We all deserve some me-time every now and then, and while you can go all out with indulging in a luxurious spa treatment, it’s nice knowing we’re blessed with plenty of affordable options in the city, too. Here are our top seven picks for value-for-money massages – all of them coming in at below $150 – that are worth trying.
#1 La Source Spa
La Prenatal Massage, $138, 60 minutes
On my 29th week of pregnancy, I started feeling more tension and pain in my muscles as the baby is growing fast. At this point, prenatal massages are a godsent, especially if you visit a spa that does an incredibly good job, and one of such is La Source Spa.
I instantly felt relaxed the moment I stepped into the massage room. The bed felt comfortable, the room was aptly lit, the aircon temperature was just right and the aroma of the essential oils were not overpowering. No wonder I was able to sleep at some point during the massage! I could tell that my masseuse, Yaya, was very knowledgeable when it comes to prenatal massage. I have very serious eczema due to hormonal changes from my pregnancy and from one look she was able to recommend the right type of oil. She suggested to use a carrier oil like cold-pressed almond oil as it tends to be gentler than essential oils. I’ve had prenatal massages before where the oils used had made my skin feel itchy. Surprisingly, I didn’t experience this with La Source Spa’s prenatal massage.
I also loved the method of slow stroke massage as it was very soothing and it really eased the tightness I felt in my shoulders, lower back and legs. I felt so relaxed and rejuvenated after the massage. I would definitely recommend expecting mothers to try this!
Psst… Bring home a free INNI by La Source skincare kit by quoting ExpatLiving@LaSource when you’re making a booking online or via phone!
– Grace Bantaran
#2 Diana King
Scalp tension relief massage, $85, 30 minutes
Waxing guru Diana King is equipped with 17 years of experience in the beauty scene; from hair removal to massages and and facials, this beauty expert has a loyal clientele who frequent her cosy boutique salon in Sin Ming Centre. After a packed day of rushing around for events, my head was all over the place, so a quality massage was very much welcomed.
Diana told me to lay down and started to prepare a bespoke blend of essential oils for my massage. For all treatments, she would look at a few important factors (such as timing) before deciding on what type of oil to use. As I was heading out for another appointment right after the massage, she chose a mix of rose and jasmine since both are pretty neutral scents. Using a technique learnt from her grandmother, she applied medium pressure on specific points on my scalp, head and upper neck. Within 10 minutes, I knocked out and felt myself drifting into a state where my mind was subconscious. I was in deep sleep but strangely I could still hear the music playing in the background. Sounds odd, but it worked; I woke up feeling completely rejuvenated!
The whole experience was a first for me; I’ve never been in a semi-conscious state where I was completely relaxed and asleep, yet aware of my surroundings at the same time. If you’re feeling stressed out or frequently suffering from headaches, try going for a scalp tension relief massage once in a while. The short thirty minutes of bliss did wonders!
– Anthia Chng
#3 My Cozy Room
4-in-1 Spa Indulgence, $99 for first timers (usual price, $168), 75 minutes
Located in a cute little shophouse, My Cozy Room feels just as the name implies – homey and snug. I was greeted with a hot cup of herbal tea, and sat down to run through my preferences for the massage. The 4-in-1 Spa Indulgence is the signature treatment, intended to fully restore and revitalise you from head to toe.
The session started with an exfoliating back scrub. It was a refreshing experience, and a reminder that it’s an area we barely pay attention to (perhaps because it’s so difficult to reach!). This was followed up with a therapeutic massage using hot stones and fast sweeping movements, which I felt helped to release tension from my muscles a tad faster than a regular massage would. Following that was a full body massage, and my therapist was attentive in asking if the pressure was to my liking. I could feel the ache melting away from my neck and upper back area towards the end of the session. The treatment was polished off with a cooling Crystal Eye massage, which was a rejuvenating perk-me-up.
After the session, my body felt more balanced and flexible (massage helps with circulation), plus I could see that my eye area looked significantly brighter, even sans makeup.
– Susannah Jaffer
#4 Queen’s Market
Deep Tissue Massage, $75 for first-timers (usual price, $150), 60 minutes
This boutique Japanese salon in the Tanjong Pagar locale offers a homely spa experience. Housed in a small shophouse, Queen’s Market is known for its herbal facials, manicures and massages.
The session began with a three-minute foot bath, with my masseuse Mika pressing a few pressure points on my feet. We were off to a good start, as I was rushing errands before the appointment and this immediately put me into relaxation mode! If you suffer from tight shoulders or a tensed back, this massage would be perfect for you. Expect slow, long and firm strokes, alongside deep finger pressure, which work together to release all those knots. Mika’s pressure estimation was spot on; while it felt more tender in the areas of tension (especially my shoulders), the whole experience was still thoroughly relaxing. She rubbed with a consistent pressure and used her arms, elbows and palms – something I felt was lacking in many other massages I’ve experienced.
Surprisingly, although it was an oil massage, I didn’t feel too greasy after the session. Mika used rice oil – known for being rich in Vitamin E and fatty acids – which absorbed quickly into the skin.
Psst… Looking for something more affordable? Try the slimming massage ($120, 60 minutes) or lymphatic facial massage ($88)!
– Anthia Chng
#5 Trimmings Salon & Spa
Foot Reflexology, $75 for 60 minutes
You can choose to have your massage in a big armchair in the nail spa, which sits alongside the hair salon, or for more privacy and peace (yes, please), in a private treatment room. Specify your preference when you’re booking an appointment, as I think the armchair is the default! I took the latter option, complete with whale music, candles and low lights.
Jennifer, my therapist, was detailed in explaining the steps involved and also asked about the degree of pressure I’d like. I go for reflexologies quite frequently, so I know exactly the degree of pressure to ask for, and what to expect during this type of massage – sometimes a little pain or discomfort is par for the course. The feet and leg rub-down commenced and I totally zoned out – it was that good! It was truly a relaxing one hour of me-time. I highly recommend for you to do this at least once a month at this friendly, relaxed and experienced salon and spa.
I was presented with a cup of their signature homemade ginger tea and went on my way. There’s a seat outside the treatment room or outside the salon itself, but no actual wind-down area per se.
– Emi Finch
#6 The Tamarind Spa
Balinese Massage, $80 for 60 minutes
I instantly felt relaxed from the moment I stepped into the spa. Lights were perfectly dimmed and soothing music was playing, which I must say, was a great complement to sipping my cup of hot red-date tea. I opted for the Balinese massage to release the tension in my body and I chose the lemongrass oil to help in detoxification. Lida, my masseuse, applied medium pressure and slow strokes, alongside deep finger pressure on specific areas where my muscles were tight and knotted – specifically my shoulders, back and legs. I found the massage so relaxing and pleasurable that I fell asleep!
When I woke up after the massage, I felt refreshed; my usually tense and heavy shoulders were lifted, and even my legs felt light when I walked out of the spa. I would definitely love to get this massage again.
Psst… There’s also a variety of wallet-friendly body scrubs ($45 for 30 minutes) to choose from, including coffee, blackberry, lavender and lemongrass.
– Grace Bantaran
#7 Nimble Knead
Body (60 minutes) and foot massage (30 minutes) combo, $93
Tucked in the quiet end of Tiong Bahru, this boutique spa is set in container-style interiors with cosy décor. With a total of six rooms – couple’s rooms are available, too – Nimble Knead offers Balinese, Thai, Swedish and Chinese massages at affordable prices ($76 for 60 minutes). Body scrubs, body masks and facials are available, too.
I had my massage in one of the couple’s rooms, which was rather spacious and fitted with a separate shower room. The session started with a quick foot-salt bath, before the full body massage commenced. Using fast, long strokes, my masseuse kneaded into my legs first, then moved to my back and arms. It was an utterly relaxing session without any real pain or discomfort – I actually dozed off a couple times! After the full body massage, she moved on to the foot rub. While I would have preferred a fraction more pressure, it was overall a pleasant experience.
Post-treatment, I enjoyed my cup of hot ginger tea in the reception area. It was a rejuvenating session and I’m definitely keen on returning to try one of their body masks ($69 for 45 minutes).
– Anthia Chng