Business Editor for the NZ Herald

Queensland: From ignorance to bliss

Hamish Fletcher learns to relax and enjoy the spa experience.

If you're suffering from spa anxiety try raising your concerns with the therapist before your treatment begins. Photo / Supplied
If you're suffering from spa anxiety try raising your concerns with the therapist before your treatment begins. Photo / Supplied

I looked to my partner awkwardly as we prepared to reveal our bare bodies to complete strangers. She could offer me no help whatsoever. The situation was already tense - the drive over had been a navigational nightmare as we dashed across the New South Wales border, desperately hoping to reach our destination on time. Now, locked in a darkened room with nothing more than a bathrobe around me, I was anxious about committing a serious faux-pas.

I should have spoken up earlier, but was worried doing so would reveal my gross inexperience; that I had never before paid for these sort of services and was really quite anxious about the whole affair.

These fears were unfounded - it turned out that, had I insisted, I could keep my underwear on for the entire 50 minutes.

When walking into Kingscliff's Golden Door Spa I was uncertain to how comfortable I'd be with a stranger's hands all over my body. Ten minutes into my Swedish massage ($138 each) any misgiving faded into memory. To a faint soundtrack of birdsong and trickling water, 25 years of stress was forced out of me as I lay in a blissful trance.

Backs, necks, shoulders, arms, legs - even fingers and toes - were all kneaded into shape as my partner and I were pulled, prodded and poked by our attentive masseuses.

Coming straight to Kingscliff after an early-morning flight to the Gold Coast airport, this pampering was a sure sign that our holiday had begun.

We emerged calm and carefree after our treatment; the bickering car ride an hour before seemed a world away from our serene drive back to Coolangatta.

After getting through Golden Door with no embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions, I was quietly confident later that week when we visited Surfers Paradise's Q1 Spa, tucked below one of world's tallest residential skyscrapers.

But such assurance was misplaced; imagine my surprise when confronted with nothing but a small towel to drape over my nakedness.

A lot could go wrong in an hour-long full-body exfoliation. But again, my unease was soon behind me as I relaxed into the treatment, the therapist making sure the towel stayed exactly where it should be. Matters of modesty aside, Q1's "Coconut Ocean Wave" spa treatment ($207 each) saw us scrubbed down head-to-toe, scraping every flake of skin, cleansing every pore, before being snuggly cocooned in a wrap and delicately water-blasted off.

Although I left refreshed and with my modesty intact, it turns out my prudish paranoia is a common concern of first-time massage-goers. Experts advise bringing up any apprehensions with spa staff from the get-go to ensure your treatment is relaxing as it can be.

- NZ Herald

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