Reviewed But Not Recommended -

The Banyan Tree, Shanghai

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The Banyan Tree, Shanghai

Okay I won’t deny it, I was super excited to go to The Banyan Tree day spa.  One of the places I really wished we could have stayed in China was The Banyan Tree in Hangzhou, but it was a little out of our price range and our way.  But Mandy had stayed in another one of their hotels and raved about it.

I was also excited about the treatment I’d chosen - a 2 hour intensive care foot treatment, including a moisturising foot massage, then a treatment with scented sweet vanilla paraffin infused with cocoa bean and soybean extracts, and a head and shoulder massage.  For a pedicure devotee... well I’m excited even now reading about it.

I arrived early, went to their reception, which is located outside the spa (a bit like a temporary conference desk), where I paid for my treatment, and was then led through the amazing circular doors, along a corridor with pebbles and decor reflecting the elements... to the salon area, which was exactly like a small hairdressers.  Yes, this was the big disappointment.  Although my therapist was lovely and very sweet, and you haven’t lived if you haven’t had your legs painted with hot cocoa and vanilla wax and then had them wrapped in cling film and tied with a carrier bag, I also felt that this wasn’t the 5 star experience I had been expecting.

It didn’t help when one of her colleagues came in to drop off some towels and have a chat about whatever was going on in her life.  I was just glad that the other salon chair and the hairdressing part of the salon were empty, so at least most of the time I was relaxing.

For RMB470 (plus service charge) - £47 it was a pretty good deal I suppose, but I don’t think my feet really looked like they had had a 5 star pedicure either.

I was also distracted by the big clock in front of me as I counted away the treatment and started to worry that she wasn’t going to have time to paint my nails.

I think the salon should get extra points for a great fruit plate and refreshments (essential for a 2 hour treatment) including yoghurt and lemongrass tea but I wouldn’t go back again!  At least not for a pedicure.

I tried a whole lot of spas in Shanghai and overall my spa recommendation is Dragonfly - great treatment for little more than half the price of The Banyan Tree - but check out the story of my trip for more of my spa adventures in Shanghai.

Don’t get me wrong, some of these are excellent, but I couldn’t, in good conscience give them a Pearl Recommendation.  Sometimes they were just beaten to the punch, or I couldn’t decide a clear winner, other times they had a lot right, but I felt they just weren’t there.  I don’t really want to give bad reviews, but anything I felt was really best avoided you’ll find in the Jellyfish section.

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