treatment and psoriasis. The Vichy shower, a column with 16 jets at variable pressures and temperatures, is just one of the hydrotherapy showers that combines massage with a colour sequence. The combination of colours is designed to stimulate different parts of the body and inner emotions.
There is also a steam room, Roman sauna and Turkish bath. One spa session, usually lasting up to 90 minutes, costs EUR 51. For EUR 74.90 you get a 30-minute massage with the spa session. Chocolate and wine massages and facial treatments (‘chocolaterapia’ and ‘vinoterapia’) start from EUR 125 and always include a spa session.
Poliesportiu Marítim Talassoteràpia
Pg Marítim de la
93 224 04 40
This fresh seawater spa, part of Marítim municipal sports centre, provides the opportunity to relax body and mind without having to empty out your wallet. The swimming and spa centre overlooks Barceloneta beach and for this reason it is particularly popular with families. During the week, the centre is calm, allowing you to enjoy the hydro-jets and massage pools. On weekends, however, be aware that the centre fills with excitable children.
Weekday entry costs EUR 14, and on weekends it’s EUR 16.50. The most basic monthly membership starts at EUR 25.80; full use of the centre at all times will set you back EUR 41.10 per month.
Six Senses Spa, Hotel Arts
93 221 10 00
This superb spa on the 42nd and 43rd floors of Hotel Arts offers invigorating and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean from its slick marble spa rooms. The separate ladies and gentlemen’s areas include hot Finnish sauna and steam rooms, Jacuzzis, plunge pools and chilling ‘ice fountains’ to get the circulation pumping.
Signature treatments include hot stone therapy (EUR 190 for 80 minutes) and the Six Senses Sensory Journey four-handed massage (EUR 120 for 50 minutes). The colour therapy treatments, which last over two hours, start from EUR 325. Express facial, manicure and eye treatments (between EUR 49 and EUR 60) are tailored for those with limited time.
SpaciOmm, Hotel Omm
C/ Rosselló, 265
93 445 40 00
SpaciOmm is the newest addition to this ultra-modern hotel. Treatments are mainly eastern: Tibetan head massages, shiatsu, ayurvedic full-body massages and a host of other treatments that use natural plant-based oils and lotions.
Aside from treatments, the spa has a water circuit with a series of spa pools, Jacuzzis, plunge pools, Turkish bath and tatami cabin. SpaciOmm combines ancient traditions with modern beauty trends – why not try the Inca ritual (EUR 115), a holistic facial treatment (EUR 70) or the four-handed massage (EUR 140).
Massages and facials
Massages and facials are generally more expensive than waxing treatments. Expect to pay between EUR 50 and EUR 70 for a one-hour massage. The latest massage treatments to emerge are vinoterapia (wine therapy) and chocoterapia (chocolate therapy).
As a wine-producing region, the former is becoming increasingly popular throughout Catalonia. As for chocotherapy (they smear it on, then feed you a fresh batch afterwards), the combination of chocolate, massage and total relaxation is a fool-proof recipe for success. If you want to offer a treatment to someone special, you can book chocolate massages or wine therapy treatments through Lifestyle Barcelona.
680 210 596 |
This centre specialises in Oriental massages: ayurvedic, tantric, shiatsu, taoist and champi (upper body massage). Indian oils are used and Oriental music plays in the background. The ayurvedic massage (EUR 75) covers the whole body and lasts almost one hour; it is more suitable for general relaxation and posture correction than for serious back problems. Shiatsu (EUR 60 for 45 minutes) focuses on key pressure points and can be tailored to target specific back pains.
Reservations are made by appointment only, so call beforehand and the centre will reserve a treatment for you in either Universitat or Ciutat Vella.
LifeStyle Healing Centre
C/ Floridablanca, 133
93 423 76 77
LifeStyle Healing Centre combines natural healing therapies and healthy eating. There is a restaurant that serves a vegetarian, low-fat set lunch menu as you walk through the door. In the back are the treatment rooms where masseurs practice shiatsu, Thai (EUR 49) and ayurvedic (EUR 41.40) for one-hour massages. The centre also runs meditation classes and alternative medical treatments such as naturopathic – a combination of healthy diet, sunlight, water and massage treatments.
Masajes a 1000
93 215 85 85
Functioning on a no-booking system, Masajes a 1000 is a walk-in and wait service for professionals of both sexes with little time to dedicate to beauty treatments. It is also one of the most reasonably priced options in town for massages, hair removal treatments and facials. Don’t expect centres to be luxurious or queue-free though, especially on Saturday mornings.
Masajes a 1000 works on a ticket system: one ticket costs EUR 4.80. Massages range from five minutes in a relaxation chair (one ticket) to 90 minutes on a massage bed (12 tickets) and foot massages cost just two tickets. There are branches at Sardenya, 529, Mallorca, 233 and Travessera Les Corts, 178.
The article is reprinted with permission of Explorer Publishing from the Barcelona Complete Residents' Guide on January 2010.
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