On a rainy night in Paraty, after several pretty active days of swimming, walking, and beaches, the Shambhala Spa is the perfect place to wind down. I ended up there after a particularly full day, which had ended in a very long late lunch at the gorgeous Shambhala Lounge, run by the spa’s owners Hans and Priscilla (read my review here). After some much-needed relaxation with wine and good food at the lounge, the spa was the next logical step, so I headed back into town on the hop-on hop-off tourist bus and made a beeline for the spa.
Since becoming something of a spa-junkie after my very first experience of one in Morocco, I’ve seen my share of spas – from glitzy health clubs in London to a dank room behind a market in Cusco – and I can honestly say that the Shambhala Spa in Paraty is one of the nicest I’ve ever visited! The décor is absolutely stunning, taking a very Asian influence to create a perfect atmosphere of total peace. Calming, neutral tones abounded in this beautiful building surrounding by a lush, sloping garden where guests can relax outdoors (in better weather) in one of the large hot tubs. Huge windows face onto the garden, bringing the calming greenery of the outside in and creating a wonderful natural light during the day, while at night this emphasised the darkness and rain outside and made the interior feel even more welcoming. There were gorgeous carved wooden furnishings, marble floors, and some small touches like stone Buddha statues which brought a little piece of Asia and it’s spiritual tranquillity into the spa.
It was wonderful to step out of the dark, rainy night into a warmly lit room, beautifully decorated, and be greeted by the friendly staff who made me feel instantly welcome. Upstairs, the tranquil décor continued in a beautiful room with two enormous massage beds, candles, and creamy neutral tones which were really peaceful.
With soft piano music playing over the relaxing sound of heavy rain driting through the open windows, my massage began; a full body treatment with a lovely oil scented with something like eucalyptus, which was really refreshing and definitely did my aching muscles the world of good. It really was one of the best massages I’ve had; the masseuse applied just the right amount of pressure (relatively hard, just how I like it) and worked out the all knots which have been building up in my shoulders thanks to my heavy backpack! She worked particularly hard on my back and arms, which have been completely ruined by luggage, hostel beds, and dreadful coach journeys, but after my few days of constant walking around Paraty the real treat was my legs and feet.
By the time the massage was over, I felt meltingly relaxed and ready to drift right off to sleep. My back was finally a knot-free zone and all the parts of me that had been straining and aching for weeks were wonderfully soothed and smoothed out. Not ready to leave just yet, I opted to prolong my state of total relaxation with a Japanese style jacuzzi bath. I could have had this in one of the outdoor hot tubs, but since the rain was pretty heavy I decided to stay indoors and instead headed into a private bathroom alongside my treatment room. My hosts had filled a large jacuzzi bathtup with warm water and lots of dried herbs and flowers, as well as scented oil, which gave the bath a gorgeous, lemony and floral scent. I sat in the dim candlelight and daydreamed, enjoying the feel of a nice hot bath after months of dirty hostel showers, and getting decidedly sleepy in the hot, scented water.
Bath over, I showered under the enormous overhead waterfall shower to rinse all the oil off my skin and hair, then dried off and got dressed. My skin felt so wonderfully soft from the oil in the water, and I smelt delicious. Feeling warm, clean and ready for bed, I didn’t want to leave the soft tranquillity of Shambhala spa and head out into the rain, but sadly nothing can last forever!
The spa was a haven of relaxation and warmth, and definitely the nicest one I’ve visited in a long time. Massages and spa treatments are the perfect kind of self-indulgent treat for travellers, and a trip to Shambhala Spa is the best way to recover from a week of hiking, swimming and partying in Paraty. Don’t miss it!
P.S – I was far too relaxed for taking photos during my visit, so I’ve borrowed a few from the Shambhala Spa website – but photo five is mine!