Hot Spring Happy: Two Days in Relax Mode

TravelWe know what you’re thinking, “it’s getting cold out there—well, as cold as it gets in a subtropical climate.” The Chinese New Year holiday is also around the corner, so let’s take a moment to look again at Dogguan’s neighboring city. It’s a place designed, and in development as a tourist destination. We spoke a few short months back of the multi-functional resorts and destinations of Huizhou’s Xunliao Bay.

This month we explore another bastion of distantly accessible resort destinations constructed for relaxation and pleasure at the hands of trained muscle movers. What that means for those not initiated into the world of flowery, poetic descriptions of otherwise regular things, is that we went to soak and enjoy some relaxing time at the Huizhou Intercontinental Resort for a couple days refueling the batteries.

Huizhou City is best known for its West Lake, and the lazy lifestyle surrounding the area that rests snuggly within twist and turns of the Dongjiang River. And it is rearing to move forward with an identity of its own.

But our tour of Huizhou was not meant for the few things we saw in the city itself. The resort lies 25 kilometers northeast of Huizhou city, and that’s where we were heading.

Good service can be felt more than it can be seen. The warmness of the shuttle cart driver’s smile was resonant, and—wait. Let’s just stop there and go back to why we were on a shuttle cart. First it picked us up from the car, which is a necessity for getting there. The resorts in these remote luxury areas don’t bother with mass public transit. Certainly it is possible to get there with a few bus transfers, but driving or renting a car is the way to go.

That first breath is the final step to a complete takeover of a cleared mind.

The cart became a fun interlude between the hotel lobby and relaxing dips in hot, scented mineral spring tubs. A day at the Intercontinental is only tough to plan if you can’t decide which part of your body wants to be pampered next.

At the moment, the resort is under renovations. The golf course is not open for play, and a few of the fountains aren’t spraying the little dances of water droplets as they should.


A view of a hot mineral spring infused with white wine at the Huizhou Intercontinental Resort.

Before I get into the flavors of mineral soup that marinated our skin, it should be said that the lobby bar can come through on its menu of exotic mixed drinks. Though we did have to wait that awkwardly long, first-drink wait, the fresh cucumber juice of the Silver Monk was refreshing. And we were treated to a great dinner of local Hakka dishes.

And when it comes to treating your groups of “we” to a relaxing realignment, whether it be your family unit or workplace team, there are few better at forcing interpersonal bonding than a hot spring resort. There are many in and around Huizhou that meet the requirements of hot water baths.

Sit in one bath until the conversation starts to dwindle, then restart the process and change the scenery in the next hot tub experience. At the Intercontinental, there are five choices—regular, rose, white wine, ginger and the medicinally sweet honeysuckle.

Our “we” smuggled in a bottle of wine. Though we asked for permission at the front desk, the spring attendant didn’t like that glassware that accompanied us. We thought it befitting to start with a soak in the white wine tub meant to cool down the inner qi and detoxify everything else.

The true benefit of the different flavors is the relaxing characteristics of the individual fragrance. The honeysuckle, being an invasive plant that has taken root in most of the Northern Hemisphere, returned memories of childhood wildness.

But it is the rose that truly treats an outlook on life to a full stop at relax mode. That first breath is the final step to a complete takeover of a cleared mind. The heat rises level by level as the body sinks into the steamy bath until drenched to the neck and your nose rests just above the water in that perfect hospitable zone where breath regulates from the shock of the heat and a flowery fragrance signals the brain of the safety and tranquillity at hand.