It’s possible that ‘massage’ is the most widely understood and used English word in Vietnam – as in the past decade there has been a national explosion of shops and spas labeled in English ‘massage.’ Some of them are even clean. Here are a few classier ones for half-day or longer splurges.

Salon places in the center (easy to spot if walking much around Dong Khoi St) have staff handing out deals, like facial, foot massage, tea and manicure ($20 to $25).

This spa/retreat takes up a stark white art deco French building from the 1950s, rimmed by gardens and a swimming pool and fully furnished like a 17th-century chemist’s shop inside. It’s simply the best in town. Their handmade products – skin creams, soaps – are used in their treatments. They offer six treatments of three-and-a-half to six hours; the full day of luxury ($140) includes facial, Jacuzzi, sauna, body and foot therapy, shampoo and food. Check the website for others. Their smaller central location – called just L’Apothiquare, and also done up like a 17th-century chemist’s shop – is good for shorter treatments (an hourlong facial is $18, slimming wrap treatments $18-50, waxing $5-20).
Le Maison: tel 08-932-5181;; 64A Truong Dinh St, D3. Central Location: tel 08-822-1218; 63 Le Thanh Ton St; open 8.30-8pm daily

The two best hotel spas in town follow:

Classy seventh-floor salon/spa in the Caravelle Hotel. The two VIP rooms are dark-wood floors and overlook Dong Khoi St Spa packages are $89 to $255, a facial is $41. Staff seemed proud to be ‘most expensive in Saigon.’ They have two other locations.
Tel 08-824-7150;; 19 Lam Son Sq at Dong Khoi St

Ground-floor spa at Park Hyatt, looks over central garden and pool.
Tel 08-824-1234;; 2 Lam Son Sq, at Hai Ba Trung St

Those just wanting a FOOT MASSAGE can try multiple places such as the nicely dressed upGOLDEN LOTUS (tel 08-829-6400;20 Thi Sach St, between Le Thanh Ton & Cao Ba Quat Sts; open 10am-midnight). Ninety minutes of massage plus tea is US$13.

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