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International Spa Trends: Thailand

By: Melinda Taschetta-Millane
Posted: June 11, 2008, from the October 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Each of the Thai spas I visited offered something new and unique, weaving the spa world into the indigenous nature of the land.

Chiva-Som. Chiva-Som is a luxury tropical health retreat that is located in the royal beach destination of Hua Hin, which is about 130 miles south of Bangkok. It sprawls across 7 acres of beachfront landscaped gardens, and is a world-renowned health spa dedicated to revitalizing the mind, body and spirit for total well-being and vitality. More than 100 treatments and activities are available, including spa, holistic, fitness and physiotherapy. The resort features 57 Thai-style pavilions, ocean-view rooms and suites. Designed by British architect Jean-Paul Blissett, of The Syntax Group, it is a subtle balance between Thai and Western designs.

An emphasis is placed on a balanced diet at the facility, and its award-winning cuisine combines both Thai and Western cultures. Upon arrival, all guests undergo a consultation with one of Chiva-Som’s health and wellness consultants. According to Angelika Hartung, a health and wellness consultant manager, the private consultation “is designed to evaluate the current state of health of all guests, and to determine what they would like to achieve during their visit to the resort.” Guests can select treatments a la carte. However, the spa’s strength lies in creating tailored packages with the recommendations of its advisers, all of whom are natural health practitioners. “Each guest is guided through three phases of wellness: foundation, discovery and transformation,” says Hartung.

According to Williams, Chiva-Som’s guests primarily hail from Europe, and are between the ages of 35–45. The average visitor stays at the resort for five to seven days. Repeat clients typically are expatriates, who come three to four times a year.

Devarana Spa. Devarana Spa was developed by Kajonborrirak, winner of The Executive Woman of the Year 2003 Award for Best Innovation Organization by the Foundation for the Thai Society. It is located at the five-star Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok. Devarana, pronounced te-wa-run, is a Sanskrit word meaning “garden in heaven.” It dates back to ancient Thai literature, called Tribhumphraruang, also known as Traibhumikatha, written by Phraya Lithai. In this literary work, this particular area is described as being situated at heaven’s gate, and surrounded by gardens and ponds with a delightful scent and a nurturing environment.