Affordable Way to Rest and Relax at The Luxe Lounge
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Life in the metropolis has become so stressful that some people can no longer take it and decided to pack their bags and live elsewhere. Those who stay are faced with long queues at the MRT/jeep and bus stations, still longer hours on the road due to the worsening traffic, while those who are lucky enough to escape the horrendous traffic via MRT have to endure a crowded, packed like sardines coaches, sweating and worrying about being robbed.
Add to these daily commuting and travelling woes are the rising prices of food and services as inflation hits multi-year highs, while salaries barely move up.
Mounting stress is what propelled Marivic Fajardo and her friend Elmie Cadungog to put up The Luxe Lounge, which allows customers to enjoy minutes and even hours on a top-of-the-line massage chair imported from Japan inside a dimly lit, air-conditioned room in the most convenient place on earth – in a shopping mall.
A few years ago, Marivic said she had bouts of chronic stress arising from work and family that she developed allergies. She could not focus on her job. She could not relax even for one bit. She was very close to a nervous breakdown, but thanks to her strong faith in God, she made it through and emerged stronger than ever.
Luxury for Everyone
Now she wants to help others who are experiencing the same thing – living with stress in what has become a very stressful living and working environment. The only difference is, she wants everyone to avail of it, rich or poor, women and men, young and old.
“After what I experienced, I want to share the concept of rest. As a single mom, I was always pressured about money. Pressured at work. I felt that it was irresponsible if you took a rest, took a break because there was so much to do at home and at the office,” said Marivic in an interview inside The Luxe Lounge at the ground floor of Ayala Mall in Marikina Heights in Marikina City.
“So when I decided to do this, to share the concept of rest, I want everyone to be able to afford it,” she said.
Looking back at how fast-paced her life before she realized that there was no harm in taking a rest, staying calm and even being lazy for a few hours or days, she could not help but wonder: “I never thought I would be a thought leader for this -- the concept of rest.”
Inside The Luxe Lounge, the lights are soft, not dark. The air smells nice, like a fresh flower blooming in spring. The aircon is turned on in such a way that customers will appreciate a warm and comfortable blanket, which the place provides to clients for free, while they are seated in one of the eight massage chairs. There is jazz music from Ella Fitzgerald and other masters in a low volume, lulling customers to sleep.
The place is airy with ample spaces between the chairs. There are chairs and roundtables too if customers want to sit for a while before or after getting a massage.
Quotes about relaxation and inspiration to success are painted on the walls: “My idea of exercise is a good, brisk sit,” says one. Another one reads: “If I won the award for laziness, I would send somebody to pick it up for me.” And then another one: “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
Because of its perfect ambiance for relaxation, some customers fall asleep. Marivic said when the place is not busy, they usually allow the customers to sleep more even if their time in the chair has lapsed. She understood this because during the first time she tried the massage chair in one of the malls in Alabang (she is from Paranaque), she fell asleep too.
Outside, the place looks intimidating. It spells expensive. But worry not. It’s affordable. For a minimum fee of P20, customers can enjoy six minutes of bliss in the massage chair and have their arms, necks, feet, and back massaged. If customers want to stay longer, say, 12 minutes, they pay P40; 30 minutes is priced at P100 and for one hour, P200.
Customers who avail of a minimum of 30 minutes of massage will get a cup of Japanese tea for free, though they have to shell out P10 for the foot socks as they are not allowed to wear shoes while seated on the massage chair.
The set up is ideal for those who do not have time to stay long inside a spa. Or are not comfortable being touched by someone else, a stranger, while wearing minimum clothing. Because here, customers sit on the massage chair fully clothed. They just have to remove their shoes or sandals and put on the in-house foot socks for hygiene purposes.
Since it opened in August this year, business is brisk. In fact, this early, Marivic plans to add three more chairs in the next few weeks. More outlets are also in the planning stage.
“Surprisingly, the business is doing well. Luxe Lounge was embraced by people from all walks of life ― male, female and a wide age bracket from kids to retirees. Some people from other cities also come here to try the massage chairs,” she said.
“It’s a chair rental business, but what we did is to raise the level of service,” Marivic added, referring to the free blanket, Japanese tea and the overall ambiance inside the place. In other malls, massage chairs are exposed for everyone to see since they are usually placed in crowded, noisy places, with no attendant to help out the customers.
Marivic, who owns a public relations firm whose clients include some of the best and biggest in the hotel and hospitality business in the country, said she wants everyone to simply enjoy luxury without spending much. That explains the concept of the massage chair.
“Since luxury is my specialty, I always tell myself that one day, when I have my own business, I want everyone to get a taste of it. So my partner and I decided to put things together and formed a business that spells luxury but prices are for the masses,” Marivic said.
And like all (or some) things on earth, her wish was granted to the delight of The Luxe Lounge customers.
The Luxe Lounge is at the ground floor of the Ayala Mall, Liwasang Kalayaan, Brgy. Marikina Heights, Marikina City. For more about it, please check out its Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/TheLuxeLoungePH/
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