How to Pick the Perfect Spa in Thailand
In my mind, Thailand has always been synonymous with luxury pampering and with it, world-class spas. But apparently the spa industry, as we Angelenos think of it, is a relatively new offering.
According to recent news from the Thai Tourism authority, “It has been exactly 20 years ago since the opening of Chiva-Som, Thailand’s first dedicated spa, health and wellness centre. Since then, the industry has come a long way and diversified into one of the most lucrative niche-market components of the Thai tourism industry.”
Well, all I know is that “spa” was high on my list during my first trip to Thailand back in July of this year, and following is my first-person account of my Thai spa experiences as well as honorable mentions of spas we saw (but didn’t have a chance to try). These all fall into the “hotel spa” category, but please note that there are many other options to try when you visit Thailand.
This spa chain just won an award from the Thai Spa Association back in September 2012. I loved the soothing ambiance of the multi-level spa that, like many of the locations we saw, made great use of the wood and natural flower elements abundant in Thailand.
We began with a sensuous herbal foot soak in an elegant foyer area then each of us was taken to a HUGE private room with its own bath, shower, and dressing area. This gave me the ability to share the experience with someone else (in this case, my Jetset BFF Mary Anne). It was really great because this was the first of our spa experiences, and it’s always fun to get pampered with a friend.
We then experienced an Aromatherapy Oil Massage with Herbal Hot Compress and a Classic Thai Massage. The fusion massage lasted almost two hours. I have to say, I liked mixing something I am used to (the long, kneading strokes of a Swedish massage) with something I don’t do too often, Thai Massage aka lazy man’s yoga. After we were oiled and massaged into a relaxed state, we were treated to more tea and fruit before we were released into the Bangkok night.
Click here to read more about my experience at the RarinJinda Wellness Spa.
We kept it simple here and opted for a short, but indulgent, foot massage. After all the touring we did throughout Bangkok and flying to Phuket, my tootsies were ready for a little TLC. The treatment room was a doubles suite, and MB and I each had our own therapist who wrapped towels around our calves and feet to loosen the tight muscles. Aromatherapy oil was then slathered over feet and legs, and my therapist went to work on the pressure points. I tend to get really sore on the bottom of my feet, so the right pressure on those arches of my mine really are a game-changer. If you couple that with soothing music, a setting sun over the Andaman sea, time with great friends, and a glass of wine awaiting me … well let’s just say I was in heaven.
The view, the view, the view was insane. My hotel room boasted one of my favorite experiences of all time — a huge villa with a bathtub, overlooking an infinity pool, overlooking the sea. But I digress. I am here to talk about the spa. I’ll keep it simple. Do it.
Click here to read about my foot massage at the Spa at Paresa.
The five-star Mandarin Oriental property boasts a century-old teak pagoda just a boat ride across the Chayo Prado River to a luxury oasis otherwise known as The Oriental Spa. I tried my first Ayurvedic treatment in a private Penthouse Indian-themed suite. Like many of the spas in Thailand, the Oriental Spa boasts a blend of ancient techniques and philosophies with state-of-the-art facilities. This spa, however, also caters to a loyal clientele of affluent Indian travellers, thus its Ayurvedic offerings are quite popular.
Ayurveda means “the science of life,” and has been used for thousands of years alongside modern medicine in Eastern cultures. The spa features a staff expert (from India, of course) who can truly tailor a program to balance energies i.e., doshas for optimal health. We opted for a Keraleeya Abyangam Massage and a Shirodhara oil therapy.
Shirodhara is a treatment where a soothing steady stream of warm therapeutic oil flows over the forehead. It is reputed to have a positive effect on the central nervous system triggering a healing process to relax the body and clear the mind. Mary Anne described it as a thousand tiny fingers massaging her scalp. I found it to be unctuous, cozy, and indulgent. We both loved it.
Click here to read more about my experience at the Oriental Spa.
So with 12 days, eight journalists, one cameraman, two guides, and two drivers, you simply can’t pack everything into one trip. I didn’t have a chance to see Chiang Mai, or Chiang Rai, which everyone says is amazing, but we did get to take a peek at some of these other spas so I think they are worth mentioning:
Kempinski The Spa at the Hotel Kempinski
Le Dheva Spa at the Dheva Mantra Spa & Resort
Banyan Tree Spa Bangkok at the Banyan Tree Hotel
Pathways Spa at the Sarojin
So there you have it. What about you? Did you have a special spa treatment in Thailand that I left off this list? Please leave us a comment here, support @ vanitygirlhollywood.com or tweet me @VanityGirl.