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Using Bamboo to Relieve Stress at In Balance Spa in Phu Quoc

Take a look around Vietnam and you’ll find majority of household items are made from bamboo: tables, chairs, chopsticks, bowls, doors.

Even the poles streetsellers hang their baskets of fruit from are made from this rather delicate yet indestructible material, and also create a beautiful metaphor for people and everyday life in Vietnam. The fast-growing plant is so endemic that it has taken on metaphorical meaning, often used as a symbol for Vietnamese people’s strength, resilience, flexibility and ability to flourish in any situation. It, therefore, makes sense that Novotel’s In Balance Spa in Phu Quoc relies on the material for their signature treatment.

As the sun blares down, the manager of In Balance sat down with Saigoneer to explain the unique massage. She noted that the bamboo treatment is the most popular one at the spa and also unavailable anywhere else on the island. The wood is imported from Thailand and kept warm like hot stones so when the short rods are rolled across the body as part of a deep tissue treatment it promotes good circulation, sensory nerve perception, and lymphatic drainage.

Inside the building nestled comfortably in the middle of the resort, soft music syncopates in the background while the unmistakable aroma of lemongrass and ginger drift in the air. Fish swim languid circles in their tanks while hanging plants busy themselves with their silent photosynthesis in the corridors that lead to the individual and group therapy rooms. Numerous chimes capture the mid-day breeze and contribute to the zen-like atmosphere.

Beyond the bamboo experience, the spa offers a variety of different treatments that span geographic origins. The twenty-person staff trained in Thailand and Saigon perform Swedish and Thai massages in addition to aromatherapy, stone rituals and procedures that pay specific attention to relieving muscle tension. Their facials relieve tension, increase expressive potentials and detox the skin. Detox, in general, is a common reason people come to the spa. Whether it’s to combat too much tropical sun, alcohol-laden vacation drinks or lingering workplace stress, visitors often enjoy special off-menu services that incorporate aloe vera masks and rubs. Similarly, a special foot rub reliant on salt, lemon and ginger eases collected toxins out of the body.

Phu Quoc is an incredibly fertile island and In Balance makes use of local produce. The lemongrass used for their tea is grown in an organic garden just across the path from the spa’s entrance while the ginger is sourced from elsewhere within Vietnam and the honey used for detox procedures is naturally collected and grown without chemicals. Moreover, freshly harvested raspberries are used in an invigorating facial mask.

While many of In Balance’s clients stay at the Novotel resort, others come from outside simply to experience the spa. Direct flights from Sweden, South Korea and China have resulted in a diverse clientele. Many of these visitors come seeking relief from high blood pressure, varicose veins and muscle pains. The staff are eager to attend to specific concerns and a detailed consulation precede all procedures to ensure that all therapy options are understood and individual needs are met. Massages in one’s room, on a balcony or the beach are also available.

Massages have become synonymous with vacations in Southeast Asia, especially when one considers their relative affordability in Vietnam compared to other countries. Many hotels and resorts rely on this fact and offer the bare minimum to tourists already experiencing an elevated sense of vacation euphoria. Novotel’s In Balance Spa, however, goes the extra step by offering bamboo treatments and a series of catered experiences reliant on the country’s unique plants and culture.


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(+84) 297 6260 999

Novotel Phu Quoc Resort | Duong Bao, Duong To, Phu Quoc