A List of my top ten Thai spas for Vogue’s Travel issue April 2013 .
Most of the spas I mention are in resorts and hotels – I did not add any stand alone day spas to this list . The idea was to combine spectacular destinations with some spectacular pampering. But you can pop in for a treatment or spa immersion at some of the hotels even if you are not a resident .
Do add on to this list .
Best for : Releasing blocked energy
Where: Dheva spa at the Mandarin Oriental, Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai
What: The Lanna signature massage
The Dheva spa is based on the architecture of ancient Mandalay, so prepare to walk through gilded pagodas and arches as you enter a state of treatment anticipation. The three hour Northern Thai Lanna signature starts with ‘tok sen’ a tapping treatment with a tamarind stick to move blocked energy. A wild honey infused steam is followed by hot herbal compresses to release blocked energies and ease joint pains and stiffness. An herbal oil massage softens and soothes your body and the treatment ends with a healing head massage.
Best for :Rebalancing your elements
What: The Barai spa, Hyatt Regency, Hua Hin
Opt for a stay at the luxe Barai residential spa suites where everything is included- a daily massage, aromatherapy steam and milk bath in your room. Or just experience a single spa treatment with your choice of element based (water, air, earth and fire) therapy.
Water sprites can go for the ninety minute sweet basil and kaffir lime ‘Luk Prakop’or compress massage which includes a warm compress made with your prescribed blend of herbs and flowers and a simultaneous oil massage to calm the water element.
If your fire element is raging try the Indigo compress, inspired by Hmong shamans
Best for : Post retail bliss
Where: Devrana spa at the Dusit Thani, Bangkok
What: The Heavenly Nantha Garden spa treatment
The Dusit Thani is the place Thai cognoscenti go to and it is situated at Silom,in the heart of Bangkok’s shopping district. The Devrana spa with its candlelit and flower strewn walkway is a delightful way to get introduced to traditional Thai spa treatments. In Thai mythology Nantha is the tropical garden at heaven’s gate and the two and a half hour treatment blends the aroma of champak, pink lotus, and ylang-ylang with relaxing massage movements to take you to another level of relaxation. Wind up with a selection of specially created spa cuisine or just relax over some honey laden herbal tea at the end of the treatment.
Best for : Face and body rejuvenation
Where: Cocqoon spa, Indigo Pearl, Phuket
What: The Instant glowing package
Indigo Pearl is known for its quirky architecture inspired by the tin mining heritage of the area as well as its spa treatment rooms; some suspended mid air like virtual cocoons. Indigo Pearl’s Cocqoon spa runs in partnership with Anne Semonin, a well known name in the spa and beauty business. The Instant glowing package is ideal for a four day stay and includes four 60 minute sessions of a Slimming massage and two sixty minute sessions of the Nu skin facial. To make the treatment even more exclusive ask for the Nest, a treatment cocoon made of natural fibre suspended mid air and accessed from an aero bridge to make you feel above and away from it all.
Best for : Releasing blocked energies
Where: CHI, The spa at the Shangri-La, Bangkok
What: Chi hot stone massage with Jasmine rice body glow
Situated on the banks of the Cho Phraya River, the Shangri-La is a well known Bangkok landmark. Chi, the spa at Shangri-La is inspired by the Chinese philosophy of healing meredians and releasing blocked energies. Try the Chi hot stone massage where hot and cold stones are used with gliding strokes to release tensions and free up energy flow. Follow it up with a fragrant black jasmine rice honey and herb exfoliating body scrub.
Best for : De stressing, away from it all.
What: The Pimalai spa, The Pimalai, Koh Lanta
What: The Pimalai Signature
Nestled in a rain forest amidst Thai village style treatment rooms, the Pimalai spa’s Signature treatment is a mix of deep tissue therapeutic massages both traditional and western , that work on three dimensional pressure –below, above and from side to side to give you deep tissue work with a difference. If you are travelling with a significant other sign up for the romantic Koo Rak couples package. Else enjoy being away from it all and savour some downtime on your own
Best for : Feeling posh and pampered
Where: Elemis spa at the St Regis, Bangkok
What: Cellutox AromaSpa ocean wrap
It’s the first Elemis spa in South East Asia and the British Brand’s signature treatments are on offer at the swank St Regis. The one hour fifteen minutes Cellutox treatment begins with seaweed and marine algae thermal wrap to decongest and detoxify lymphatic flow and reduce the appearance of cellulite. As the wrap gets to work, surrender to an included pressure point facial and a de-stressing scalp treatment. To end ask for a spa drink at the spectacular St Regis roof top pool
Best for :Getting away from it all
The Rayadvadee Spa at the Rayavadee, Krabi
Situated at a speed boat ride through limestone cliffs at the edge of Krabi Marine National Park, The Rayavadee offers a luxurious getaway from the frenzy of Phuket and Bangkok. Kick off your stay with the traditional Thai Boran massage which combines deep tissue, yoga based stretches and thumb pressure along the ten meridian lines of the body to leave you totally de stressed and recharged. Choose from a 75 minute to a 120 minute experience.
Best for : Serious detoxing
Where: Chiva Som, Hua hin
What: Five night Art of Detox retreat
Chiva som is the virtual grand mommy of the spa world and has been wholly dedicated to wellness and holistic healing for over fifteen years. Check in for the five night detox retreat which includes five pampering massages daily , a three to five day cleanse diet, lymphatic drainage massages, prananyama and colonic hydrotherapy under monitored conditions. If you have time you can also check out the new Nirandala medi spa for a Botox fix, laser therapy, liposysis or thermage.
Best for : Peace and Tranquillity
Where: The spa at The Four seasons resort, Chiang Mai
What: Heart Chakra; Unfathomable peace massage
The natural and unspoiled setting of Four Seasons amidst paddy fields will help you relax into this two and a half hour long treatment as it opens up the anahata or heart chakra to peace, compassion, love and calmness. The treatment begins with a foot soak and a Himalayan salt and poppy seed scrub, followed by a rose and tuberose infused bath. A lymphatic massage with warm rose oil and rose quartz heals the heart and releases negativities