Spa check: Letsema Xpress Spa



On 1 July 2003, Letsema Xpress Spa opened in the departures lounge of OR Tambo International Airport as an innovative, value adding service to the Airports Company of South Africa. Last year in February they decided to expand their services, and opened up the new section of the spa which allows for more private treatments, such as full body massages and body scrubs. Letsema Xpress Spa has three other spas located around Johannesburg, as well as at various client premises.


You start your journey by entering OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, checking in at the relevant airline, and then wait in line to go through customs. I walked through the departure area to the original Letsema Xpress Spa. This area now consists of a group of massage chairs and the aqua massage. I had my treatments at the new Letsema Xpress Spa, which now allows for treatments such as full body massages, nail treatments, body scrubs and waxing.


There are two sections to the spa – the old and the new areas. The original spa is where the massage and aqua massage, and manicures take place. It is all open-plan, encouraging passengers to have a seat and enjoy being treated. The newer section of the spa, opened in February 2009, is further along and towards the back. This provides more privacy, along with a room for full body massages and body scrubs, as well as curtained-off areas, if you do not wish to have your massage in the open section. Soothing music is played through the speakers, and the smell of peppermint and massage oils fi lls your nose as you walk through the spa to your chair or treatment room. There are 35 therapists between the two sections of the spa, working different shifts to make sure you get the best treatment available 


There is no need for an appointment. The therapists stand outside and welcome all passengers who would like to enjoy a treatment before boarding their fl ight, be it long or short. I started off with a manicure. Although this is right at the door, it was pleasant to sit and watch all the different people walk past as my therapist fi led and painted my nails, readying me for any meetings later that day. Afterwards, I chose the fully clothed back and neck massage – for anyone who has 20 minutes to spare before a flight, this is definitely something to try. The massage starts from the bottom up, as each vertebra is worked on and relaxed. Pressure is determined by yourself, and you can request it harder or softer at any time. The Spa uses peppermint cream rather than oils, and a towel is placed around the collar to prevent any stains or marks on your clothes. My therapist defi nitely had magic hands, and I could feel as she massaged each knot out of my neck and shoulders, easing the stress out of me bit by bit. I could very easily have fallen asleep, but that would have meant missing out on the experience. I walked out with my scarlet-red nails, feeling relaxed and knot-free.


For any traveller, business or leisure, I would recommend having one of the 20-minute  back and neck massages to get rid of any stress before you board your plane.

Treatments available at

Letsema xpress Spa:

Fully clothed massage

Table massage

Hand massage

Foot massage

Oxygen bar

Aqua massage



Nail enhancements

Nail art






Letsema Xpress Spa: OR Tambo International airport Shop no. 25 International Departures

Tel: +2711 921 6874 / 010 207 2763,

Kirsti Brocklehurst