When entering Nicolie in a remote corner of Sun Square in Silom Road, it feels like you have walked into a museum. The floor is ancient Burmese teak, and you are greeted by golden Buddhas, oozing tranquility. There are silver figurines in glass cabinets and old Asian paintings on the walls. It is all part of Anders’ collection, but the orchids and the soft tunes of music make it clear that this is no museum. This is a place for wellness.
To the Danish owner Anders Normann, that is important. Peace, quiet, and a unique experience are in focus here. It is the whole purpose of the spa, and according to Anders that will never change. Making money, he says, is not priority at all. It is beside the point. The only thing that is important is that his employees know how to run a spa where wellness is never compromised.
That is why he left the running of the spa to professionals who know what they are doing. A successful business man himself, Anders knows what he is doing, but he admits that he knows nothing about running a spa. He leaves that to the experts.
“For something to be a success, it is important to know your own strengths but also your limitations,” Anders says, and highlights the importance of working with people who support your skills and are good at the things you are not.
Making the spa a success was actually one of four conditions Anders put down before making the final decision to turn the building on Sun Square into a luxury spa.
“My second condition was that if I was doing this, we wouldn’t cut back on anything. We would get the best of the best, and not settle for anything.”
The third condition was that this would be a legitimate business with a good reputation – that is, no happy endings and no inappropriate touching. Finally, he wanted a zero complaint record, which he says he has been able to maintain. The only people who have complained are ones who could and would not unite with condition number three and expected more from the masseuses, he explains.
Some things never change
“The whole idea behind Nicolie was never to make money. I want people to come here to get an experience that is out of the ordinary,” Anders says and he is very much aware that Nicolie is not the place to go for the latest craze in spa treatments. There are no high power hoses or Jacuzzis, and nor are there fish that nibble at your feet or tubs filled with mud. According to Anders, this is Thai massage in its purest form, and that is the point:
“We live in a changing world, and I think people take a lot of pleasure in knowing that some things stay the same. Nicolie will never change. It will continue to be the place you get the best Thai massage in all of Bangkok.”
That is also why he does not advertise. He is afraid how it might affect the business:
“We don’t advertise anywhere. As soon as we do that, we’ll lose our authenticity.”
ScandAsia’s reporter has not been to every Thai massage place in Bangkok yet, but after an hour and a half of pure bliss, she takes his word for it and floats away. And she will rest assured that when she comes back Nicolie will still be Nicolie, because as Anders says:
”I could never sell this place. No matter what price I was offered.”