Never having been much of a spa-person before, I must admit that my time in Kigali definitely has changed my perception of the necessity of facials, pedicures, deep tissue massages, eyebrow waxing…yeah, you name it. In many ways, beautifying treatments become an addiction, especially when you realize that they work. Luckily for us with addictive personalities, spas in Kigali are fairly cheap, and you don’t need to be on a UN salary to afford monthly visits to the beauty salon.
My recent visit to Sunset Spa also proved that low prices do not mean a drop in quality. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect when glancing through the brochure (I mean, a Swedish massage for only Rwf 15.000…?), but whatever doubts I had were washed (or rather exfoliated) away as soon as I stepped foot into the delicately decorated little spa far, far away in Kibagabaga.
The owner, Anke Candaele, opened the salon in March this year, and is offering all of the services Kigali women ache for, namely facials, waxing, massages, and pedi/-manicures. Perhaps it was because of Anke’s story (you know the one about the muzungu volunteer who ends up falling in love with Rwanda, marrying a Rwandan, and having adorable little children), or the fact that her skin was one step away from angelic, but I immediately took a liking to her. When asked about her rather low prices, she explained that with quality treatment and good service, she was hoping that clients would return regularly and frequently. After having trying a variety of treatments, I for one, can see myself returning to this spot for monthly relaxation sessions.
The first thing I recommend you try out is a facial. Trust me, it actually works wonders for your face, especially if you expose it to the Kigali sun and traffic fumes on a regular basis. A basic facial at Sunset Spa will only cost you Rwf. 15.000, though you might want to try out the more fancy ones (such as the Cell Active Facial) for Rwf. 30.000. As for massages, they offer a multitude of exotic options, such as Hot Stone (Rwf. 25.000), and Hawaiian (Rwf. 25.000). Being a purist, I tried out the Swedish Massage (Rwf. 15.000), and was impressed. Next time, I’ll try my luck with some hot, black stones. Or possibly one of the Spa Packages that also includes a body wrap. Or maybe I’ll do a combo of body wrap, pedicure, and… aaah! See, this is what happens when you suddenly find you can afford spa treatments!
Anyway, as for pedicure and manicure: also, high quality, including a bunch of fancy equipment, though in the higher end of the price scale (Rwf 7.000 to 8,000 for filing, painting, dipping in paraffin wax… yeah, I know, pretty awesome). Sunset Spa is also one of the few places in Kigali that offer Brazilian waxing, and – having heard horror stories about waxing experiences elsewhere – I would recommend you take the trip out to Kibagabaga for this particular treatment.
Ah yes, the trip out… Well, it is far away. Beyond Caiman, past the Akilah Institute for Women, aaaaall the way to the tip of Kibagabaga (or possibly at the center of a very intricate pattern of concentric circled roads…hmm, this area is confusing to me…) Obviously, I wouldn’t suggest you venture out here for a manicure alone, but why not make it a spa day? Do an hour-long facial while your nails dry. Or better yet, do a girl’s spa day (there are 2 massage rooms) and be fancy and splash out with a dinner at Pascha, Zen or Sakae.
I was offered all of the treatments for free to try them out for this article.
Location: Sunset Villas Estate, Kibagabaga
Hours: 10am – 9pm (Tuesday to Sunday)
Booking: 0787 702 861