The decision to take massage in Ooty was a spur of the moment decision as my travel partner and I were feeling rather uninspired by the urban sprawl of this hill station city. Our travel agent, Balaji, booked us into a fantastic 4 star hotel (Holiday Inn Gem Park) which offered all the amenities Western tourists enjoy. Usually I am not one for spending a lot of time at the hotel but our list of sightseeing options was exhausted by 5 P.M. So, we trotted over to the massage rooms located in an underground facility accessed via the parking lot.
First impressions were positive. Rooms for men and women were completely separate offering privacy. The men’s massage room was tucked inside a meandering locker room fitted with showers, a steam room and a weight room. Both the female and male attendant were open for an impromptu massage.
Not much other than the massage table was present in my small, square room. A chair to place my things was next to a small shelf where various massage oils were housed. The masseur lit a candle, turned off the lights, and we were off. As with my massage in Hassan, all clothes were off but a towel was offered for modesty. The technique was different from my previous massage, better in that it was a deeper massage. Enough oil was used that I begin to think the masseur was giving competition with the Exxon Valdez spill. At this point it sounds relaxing yet as I started to let my mind wander off, there was a knock at the door. The masseur excused himself, left the room, and returned in short order. Odd, but nothing terribly wrong. Then it happened again. And again. And again. It was then I realized he was not only the masseur, but the only attendant for the weight room. Various guests were needing towels, soap and other items. Not relaxing.
There was little conversation between us. We both tried to find a topic we could carry past simple answers only to quickly find silence. By the end of the hour he shuttled me to the steam room. Inside I found myself having to huddle over a small outlet sputtering out luke warm steam. The phrase “I need a vacation from my vacation” came to mind, replacing vacation with massage.
Dried, dressed and ready to pay, I bid my masseur farewell, climbed the steps back to the lobby where the bill was settled. Back in the room I found my travel partner who was grinning from ear to ear. A similar setting was found in the female massage room. A towel was offered for modesty purposes, a preference for her. Her experience was far better, no interruptions.
Overall: It’s handy location makes it easy to slip in and out without disrupting your schedule. However, the constant interruptions made it hard to fully enjoy the process. Skip this location and find yourself a better option in the market.
Cost: Rs 3600 ($82, tip included)
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