Review: Liberty 2 — Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Liberty 2 is one of the many hotel based massage facilities located in District 1 of Vietnam‘s southern financial center Saigon. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that the hotel is called Liberty 2 and the massage facilities are located inside of it. The hotel is undoubtedly the main business even though the sauna draws its fair share of customers.
Entering the massage facilities is as easy as going through the doorway immediately to the left of the main entrance to the hotel. This doorway contains a flight of stairs that lead up to a front desk. Customers can go around the desk and to the right to enter a decent if quiet bar with nice looking wait staff or they can tell the English speaking woman at the front desk that they want a massage. Customers are then shown a price sheet that indicates the rate for a massage which is 420,000 Dong ($19 USD) payable after the session is over with.
There is a section with lockers were a lot of locals leave their stuff to use some of the facilities in the place but the front staff seems keyed in to the fact that most visitors would rather skip over this since they lead them directly up another flight of stairs into one of the many massage rooms.
The massage rooms aren’t tiny but they definitely aren’t spacious either. The VIP rooms at a place like Minh Tam 2 are certainly much better even if the service is otherwise pretty much the same.
After the customer is led to the room he is expected to disrobe and wrap up in a towel while waiting for the masseuse to arrive. The masseuses wear uniforms that change from time to time though a short sleeve white top and a purple cloth skirt with shorts sewed is pretty representative. They each have numbers that customers can refer to when requesting a specific masseuse though they don’t always wear them.
The women working as masseuses are almost all good looking and in some cases absolutely gorgeous. They seem to range in age from 19 to the upper 20’s. There don’t seem to be any women doing massages who are older than that and none are unfit or overweight.
The masseuses speak English to varying degrees with most only able to say a few words and a very select few being able to speak at a near fluent level. Of course this only matters so much at a massage place where everything is pretty self explanatory.
When the masseuse enters the room the customer lays face down on the table and the massage begins. None of the masseuses seem to be particularly skilled in this regard and a few can barely massage at all. A select few can deliver a decent rub down but I’m not sure how important this is to most customers.
After some back rubbing the customer is instructed to flip over and the front side is then worked over. There can be some hinting around and bumping into sensitive areas here but it isn’t always done. In some cases a mediocre massage is simply followed by a direct inquiry as to whether or not the customer wants a special massage which means a happy ending done by hand.
With small glass windows in the doors of each room and some foot traffic going back and forth in the halls virtually all the time nothing more seems to be on the table. This may contribute to the ability of places like this to function but I can’t be sure because I don’t know how things go behind the scenes in Vietnam.
In some cases the masseuses try to negotiate a tip before performing the special services but usually it seems to go unmentioned. Tips are given after the fact with the usual rate being equal to the price of the massage or a little more at 500,000 Dong which is just over 22 US dollars.
As I have written many times before it is tough to rank the skills of a large number of women working in any place like this. There are so many factors and variables that it doesn’t make much sense to try to make an overall judgement. While one woman may be an expert with her hands another may be a total klutz who doesn’t know a thing about the soft touch despite her line of work. At the very least it would be fair to say that the women who work at Liberty 2 are dedicated to their work and do their best to make sure the customer leaves satisfied if only to ensure that they make decent tips.
Even beyond that though the women do have a general sweetness to them that is a very admirable feature considering their line of work and the fact that they surely have to deal with all sorts of guys including those who don’t know how to act like gentlemen. My hats off.
After the massage is wrapped up the masseuse typically hangs around and helps the customer get dressed before leading him back downstairs to the front desk where he can settle his tab. There are usually male porters downstairs who can hail a taxi. They seem to be very grateful for even a small tip even though they thankfully don’t come right out and ask for them.
As a decent place with attractive women that has been around for quite awhile the Liberty 2 is a good example of an establishment of its kind in Ho Chi Minh City. Taking everything including other businesses in the area into consideration I think it the place deserves an above average score of three stars.
Liberty 2. 129-133 Ham Nghi, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.