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Kathmandu, Nepal’s fast-paced and chaotic capital city, has several lovely spas to escape to. Follow Culture Trip’s guide to the best ones in the area.
From trekkers’ massages to European-style saunas, inner-city parlours for a quick pick-me-up to full retreats on the outskirts of the city, Kathmandu offers a full range of spa experiences. The treatments are especially affordable for those visiting from abroad. After trekking in the Himalayas and spotting rhinos in the jungle, give your body a break at one of these great spots.
Amantran Spa & Salon in the upmarket neighbourhood of Baluwatar, central Kathmandu, is a ladies-only spa, so women can feel truly comfortable and relaxed here. They offer full spa and salon services, including hair cutting, makeup and bridal packages, massages, facials and more. They even offer hair cutting services for kids and a ‘new mother’ package. Their pedicures come highly recommended.
The Shivapuri Heights Cottages are a homely retreat on the northern edge of the Kathmandu Valley. The on-site spa has a low-key outdoor area with lovely views of the gardens and the nearby hills of the Shivapuri National Park. The menu is fairly straightforward, with a couple of different kinds of massages offered, as well as yoga packages and even a barber-and-shave package for men. Both guests of the cottages and day visitors are welcome at the spa, though bookings must be made in advance. Those who aren’t staying overnight can make a worthwhile day trip out here, as the cottages make delicious home-cooked food and there are walking trails and the interesting Budanilkantha Temple nearby.
The Gokarna Forest Resort is a sprawling property surrounded by a golf course and forest that used to belong to the royal family. It’s less than half an hour’s drive from central Kathmandu and makes for a perfect weekend countryside retreat for both visitors to and residents of Kathmandu. The lovely swimming pool and spa is one of its most attractive features. While it’s difficult to get away from the hustle and noise in Kathmandu city – even in a spa treatment room – the Harmony Spa at the Gokarna Forest Resort offers truly peaceful massages and facials among other therapies.
Located in a large home in Bakhundole, a residential area of Patan near the UN building and a few embassies, the Chaitanya Medi Spa offers an excellent variety of services and combination packages at great prices. Though the treatment rooms look a bit worn out, the quality of the treatments compensates for this. Their packages, happy hours and frequent visitor discounts make this a great spa for residents or long-stay visitors. They offer everything from Ayurvedic massages to waxing, bridal packages (including henna) to hair cutting. The Chaitanya Medi Spa is also one of the few places in Kathmandu to offer pregnancy massages with appropriately trained staff.
Spa Samsara is conveniently located between the Thamel and Durbar Marg neighbourhoods. They offer a range of massages, facials and mani-pedis, but perhaps their main drawcard is the relaxing sauna that’s heated naturally with hot stones and a wood fire. They also offer spa training courses with their highly experienced director, Sabita Maharjan.
Kinjjala Spa was opened by experienced healing professionals over 15 years ago and their aim is to promote the healing of body, mind and spirit through their massages, facials, scrubs and mani-pedis. Hair removal services are also offered at the centre. Their flagship location in Jhamsikhel is their most luxurious spa and has a cafe and a large sauna that fits up to 10 people. Kinjjala Spa now has several other branches throughout Nepal, including three boutique hotels in Thamel (the Dalai-la Boutique Hotel, the Citron Garden Plaza and Hotel Moonlight) and inside the upmarket Temple Tree Resort & Spa in Pokhara. The Jhamsikhel outlet, in particular, has a legion of loyal followers among locals.