Spa on Wheels

Averil Nunes

Too busy to kick up your heels and relax? Step aboard the Spa on Wheels, which offers all the benefits of reflexology, at your doorstep or en route your next meeting.

The rain pours on relentlessly, as an unassuming blue bus rolls up, just in time for the reflexology appointment I made earlier today. Wait a second! Big blue bus? Is this the epitome of luxury? The chauffeur steps out and graciously takes my umbrella, holding the door for me as I dart into a warmly-lit space with leather-coated seats, a faint scent of lemon grass and subtle music. This is the Four Fountains Spa on Wheels, which is equipped to offer traditional Thai massages, on the move. The interiors of this former 16-seater mini-bus, turned mobile massage parlour for two, merge functionality and luxe, courtesy the stylings of Dilip Chhabria.

Soror and Solan, the Manipuri therapists, who will kneed the stress out of my feet and head in the 60-odd minutes that follow, offer me a pair of dried-grass slippers. My jeans fit a little too well to be pulled up to calf level, so I opt to change into the loose-fitting cotton pants on offer, in the washroom built into the back of the bus. This requires a bit of expertise at maneuvering in compact spaces and some amount of balancing on one foot, which may not be feasible for the more generously proportioned amongst us.

The vehicle stands still as I sink into the reclining chair and soak my feet in luke-warm water. The unmistakable scent of lemon grass grows stronger, as Soror starts to twist my feet this way and that. Just when nerves I didn`t know existed are about to scream in protest, the pressure subsides and a soothing calmness ensues.

We're moving now and it looks like I'll make my 6.00 p.m. appointment on time. Despite the ragged Mumbai roads, this is a relatively smooth ride and I lean back and relax. The 40-minute foot massage ends sooner than I hoped. A large flat screen relays a driver's seat view of the world outside... it's still pouring, and the traffic continues to crawl, but we're almost at our destination.

Soror begins to work on my head and back. My spine and shoulders almost wince in gratitude, as the tiredness drains out. A few minutes later, we arrive at the location of my next meeting, a little later than anticipated, but not late enough to be unprofessional. The chauffeur has an umbrella waiting as I step back out into the street — refreshed and ready for just about anything.

The 60-90 minute massages offered by the Four Fountains Spa on Wheels are priced between Rs.1,499 to Rs.1,999. Do note that you will be billed an additional Rs.100 per km, after the first five complimentary kilometers, and that either the pick-up or drop point must be between Colaba and Bandra. Dial 90 22 11 22 11 to relax... on the roll.