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Spa Sanctuary

Mary Bemis December 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

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At i.sawan Residential Spa & Club, spa-goers find respite in the privacy of their own spa cottages. Bangkok welcomed a new level of luxury spa with the opening of i.sawan, a sanctuary tucked away on the fifth floor of the Grand Hyatt Erawan. The hotel, built in 1991, is located across from the Erawan Shrine, a popular tourist attraction. Erawan is the Thai name of a mythological three-headed elephant god, and the friendly looking creature is evident throughout the property—from statues of all sizes to the tiny elephant symbol on the restaurant’s menu, denoting spa cuisine.

Officially opened in November of 2005, i.sawan Residential Spa & Club is comfortably situated in an outdoor garden space, high above the hustle and bustle of the city. The location is an apt one when you consider the fact that the word i.sawan signifies the fifth level of heaven in Buddhism.

“This actually is Hyatt’s second-generation residential spa; the first one was Plateau at the Grand Hyatt Hotel Hong Kong,” explains Gordon Tareta, global director of spa operations for Hyatt Hotels. “We will never do another i.sawan, but that’s not to say there may not be similar elements in another project.” Hyatt Pure, states Tareta, is the umbrella brand, and i.sawan is a spoke in that brand and a stand-alone brand that will not be duplicated. “We look at each spa and project and ask, ‘Who is my target market, what’s in my marketplace and what is different, yet still will be accepted?’ ” he says. With this particular property, the big question was: Is there a spa for the locals? This includes a segment of very, very affluent and sophisticated spa-goers who travel outside of Thailand for the spa experience. With this in mind, i.sawan was born.

Cottage retreat

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Today's Spa: Spa Sanctuary--On the Menu

A sampling of Thai-inspired treatments from i.sawan Residential Spa & Club in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Thai Retreat

(a full-day spa package)

Time & Cost: 3 hours and 40 minutes, $221

This tranquil all-day experience begins with an Herbal Footbath, followed by an Oriental Foot Massage. Next is the Inner Balance Body Envelopment, an aromatic rejuvenating treatment that is rich in botanical sea elements and essential oils of bergamot and mint. A 90-minute Thai Royal Lotus Massage—an authentic Thai massage that uses herbal packs and ends with a cooling application of jasmine flower water—completes the spa experience. A lunch or dinner at The Breezeway is included.

Glow

Time & Cost: 60 minutes, $72

This Thai-inspired facial draws on the ancient beauty secrets of the land to revive the skin using natural vegetable collagen extracts of ginseng and gotukola.

Sesame Seed and Almond Polish

Time & Cost: 45 minutes, $72

This service consists of a moisturizing body exfoliation that uses crushed black sesame seeds in sweet almond oil to gently smooth and nourish dull, dry skin.

Exotic Pedicure

Time & Cost: 60 minutes, $24

Tropical fruits and Thai herbs combine in this luscious treatment that replenishes dry skin. The service includes a scrub, mask and foot massage.

Thai Herbal De-Stress Bath Service

Cost: $53

This luxurious service is available to in-house guests only. Inspired by the indigenous healing traditions of Thailand, this is one of four exotic baths that blend herbs and oils into the guest’s bathtub of mineral-rich water. In this treatment, plai powder, turmeric powder, papaya juice, gingerroot, mint leaves and jasmine flowers are ceremoniously poured into the bath. Lemongrass tea and a Thai fruit plate come with this special service.

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