Bad massage experience in Hoi An

My massage experience at Royal Riverside Hotel in Hoi An was so bad that I had to write a post. Oh my god.

If you’re thinking of trying the massage in Royal Riverside Hotel, don’t. It was absolutely disappointing. I wasn’t really sure if the masseuse was even a masseuse, or perhaps, the facial specialist or manicurist instead.

The “massage” (which I leave in quotation marks because I’m unclear if it even qualified as one) was actually infuriatingly bad, so much so that I actually prayed for it to be over.

adult alternative medicine care comfort
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Unpleasant experience

I’m used to massages with firm, consistent touches. Isn’t that the point of a massage anyway? The fact that I’m even clarifying this is terrible.

During the sad massage I had in Royal Riverside Hotel, the “masseuse” scratched her head a number of times.

So, she’ll stroke/rub my muscles for a few minutes and that would be interrupted with head scratching.

I was wondering if she was using the phone and I peeked out. She was scratching her head it seemed.

I’m sympathetic to an itchy scalp, but this happened way too often during my “massage”. It was definitely more than five times, because the scratching really broke the flow.

But the more annoying thing was, as she did that, she rested her other hand on my body.

It was so unprofessional. And it makes me so unreasonably angry. As someone who doesn’t like to be touched much, I get an unpleasant tingly feeling when a stranger rests his/her hand on my body, and even more so when it’s a light touch.     

I can tolerate it if the touches are brief, but I found that really unacceptable after the hand-resting happened consistently during the massage.   

Because of this, I really felt like ending the massage early and leaving.

Secondly, the aircon was way too cold. It was also blowing directly on my body. This feels like such a rookie mistake.

Thirdly, the masseuse’s nails dug into me. She had long fingernails. 😦   

Finally, I stated that my feet were ticklish multiple times but it didn’t stop her from grabbing me by the feet during some parts of the treatment. There’s only that many times I can move my feet (sometimes I kick by reflex) or complain before I think I’m being the rude customer.

Every other (and possibly every single) masseuse I’ve encountered in the world have either (1) avoided my feet or (2) been extremely good at pressing on my feet. I’ve done many Thai massages, which include handing legs and feet in more awkward fashions.

I have never had such an atrocious massage experience.

After the massage was over, I remarked to my boyfriend if the masseuses we had were randomly plucked from the streets or actually trained in massage. It felt like they weren’t actually trained.

Sadly, I can imagine some travelers going to the in-house masseuse anyway. Hopefully, if you’re going to stay at Royal Riverside Hotel in Hoi An, make sure you don’t go to the in-house massage.

Go to Lemon Tree Spa and Massage

A better place would be Lemon Tree Spa and Massage.

It’s run by a Korean owner so my boyfriend was interested in the place.

The price of this massage place is like most other massage places. Returning customers get 20% off so this is VERY value-for-money. And tons of Koreans visit this spa.

They even have massages for pregnant women and children.


I did the Thai Massage every time I visited. I’ve tried many massages but I think this is the best Thai Massage I’ve had in ASEAN (even compared to Bangkok).

The massage therapists never use their phones (you can report them in the feedback form if they do), and they really focus on you.

At the end of the massage, they serve you your feedback form as well as a yogurt.

I believe most staff speak both Korean and English so you’re in good hands.

You may have to book in advance – they’re really popular!

Check out all my Hoi An 2018 posts here.