The Japanese do it, Nordic people and Hungarians do it, says Broadsheet, "but in Australia we’ve been a little slower to catch on to the idea of warm bathing for the pleasure of it." For anyone who wants to enjoy the deep pleasure of a day spa, Melbourne has several offerings.
Jump into a Japanese warm bath. At the secluded CBD bathhouse Onsen Ma, writes Broadsheet, "things are done the trad way; you strip off, scrub down, then ease your stark-naked self in a big pool of hot, hot water (38 to 40 degrees) until you start to feel normal – after which, you’ll start to feel very good and supremely relaxed."
More Japanese warmth. Sakura Lounge offers "Japanese style massage, foot treatments and facials rolled out one after the other until you're in touch with your inner zen," reports Concrete Playground. Ofuroya in Collingwood is another traditional Japanese bathhouse on the Concrete Playground list - "take a soak in the public onsen … indulge in a traditional shiatsu massage … hang around to dry afterwards on the tatami mats with a cup of green tea." And "hidden out in Ringwood," Natskin is "one of Melbourne's best kept secrets" that provides "your standard anti-stress massage to more advanced treatments like the hydradvance or the medi peel, customised to suit sensitive skin."
If spas were people, opines Elizabeth Abbott in Australian Traveller, Aurora at St Kilda’s Prince Hotel would be "that friend who always looks chic and collected, with her hair effortlessly perfect." The all-day Pure Spa Escape, she says, "is an indulgence not to be missed … a steam room treatment, massage, caviar facial and a manicure or pedicure, the Bliss retreat provides the perfect little escape from reality."
With views of St Kilda beach and its palm trees, the filtered seawater spa at St Kilda Sea Baths offers a 37˚ hydro spa and spacious steam room, reports Concrete Playground, where "a dreary winter’s afternoon is well spent ... you can almost (and sometimes literally) feel the sand beneath your feet and it won’t break the bank."
When you can’t quite justify a five-star hotel stay, but still want to enjoy its high-end spa, Chuan at The Langham wins, says Broadsheet. "The spa's 'tri-bathing ritual' is all about warming up, calming down and zoning out, and it makes a great entrée to the range of deluxe Eastern-inspired treatments on offer," starting with the salt-water Jacuzzi, then the steam room, the sauna, "and finish with an invigorating ‘river stone snail shower’, where a series of 12 high-pressure water jets give your muscles a polite pummelling."