6 best Mumbai massages
1. Jiva Grande Club & Spa at the Taj Wellington Mews
JIVA is the Taj hotel group's all-Indian, all-natural, award-winning spa concept.
In Mumbai, JIVA is attached to the Taj Wellington Mews luxury residences in Colaba as a health club and spa.
The Mumbai massage you want here is the invigorating 75-minute Abhyanga Ayurvedic massage for Rs 3,860, where medicated herbal oil is liberally applied, soaked and then stroked in.
Some people find it too oily, but a steam, shower and swim in the very cool rooftop pool, should sort you out.
33 Nathalal Parekh Marg, Colaba; +91 (0)22 6656 9494; www.tajhotels.com/jivaspas
2. The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai
Because many South Mumbai ladies come in for hairstyling services by Rossano Ferretti at the salon next door, they've had the opportunity to try the spa so it's popular but overrated.
The two-story Mumbai massage spa encompasses the third and fourth floors of the Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai and is all about terms that make little difference to most people, such as "herb-infused steam rooms", "clear quartz crystals" and "ice flakes from the ice fountain."
Their most popular full-body massage is the Apoha Mizra. This treatment, exclusive to the Four Seasons, combines Western techniques with Ayurvedic healing traditions and uses camphor-infused oil and bundles of warm medicinal herbs applied to the back. For 90 minutes, Rs 5,500.
The Ojas massage is a good 60-minute deep muscle massage but at Rs 4,900 for 90 minutes is perhaps a little overpriced.
114 Dr. E. Moses Road, Worli; +91 (0)22 2481 8005; www.fourseasons.com/mumbai/spa
3. Sohum Spa and Wellness Sanctuary
Sohum won Best Day Spa at the AsiaSpa India Awards in 2009. At that time it was the best day spa in Mumbai outside a hotel, and probably still is.
Their staff are trained in their own academy, which ensures the massages at Sohum are consistent -- which is a bit of an issue with Mumbai massages, just like the food at its restaurants.
Try the 90-minute Sohum Signature Massage (Rs 3,600) which senior spa trainers have developed for the regular spa and fitness enthusiast. This bodywork integrates a oil sports massage with Thai acupressure techniques that are effective in working on undoing muscle knots and dissolving fibrous tissue.
Plot B-10, Juhu Vile Parle Sports Club, Kapol Co-operative HSL, Vaikunthlal Mehta Road, Juhu; +91 (0)22 2613 9605; sohumspas.com
4. Myrah The Spa
Spread over two floors, with brocade backdrops, crystal chandeliers, ornate gold mirrors and outdoor pools including a Jacuzzi -- despite winning Best Day Spa at the Vogue Beauty Awards this year, three-year-old Myrah is a girlie Mumbai massage spa that's in desperate need of a facelift.
However inside the therapy rooms all is still good.
Basic techniques are used, nothing mind-blowing that makes you think therapists were trained in a Buddhist monastery, but effective and affordable nevertheless.
You'll want the picking and rolling of the skin in Myrah's Royal Balinese Massage or the intense finger pressure point work of the Royal Zen Shiatsu massage (both Rs 2,500 for 55 minutes).
For a longer, more soothing, gentle and calming massage try the 75-minute Royal Aroma Massage for Rs 3,000.
Palm Spring Society, D B J Marg, Juhu Vile Parle Development Scheme, Juhu; +91 (0)22 2625 3968; myrahspa.com
5. Aura Thai Spa
Opened in October 2010 on Arthur Bunder Road in Colaba, this small day spa has nine blood red-themed cushioned cabins with gold accents.
It looks well, shady, but it’s not.
The therapists are certified by Thailand’s Ministry of Health and that’s all you need to know.
The traditional 90-minute dry Thai massage for Rs 2,800 is highly recommended. Masseuses use their hands, legs, knees as well as feet, to stir you into a sequence of yoga-like stretches.
Head straight to the Colaba branch, not the Pali Hill one, which is cramped and where they tend to treat clients more like cattle.
5/5H Grants 13, Arthur Bunder Road, Azmi Marg, Next to Barista, opposite Basilico, Colaba; +91 (0)22 65204444; www.aurathaispa.com
6. Sukho Thai
This Thai foot spa factory is always full.
Here's where Bandra folk come for a quick after-work shoulder rub or a post-party foot massage.
The reclining massage chairs are really comfortable and the Thai therapists know exactly what they're doing.
It's nice when one massages your feet and the other your head simultaneously -- simply called the foot massage with back, head and shoulder for Rs 2,190, for 60 minutes.
A Mumbai massage you can walk in to anytime, without an appointment.
Turner Road, opposite Tavaa restaurant, Bandra (W); +91 (0)22 2640 0264, 98202 00810; www.sukhothaiindia.com