Not All Onsens Are The Same, Can You Spot The Right One?

Not All Onsens Are Created Equal

When it comes to onsens, you truly need to do your research. Not only is this ancient tradition of detoxing and de-stressing slowly disappearing in today’s fast-paced world, but there is less of a systematic way to monitor and grade their quality. Therefore, choosing the right spa for you can be quite tricky. This issue, we explore the telltale signs of a good onsen.

Onsens are traditionally from Japan, representing a natural hot spring or a resort built around one. Over the years of my travels around the world, I have encountered quite a few of them and they usually offer the following:

– Wet sauna
– Dry sauna
– Body scrub / wash
– Cold pool
– Jacuzzi
– Resting area
– Dining area
– Natural hot spring

Of all the onsens I have been to, one in particular stands out – Yunomori Onsen Spa in Pattaya, Thailand. It boasts every thing on the checklist and then some. The entrance fee of 450 baht allows you the use of all the saunas, cold pools and jacuzzis for about four hours. As soon as you enter, you are welcomed with friendly, warm smiles and the familiar scent of eucalyptus. It draws you in further to the babbling of the soothing warm spring pools inside. Its range of therapeutic services includes Thai massage, aroma massage, an herbal compress and a Korean scrub, which is one of my favourites.

Each of the treatments has been expertly developed and is skillfully applied to suit individual customer needs. The variety of pressures and massage techniques range from light feathery strokes to deep tissue shiatsu to relieve tension and improve circulation.

The tradition of the onsen experience shouldn’t be lost in the shuffle of globalisation. Rather, it should be retained for overall wellness and culture.

For example, the spa and wellness centre located in the Four Seasons Bhosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey has all the aforementioned amenities as well as traditional hammam steam saunas. For those visiting the US, the Beverly Hot Springs Spa located in Los Angeles is superb.

Simplicio Michael Luis (aka M) is a fashion designer based in Los Angeles. He collaborates with Kings Global Consulting Group, which is based in Singapore, to produce fashion pieces and, more recently, his own range of coffee. M The Movement – his fashion line – is also available at his Malaysian showroom. 

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