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From Here to Thai Serenity

By: Ed Rampell
Posted: January 7, 2009, from the January 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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The highly aesthetic accommodations combine traditional Thai architecture with modern comforts—a complimentary broadband wireless connection, and CD and DVD players, for example—while the bathroom merges with the outdoors. Stone walls and a groomed tropical garden ensured seclusion at my villa, where I swam in a private plunge pool flanked by a lounging salon and terrace ideal for sunbathing.

The resort is named after the legendary Lady Sarojin, famed for her hospitality and the oldest daughter of a Thai nobleman. Living up to the name, I was in equally good hands among the resort’s Pathways Spa’s eight spa therapists. Unobtrusively situated off the resort’s main path and a boardwalk, Pathways is perched above a saltwater estuary cloaked by a palm grove and mangroves. Manmade pavilions, including a Tai Chi and yoga deck on stilts, are harmoniously integrated with nature, and showers adorning trees, discrete baths and double treatment units await the spa-inclined.

My well-trained spa therapist’s strong, skilled hands nimbly administered a soothing traditional Thai oil massage on me as I lay on a comfortable table, experiencing the facility’s treatment offerings. For more than an hour, her fingers powerfully kneaded and rubbed my muscles as a thunderstorm swept Khao Lak, the cooling rainfall adding to the serene experience that relaxed me completely. Even during a brief lightning-caused power outage, my therapist nonchalantly lit a candle and continued work on my jet-lagged body, providing a massage in which she herself clearly experienced no power failure.

“Pathways takes its philosophy from the origin of spas by Buddhist monks who used the spa as an act of healing,” says sales manager Noot Thammatatong. “Massage in Thailand is described as metta, a Sanskrit Buddhist term for an act of loving kindness. Pathways’ signature treatment is Faa Fairt Massage, a full body massage created with pure pleasure in mind. It’s performed by two therapists working together in rhythmic harmony and is the ultimate massage experience. Sensory indulgence is combined with the healing powers of aromatherapy and tactile therapy, uniquely blending different massage styles: Thai, Swedish, Balinese, shiatsu and Hawaiian.”

Holisitic hideaway

Next up was the perfectly named Six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi, cloistered east of Phuket at Yao Noi isle, among Phang Nga’s islets. Amidst bamboo, birds of paradise and banana trees, the Hideaway’s Six Senses Spa, separated from the exquisite 24-acre resort, sits on a hillside in a traditional Borneo-like longhouse and seven thatched-roof bamboo huts. Treatments such as facials, detoxificiation, manicures, pedicures and chakra baths in milk and honey are all available there, as are Six Senses brand beauty products. The spa also includes a fitness center with steam and sauna options, fulfilling its well-rounded holistic promise.