A friend recently asked me if I wanted to join her (and her son, her sister, her nephew and mom) for a day out in the Lin’an hot spring. My first thought was what hot springs? I’ve lived here for almost 5 years and I had never heard of the hot spring.
While technically a part of my city they are actually located about an hour away in a small town called Chenghua. And the reason I had never heard of them was because they were brand spanking new. Well, not the hot springs, which are ancient, but the $65 million 4-star luxury resort surrounding the hot springs had just opened.
We went on a Sunday, which at first seemed like a bad idea. The place was packed. Despite having a capacity of 1,700 people, they only have 2 computers to check in with. We waited for about 45 minutes to get our locker keys. Then the first order of business was lunch. It was actually delicious, but buffet style and it seemed that all 1,700 people were trying to eat at the same time. Long line for the food and finding a table to sit was difficult.
But despite the crowds, the pools were amazingly empty. There were so many that they didn’t feel crowded. There were dozens of them, ranging in sizes and heat. (Several were around 104 degrees which was too much for me. I could only stay in them for a few minutes before being forced out. But the larger pools were cooler and so we stayed in them much longer.)
The $65 million was not spent in vain. The inside pools had majestic touches like giant golden seahorses that shot out a stream of hot water, and beautiful decoration. But my favorite was the outdoor pools. Each one was covered by a tiki roof and surrounded by fake rocks giving them a privacy feel. The big pool had a bridge over it that you could swim under and plenty of in pool sitting areas.
Some of the pools also had things added to them. There was the milk pool, the green tea pool, the “romantic” pool (with tinted red water and I think rose essence). Some were for health, some were for improving skin and some were just for fun I think. (Like the coffee pool which was too crowded and I couldn’t get into.) At night I bet this place is hella sexy.
The place also had an indoor badminton court, a workout room, a few sauna and I’m sure a massage place somewhere. They also gave you big fluffy towels and when you wanted to relax they gave you some silk clothing to wear. It was Lux (with a capital L).
But my favorite part was the company. I was kinda expecting an awkward day of me being out of language loop hanging out with a family I didn’t know, but that wasn’t the case. My friend Yoyo and I spent almost the whole day chatting. Her mom, sister and son got tired of the water quickly so they got dressed and hung out, but me, Yoyo and her nephew spent a long time soaking in the healing waters. (Added bonus, they weren’t stinky!)
She is also an English teacher, in her 30’s and divorced (rare in China). We spoke in English most of the time. She teaches at a local primary school and honestly her English isn’t as good as many of my students. But language level aside we had a ton in common and I really liked talking to her. It’s rare to make a real friend with someone in their 30’s because they are usually too busy with work and family responsibilities.
The full name of the hot springs are Tuankou radon hot springs. (Radon, because apparently there is some in the water. Yes radon, that odorless, tasteless, radioactive element that you test for in your basement. Bad in air but maybe good in hot springs?)
This resort is only about an hour outside of Lin’an, and an hour and a half from Hangzhou. It was pretty awesome and glad I got to experience it.