Tuesday, March 04, 2008
I got stoned last night at the Hilton...
Yeah, that's right. The Romanian and I got hot stone massages at the spa at the Hilton last night. What did you think I meant?
I have had hot stone massages at several places around Kuwait before, so I wanted to try the Hilton because they have that gorgeous thalassotherapy pool (basically, a big pool with a bunch of Jaccuzi sprays and several water spouts that do different things). They also have a hot tub (with no Jaccuzi sprays, unfortunately), a rain-forest shower (with different lights and sounds of the rain forest, and a sauna and steam room (the only problem there was that they were full of icky men). You can use the spa area for 5kd per day which is good.
I had taken the tour several years ago and didn't remember that their pool is mixed-gender. Now, you would think that because I am open-minded about most stuff that mixed-gender wouldn't bother me, but it does. I don't like it. It is one thing to be on a hunting mission; it is another to unwind and get a massage. I dunno, but the guys who were there last night were the leery/hairy/pudgy/balding types that looked like they should be at a peep show rather than a 5-star. I don't believe I've ever seen such a large congregation of hairy-backed men in one place. Unfortunately, the spa's women-only hours are when most working women actually WORK (9am - 1 pm, Sun-Thurs).
I also didn't like that the treatment/massage rooms are right off the pool. It created several problems: Dudes peering at you from the pool every time the door opened; chlorine smell in the massage room; and loud voices/shouting from the pool. The table seemed to be a "mini" size also. I don't think that my head is THAT big, but both of us complained that the face hole in the bed was too small and that our arms were falling off the table.
The massage was fantastic. The Romanian (previously a hot-stone virgin) both blessed me and cursed me (she's addicted now and the average price in Kuwait is 25-30 kd for a hot stone massage - still better than the $265 per hour I was paying in the US).
I offered to take Bunny there in 2003, when he came back from Iraq where he had been with the British troops as an interpreter. I wanted to do something nice for him because he had been sleeping on cots. He didn't want to go. Oh well. He had his chance. I made him the same offer now. I think he thinks that all the masseuse guys are gay. Sheeeeeeet - he is in the military and he cares about gays? LOL! Ever look around in a shower? ok.....
I think I am going back to Oriental Princess for another hot stone massage. For 30 kd, you get a 90 minute massage and a facial. Their room is gorgeous - and how it should be: clean, nice-smelling, dimly lit, and the massage table is amazing (big bed, big face hole, and you are peering down to a bowl of water filled with flowers and a scented candle; an excellent touch). It is also women-only. No pool, but a nice shower. Someone obviously took great care in the interior design. For an inexpensive salon, Oriental Princess is decorated very well.
I had another good experience at La Fem in Salmiya. The first try was a disaster, but then I complained and they gave me another booking. 2 hours of hot stone massage - and I mean - that girl massaged all over (not the private part, but everywhere else which might seem weird, but it isn't really). It was a great massage. I think I payed 25 kd there. The atmosphere is bad, however. It is a cheap place with a cheap massage room and cheap music (which I fixed by giving them copies of all my good spa music CDs).
I had a horrible experience at The Palms for a hot stone massage, but that was years ago and since the management didn't take any steps to rectify how unhappy I was, I made a promise never to go back there. At that time, they had no GM and no duty manager who I could speak to. I complained to the spa manager and then in writing to "whoever was in charge" by fax, but no one ever even acknowledged it. The treatment room I was in faced the pool with just slat-blinds over the windows; meaning as you are neked on the table, people are walking by you outside trying to peer in. The room was cold; the girl's hands were cold; the table was cold; the massage oil was cold; even the damn stones (which were supposed to be hot) were cold. Phuck that. Never again. It takes months/years to develop a customer relationship, it takes minutes to ruin it. Very bad customer service at The Palms.
I want to try the Movenpick at Bidaa next. Their spa wasn't open the last time I went there several months ago, but it looks interesting. I'll let you know. Has anyone else been there?
I'm going to buy my own kit online (they range from $80 to $400, but there really isn't much difference to the stones as long as they are "basalt" which should be lava rocks that retain heat. If you want to "make your own" kit, check here). The Romanian wants to learn how to do it also (but she's so lazy that I doubt she'll actually do it for anyone). A lot of the kits also have instructional CD's. I used to do hot stone massages for The Man (OMG - he was so lucky) and he loved it. If you have anyone in your family with bad muscle aches, it really helps.