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SPAS & MASSAGES


Spa facilities might be synonymous with five-star hotels but Thailand offers spa retreats for every budget


N TREATMENTS


Thai massage uses pressure points like reflexology plus yoga-style stretches. A full body massage or – better for first-timers – foot massage are usually offered, with the clients wearing loose pyjamas. Another traditional massage involves soothing warm herbal compresses. Of course, spas offer all the favourite international treatments besides, from facials to aromatherapy massages, body wraps and trendy fish pedicures.


owhere are massages more


ubiquitous than in Thailand, where you can find


tender loving care within reach of almost every beach and on every city street. Spiritual and physical wellness are ingrained in Thai culture and treatments on offer combine eastern techniques with western products.


CLASSES


Tourists can join massage courses, some hotels even offer one-off classes for couples. Meditation classes are given by some Buddhist centres and spa facilities.


SETTINGS


Hotel spas and smart day spas (like the Oasis chain – chiangmaioasis.com) incorporate traditional touches like gardens, lotus ponds and outside massage salas. You can even get a massage without leaving your beach towel, though the hawkers offering these are less likely to be properly trained.


VALUE


Perhaps the greatest thing about spa in Thailand is its affordability. The mini massage centres on many shopping streets start at around £5 an hour for a treatment and massage schools (like the famous one at Wat Po) are even better value. But you don’t have to hit the streets for a bargain, visitors will find that even swanky hotels charge considerably less than the UK’s pound-a-minute prices. A whole spa day or week’s wellness break is within reach.


SPA DEVELOPMENTS


Cense by Spa Cenvaree The brand’s first stand-alone branch is in Phuket. It boasts attractive gardens, 60 treatment rooms, a massage pavilion and yoga room. Treatments include water rituals, hot oil aromatherapy and organic facials. spacenvaree.com


Six Senses Spas


The group’s first Bangkok facility is new at the Pacific City Club beside Nana BTS station, offering Asia-inspired treatments, facial therapies by Biologique Recherche, and sauna and steam rooms. sixsenses.com


SCRUBBING UP Krabi’s Rayavadee Spa offers revitalising facials and scrubs, energizing body wraps, soothing massages and spa packages which draw on ancient Thai healing traditions


The Shore at Katathani This boutique Phuket hotel has added two Duplex Spa Pool Villas. Guests booking them receive a 90-minute welcome treatment, an in-villa spa breakfast then daily treatments for two. theshore.katathani.com


Most Thai spas embrace the spirit and tradition of holistic healing treatments, going beyond physical health and beauty


Centara Hotels & Resorts A partnership with Luxury Health Retreats introduces health, fitness and weight loss retreats with seminars, meal plans and guidance on lifestyle changes with fitness, healthy eating and yoga. lhretreats.com and centarahotelsresorts.com


Six Senses Spa Yao Noi Special in-villa treatments are new, including aqua yoga, ‘deep dream massage’ and ‘full-moon massage and meditation’ which even includes canapés and Champagne. www.sixsenses.com


Kamalaya, Koh Samui This ‘Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa’ offers de-stress, detox, weight-loss and sleep programmes along with new age treatments and yoga retreats. Guests who want to explore Buddhism can even meditate in a former monks’ cave. www.kamalaya.com


TOP TREATS


SENSITIVE TYPES Newcomers to massage should start with a head or foot massage, request an oil massage or ask their therapist to go softly – Thai massage can be quite vigorous!





Layana hotel in Koh Lanta’s Linger Longer Spa has a Salt Room, a special


environment for relaxing and breathing in minerals and salts with fibre-optic lights


Destination spa Chiva Som in Hua Hin offers a customised programme of personal goals in terms of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health


The Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai’s spa is a palatial 3,100


square metre sanctuary embellished with ornate mouldings and sculptures


depicting sacred animals and symbolic Buddhist motifs


Six Senses Hideaway Koh Samui has an organically inspired mud-built spa with beehive-shaped treatment rooms that appear to float in a lily pad pond


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