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The scent of fresh flowers was a nice change from the usual durian-and-acetone

So a big part of my job is keeping tabs on the seemingly millions of daily deal sites that have sprouted up across APAC to see which hotels, spas and restaurants the competition is working with. I’ve gotten pretty good at differentiating between a crap deal (which most of them are), an ok deal, and a really WOW deal. WOW deals are for good places that you’ve heard of, they offer significant savings, and they don’t feature a million exceptions in the fine print (which is what knocks most deals down to the crap division).

A few weeks ago one of our competitors ran a deal that I basically couldn’t pass up: a 60-minute full body massage and a 45-minute foot reflexology massage at the brand new Jean Yip Loft in Chinatown for S$59. I’ve done enough spa deals in Australia to know that full body massages at nice places are rarely under $100, plus I’ve never had a foot massage I haven’t loved, so I was definitely intrigued.

Jean Yip is a pretty big mid-market salon chain, and I read some background on the brand new spa (conveniently located right by Outram MRT) before pulling the trigger, as I feel like 90% of the deals you see in Singapore are for places in random shopping centers 30 minutes outside the CBD. The only real obstacle I encountered was trying to make an appointment for a Saturday, but after a week of phone-stalking, by Friday someone had cancelled and they were able slot me in for a massage on Saturday morning.

The spa occupies its own 7-story building, which is a refreshing change from the typical mall storefronts that you normally see running daily deals (I usually get my nails done in those sorts of places near work, at Suntec, and they all smell faintly of durian and acetone). Jean Yip Loft, on the other hand, is an airy, light-filled space with flowers at every turn. It reminded me a lot of one of my favorite places in New York, Bliss.

Reception on the ground floor

After checking in I was escorted to the 6th floor, where I met my massage therapist and got ready for the full body massage. It was pretty standard as far as massages go – they asked me if I wanted it hard, medium, or soft – but I loved every second of it. The treatment room was a nice cozy temperature, with candles and smooth jazz playing softly in the background. A few times I caught myself almost falling asleep, which is definitely the mark of a good, relaxing massage.

My only minor quibble would be that after the body massage the therapist told me to get fully dressed so I could go down to the 4th floor for my foot massage. I would have loved to put on a robe and slippers – particularly since there’s a lounge pool on the roof – but I guess that wasn’t an option. I suppose it was for the best since the therapist who did my foot massage was male, but still. Foot massages are performed in super-comfy reclining chairs in a dim room adjacent to where they do pedicures and manicures. Beforehand I soaked my feet and drank some hot water (“Tea is served on the second floor,” I was informed in typical Singapore does-not-compute fashion when I asked for tea instead of water), and took in the chic surroundings:

After my fantastic foot massage – isn’t it incredible how 45 minutes can fly by under certain circumstances? – I was brought down to the second floor cafe, where I was given some terrific ginger tea (seriously it was so good, I would have bought it if I’d had the opportunity to) and a “dessert,” which was the final component of my voucher deal. Hilariously, the dessert wasn’t a cupcake or slice of pie, but rather a bowl of red bean soup. You know you’ve lived in Singapore a while when you’re totally fine with that as a dessert option.

As I sipped my tea my mellow was harshed slightly by a salesperson who came over and tried to convince me to buy a package, or else recommend friends so they could get a free treatment. I was tempted, but the thought of someone giving out my number without my permission would really bug me so I passed. I wasn’t incredibly surprised by this – every time I get a wax at Strip they try to sell me a package – but it was mildly annoying to get the hard sell after such a lovely few hours. Fortunately I was relaxed enough to tune the salesperson out until she sighed and got up to leave.

I don’t often splurge on spa treatments, but would definitely go back to Jean Yip Loft, particularly to check out the rooftop pool. However, I find their current website to be a bit ghetto and hope they’ll update it soon. It’s about a one minute walk from the Outram MRT station, but enjoys a surprisingly lovely location overlooking a park, so that whenever you look out the windows all you see are tree branches and greenery. That’s a rarity in Singapore, especially in the CBD, but certainly adds to the zen spa setting:

The view from the elevator

I have to admit I was definitely satisfied with this voucher purchase. Good thing we’re only running travel deals here in Singapore so I didn’t have to feel too guilty.

Jean Yip Loft is located at 307 New Bridge Road, near Outram Park Purple/Green MRT
Phone: 6634 5162 (the number on their site doesn’t seem to work)
Website: http://www.jeanyiploft.com/index.html

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