Sitting in a battered old armchair in a dated therapy area, a heated lavender-scented pillow around my neck, and my feet plunged in a barrel of warm soapy water, it’s hard to believe I’m in the heart of the thriving metropolis that is Hong Kong.
As I listen to the piped bird music and sip a rose-petal tea, the masseuse sets to work on my tired tootsies. I may only be 15 floors up Century Square, an unremarkable skyscraper in the heart of the financial district and a stone’s throw from designer shops including Prada, Armani and Louis Vuitton, but up here in Gao’s, away from the buzz of traffic, crowds and money-makers, I could be a million miles away in some backwater of rural China.
Foot massage places like Gao’s have become a haven for stressed-out executives both on Hong Kong island and in Kowloon, across Victoria Harbour. For around £15 you can enjoy 50 minutes of rest and relaxation, although some customers never switch off, texting furiously throughout the pampering.