Spa holidays in Thailand are legendary. But perhaps not that well known by the male fraternity. For years female visitors have been indulging in a number of beauty treatments. Aesthetic clinics abound that focus on beauty that is skin deep, while professional beauty salons offer everything from silk eyelash extensions to permanent eyebrow tattoos. However men are catching on and catching up!
For general wellness the country is also well known as a medical tourism hub, with a number of dental clinics offering everything from restorative to cosmetic dentistry. More complicated treatments such as dental crowns, veneers or implants are also available but require planning.
Fitness-inclined travellers have endless classes and gyms to use. There are Body fit classes, cross training and Muay Thai not to mention Thai boxing. Easier venues all round are the basic commodities of the beach and sea.
Climbers can enjoy Krabi’s coastal limestone formations, and just outside Chiang Mai, the lesser-known crag called Crazy Horse Buttress offers climbing routes for beginners and pros.
But spas are more and more catering to couples as the male gender learns at last to benefit from the experience.
I inspected and experienced four of the top hotel spas in Thailand, based in and around the island of Phuket. Here are my findings.
INDIGO PEARL (www.indigo-pearl.com)
The ‘Coqoon Spa’, set in a wonderful ‘bird nest’ adapted its treatment to suit my jetlagged needs. Not the proposed manicures or pedicures for me but lots of neck and shoulder work! Not to mention the soothing pungent choice of oils such as eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass, sesame, coconut and bergamot orange.
The ‘Pathways Spa’ is positioned close to the beach in order for the lapping of the Andaman Sea and bird songs to be incorporated into the experience. Pathways floats over the central energy lay line of the resort and has been lovingly created by the owners Andrew and Kate Kemp to look through a coconut grove and over and beyond to the Andaman Sea. You get there by a discrete wooden walkway and the Spa forms a key part of The Sarojin’s wellness experience. There are four open-air treatment pavilions (two doubles and two singles). There are rain showers, in keeping with the philosophy of the owners’ wish to embrace the natural surroundings. There are also couples’ baths, as well as an air conditioned facial treatment room, and an open air post spa relaxation area.
I had a facial in one of the eight ‘mala’, massage rooms. My face was first steamed to open the pores, then cleansed, then steamed, then cleansed again with lotions to stimulate the blood vessels, bringing me out, or so I felt, in a more youthful glow. And why not! How odd that it’s a part of the body so often under pampered.
This spa is wonderfully located in a secluded coconut grove complete with water features and outside pavilions (‘salas’) comprising aromatic varnished teak, for yoga, meditation and pilates. The vegetation and bird-life clings and sings in an attractive fashion beside the delightful features and therapy rooms. It’s a hillside retreat that uses its own specially prepared, pure natural products. It is dedicated to nourishing in unison the body and soul. I spent a highly beneficial hour here.
Adam Jacot de Boinod worked for Stephen Fry on the first series of QI, the BBC programme. Adam is the author of The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from around the World, published by Penguin Books.