New Star is a Korean-style bathhouse and spa with several locations in Shanghai. Open 24 hours, this bathhouse offers everything from gender-segregated hot and cold pools to saunas and heated igloos. An entrance fee of around RMB100 (US$15) will get you access to everything the spa has to offer. Pools are set at varying temperatures around 40°C (104°F) and come in a variety of styles. There is also a Chinese restaurant on site, as well as a fully outfitted gym.
A mainstay in Shanghai’s Former French Concession neighborhood, Double Rainbow Massage House is a no-frills Chinese massage parlor that stays cheap without compromising quality. Though a massage at Double Rainbow does not come with a private room or complimentary beverages, the treatment from blind masseurs leaves even the most weary refreshed. Prices begin at RMB60 (US$8.50).
Zen Massage’s mission is to provide guests with an “escape from the rigor and stress of life in the city, and to restore…body, mind, and spirit.” Located in a cozy and traditional lane in the former French Concession, Zen Massage offers everything from a traditional Chinese massage (RMB178 (US$26) for 60 min.) to the popular aroma oil body massage (RMB258 (US$38) for 60 min.) The latter lets you choose from a range of essential oils, such as the fatigue-alleviating grape seed oil or the immune system-enhancing jasmine oil.
Now with locations China-wide, Dragonfly Spa got its start right on Shanghai’s Xinle Road. The spa, massage parlour, and beauty salon has attracted so many fans, in fact, that some have even tattooed the company’s signature dragonfly logo onto their skin. The original location, still arguably the best of the chain, offers five floors of relaxation, including a so-called “Love Nest” for couples. Services range from Western-style massages to traditional Chinese medicine rejuvenations, facials to waxing, manicures to eyelash extensions. Though the spa reaches the upper range of the budget-friendly spots in Shanghai, its unparalleled service makes it worth it every time.
Despite its name, Subconscious Day Spa is much more than just a day spa. Sure, they specialize in massages and body treatments, but they also offer pilates, demonstrating their commitment to your health and wellness. Those looking for a foot massage can’t go wrong with Subconscious’ range of Chinese to Swedish-style rub-downs. Others will delight in the milk bath or the Chinese Manual Therapy deep tissue massage, set at the reasonable RMB120 (US$17.50) for 30 minutes and RMB360 (US$53) for 60 minutes, respectively.
Awarded a five-star rating by the Forbes Travel Guide 2018, the Peninsula Spa at the Peninsula Hotel may very well be Shanghai’s fanciest spa. Here, a 50-minute massage (offered in a range of styles) comes at the bank-breaking RMB880 (US$129), but the high price tag isn’t for nothing. With highly trained massage technicians and only the highest quality treatment products courtesy of French luxury skincare brand Biologique Recherche, the Peninsula Spa truly offers a five-star wellness experience.
One of the few Shanghai spas to be able to compete with the Peninsula, Anantara Spa at the Puli Shanghai has mastered the art of relaxation, offering massage techniques from China, Thailand, and India. Located in the heart of the bustling Jing’an district, the Puli is a retreat, and tucked away inside is somewhere so tranquil that guests will be transported to the beaches of Thailand itself. Being a hotel spa, Anantara – like the Peninsula – doesn’t come cheap. In fact, those looking for the spa day of their dreams should be prepared to shell out over RMB1000 (US$145).