Review: Taizhilian Spa — Taipei, Taiwan
Taizhilian Spa (泰芝戀男女養生會館) seems to be one of the most well known massage parlors for foreigners visiting or living in Taipei. English speakers refer to it by all sorts of alternative names including 75 Massage and Blue Minquan Massage but I’m not exactly sure why. I also can’t figure out why some claim the place is difficult to find since it’s located right along a main road and has a clear and obvious series of signs out front.
Taizhilian Spa is situated on Minquan East Road between a bedding shop and another store selling appliances. The Xingtian Temple MRT Station is within walking distance and most taxis can also find their way there when provided with the address. The shop has a blue front with items from a beach scene like palm trees scattered on it. The glass doors are marked “24H” with large red letters indicating that the parlor is indeed open around the clock.
Immediately upon entering customers find a front counter and a small couch. The cashier at the front desk speaks little to no English though isn’t really an issue since she is also equipped with a laminated menu showing two varieties of massage available for 1200 and 1500 New Taiwan Dollars accordingly. Guys looking for massages that end happy normally select the 1500 NTD ($50 USD) aroma massage by pointing at it on the list and handing over the money. Customers can request a specific masseuse by number when paying for their massage. Those who don’t will get whoever is next in line.
The masseuses who work at Taizhilian Spa are relatively attractive. They wear revealing dresses over top of tiny panties that are often revealed when they do things like bending over to pick something up or climbing up stairs. Most are from Vietnam but have been in Taiwan long enough to speak a good amount of the local language. Some basic English is also spoken by many. The women range in age though I’d guess that the majority are in their 30’s even if they purport to be in twenty-somethings. Fairly slim and fit bodies are the norm and good amount of silicone is carried by quite a few. I don’t think any of the women on staff are unattractive but there aren’t any drop dead gorgeous stunners there either.
Once a customer pays for his massage he sits down on the couch behind him, takes off his shoes and puts on a pair of the shop’s black slippers. While these are of a higher quality than is normally seen in a massage parlor they are too tiny for all but the smallest of feet. As the customer slips into his tiny toe covers the front desk worker will call for one of the masseuses to come pick him up. When she arrives she’ll take him not back into the large open area behind the counter but rather into an elevator heading to one of the other floors in the building.
The other floors contain hall ways lined on one side with massage rooms. These massage rooms contain a massage table, a hook to hold clothes and little more. That’s because they’re too little to hold any more. They are large enough for the task at hand though they are small enough that a customers leg may hit up against one of the walls during a stretch. The rooms are pretty safe and secure though one can occasionally hear sounds emanating from the other massage rooms or the hallways outside.
Once in the room the masseuse will ask the customer if he wants to shower. Those who agree to do so probably get the best service especially if it means they will be scrubbing off stink and filth accumulated in the journey to the shop. The “shower rooms” are really just large wet rooms that contain boilers, a toilet and a portable shower head sticking out of a wall. Things aren’t too uncomfortable though and plenty of shower gel and shampoo is provided.
After showering customer make their way back to the room in their towel. They then slip on the provided pair of black paper panties and lay face down on the table. The masseuse will then provide a fairly decent massage that lasts quite sometime. It’s unlikely that any major back ailment will be cured during this service but it’s not nearly as poor as some of the perfunctory or nonexistent massages provided at some parlors in places like Bangkok.
The back massage is followed up by a nice hot towel treatment with the customer being covered from head to toe in warm wet fabric that feels great. The treatment that feels even better usually follows this though the exacts depend on a bit of conversation and negotiation.
The services available at Taizhilian seem to depend on the provider and at times how she feels about the customer. Many will offer everything up to full service but there are some who don’t seem to go beyond hand service. Even those who do give a full ride may not bring it up, instead offering hand service alone unless the customer asks if more is available. There is no set rate for finishing services. There is a usual level that regulars pay but that seems to have gone up recently.
The initial prices quoted for special services can sometimes seem outrageous but reasonable counter offers made politely are usually honored. There are no rules but in general full service can be offered for as much as 5000 NTD ($165 USD) but attained for as little as 2000 or 3000 ($65-100 USD). Lip service can be offered for as much as 3000 but attained for as little as 1000 ($33 USD). Hand service can be offered for as much as 1500 but attained for as little as 500 ($17 USD).
Services always depend on the skills of the provider, the customer, chemistry, mood and a whole host of other things. I’ve said time and time again that because of these factors it’s difficult to make a definitive judgement on the level of special services at places like this with numerous women on staff. In general I can say that things are satisfactory and usually neither terrible nor out of this world.
After the massage is finished up the customer is free to take another shower or simply put on his gear. Whenever he’s ready he’ll be guided back into the elevator and to the front where he can put on his shoes and head out the door.
As a nice and clean massage parlor with a large and relatively attractive staff that’s easy to find and open twenty four hours a day Taizhilian Spa isn’t half bad. Taking into consideration everything I think the place deserves a solid three stars which according to the five star Rockit Reviews system means it is above average.
Taizhilian Spa. No. 75 Minquan East Road Section 2, Zhongshan District, Taipei, Taiwan. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Phone: (02) 2599-1314. Click here for a map.