Relax Lifestyle

Affordable luxuries

Written by Raquel Dias

This article first appeared in the Nov/Dec 2016 issue of WGM.

A few moments of pampering needn’t cost you the world. WGM takes a look at some of the massage and relaxation options away from the bright lights of Macau’s big resorts.

Macau is a city well known for its massive integrated resorts that combine gaming with a wide range of luxury retail, entertainment, spas and dining. So prominent are they that it can be hard to conceive there might be other options outside of the Cotai Strip. In fact, not only is restaurant culture well embedded in the local lifestyle, but in recent years a number of spas have also started popping up around town, allowing visitors and locals a taste of pampering that doesn’t break the bank.

As a woman, a spa is a haven of tranquility to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. We want to enjoy 90 minutes of quietude, relaxing while inhaling the sweet scent of lavender, jasmine or ylang-ylang. Although you can find lavish spas in the many five-star hotels around town that will cater to your every need and more, these come at a hefty price.

Cristina Telhado Lobo was perhaps the first person to understand there was a niche in the market waiting to be taken care of. When she opened Nirvana Spa in the early 2000s, the venue was located near the old court-house, right in the heart of the city. Many years have since passed but Nirvana still marks a turning point in the city. Now located in Ocean Gardens in Taipa, this quality retreat will offer all the care and assistance for a fraction of the price.


The first thing you notice when you walk in the door is the inviting smile of the hostess. Everything feels at peace, which is befitting of the spa’s name. The décor itself is quite pleasant and its Thai-inspired surrounds will take you directly to relaxation mode. The best thing about Nirvana is that you know you are dealing with experts and everything sounds and feels authentic.

As with any other spa, Nirvana also has its signature treatments along with a list of simpler, quicker options. As grooming is also a necessity, guests are able to enjoy treatments such as waxing and manicure at reasonable prices. For example, ladies can expect a complete gel manicure for MOP$500, but also have the option of having a “refill” for MOP$300.

There is a wide selection of treatments on offer including Ayurvedic, Thai, Stone, Deep Tissue, Aromatherapy and Pregnancy massages. Other treatments include Shirodhara, Shiatsu, Bridal Pampering and Couples massage and many other pampering treatments. The spa has different massage rooms such as Yin Yan for couples, the “M” for men, China room for facials plus Bali, India and Thai, each serving the specialties. Exotic services such as eyelash curling or even make-up services are also on offer.


Whichever treatment you consider, we recommend the Ayurvedic, as it provides the perfect balance between relaxation and stimulation.

However, just in Taipa alone, there are several other options to enjoy a low cost yet high quality pampering session. In block 25 of Nova Taipa Gardens, there is Orchid Valley Spa – another great retreat from city life. Although the quality might not be on par with Nirvana’s in terms of space or facilities, this retreat makes amends with a series of well-trained and gentle masseuses that will leave guests feeling replenished. The décor itself is simple but comfortable, with a hint of Thailand as well. There is also a luxurious steam shower that will help you relax your mind and body just before the treatment.

Another service that is easy to find outside of Macau’s hotels are the many Mani and Pedi shops. You might be surprised to know that, well hidden in Taipa, you can find a nice little place where doing your nails is a whole new experience. Hollywood Nails is located in Avenida Governador Albano de Oliveira at Mei Keng Garden and embraces a wide range of services.


The first thing you will notice going in are the large, confortable manicure chairs complete with foot-tubs. The décor of the shop revolves around old glamor Hollywood and that’s exactly how you will feel being there. Services include waxing, eyelash extension, a variety of Manis and Pedis as well as relaxing reflexology services. Prices are extremely competitive with a soft-gel manicure costing MOP$300 and a relaxing reflexology session of 60 minutes setting you back MOP$180. The only disadvantage of Hollywood Nails is its relatively small space, so if you wish to try their services we recommend booking prior to showing up.


There are a number of other great options around Macau for a quick pampering session. With city life being hectic and stress pilling up, it is always beneficial to take a step back and take care of yourself. It is sometimes hard to remember that Macau has a lot more to offer than the glittering casinos and beautiful skyscrapers. However, it is often in the little corners of the city that we can find truly magical moments.