Everyone likes a bit of a back rub from time to time, or a neck massage. But until you’ve tried a spa treatment in Thailand you really haven’t lived.
Thais turned the back rub into an art form thousands of years ago, and have been refining it ever since. And in Phuket that refinement is at its zenith. Ever dreamed of spending an entire day being pampered and stroked? Or of being massaged with honey, tea or chocolate? It’s all in Phuket. For some of the island’s top treatments, read on.
Mandara Spa at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa
The Mandara has 40 different treatments on its “menu” but for couples the Romantic Getaway at 19,500 baht is, frankly, a must. It lasts four hours, starting with a floral foot ritual, and followed in sequence by aromatic steam, aromatic salt scrub, aromatic floral bath, aromatic massage, aromatic facial and finally refreshments.
The Mandara also offers a healing traditional Thai massage, using techniques going back more than 2,500 years, which means it just has to be good for you. It costs only 3,500 baht for 90 minutes or 4,200 baht for two hours.
Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa
The Hilton’s spa is not simply a few beautiful rooms in a corner of the resort. It’s a whole village dedicated purely to sybaritic relaxation. The signature treatment is the re-energising Equilibrium Therapy, a 90-minute journey that starts with a floral foot bath – a foot massage in warm water with kaffir lime slices and flower petals.
The next step is a literally delicious half-hour body scrub using sesame and honey. Skin clean and tingling, get ready for the 60-minute massage. This starts with 15 minutes of Thai massage techniques, then the therapist will apply wild mint oil all over you and use a Thai herbal heat pack to soothe muscle aches and stimulate blood circulation. As the spa puts it, they promise to “put back a little of what life takes out”, and for only 3,800 baht.
Banyan Tree Spa
For those who take their luxury seriously and are ready to spend US$400 pursuing that end, the place to go has to be the Banyan Tree Spa. The Day Package there consists of a mind-altering seven hours of complete surrender to the spa’s therapists who deliver a series of stimulating body treatments. These include a body scrub, a body conditioner and a massage - and that’s just in the morning.
After a lunch of spa cuisine, it’s time to submit (oh no!) to three additional treatments, for the face, the hands and the feet. The only worry will be whether anyone will recognize you when you emerge, shining and beautiful, in time for sundowners.
The Royal Phuket Yacht Club
Blowing hot and cold about spa treatments? Then Le Royal Massage, combining techniques from chilly Sweden and tropical Thailand, is probably just right. Just in case, there is also some aromatherapy included, too. The therapist gently massages you, applying pressure on your back and moving towards the legs. Turn over and get the other side done, then finish with a head-and-face massage.
The treatment lasts about 1½ hours, costs 2,900 baht, and leaves you feeling relaxed, revived and with improved blood circulation.
Le Spa at Le Meridien Phuket
Flying to Phuket can be a trial, leaving you aching and tired at the beginning of your holiday. Le Spa has something that will be just your cup of tea: Le Tea Retreat, a series of therapies over three days but costing only 6,500 baht.
The program consists of a combination of gentle exercise and spa treatments using massage products derived from different kinds of tea - green tea, fruit tea, flower tea and others.
The course starts gently on the first day with a 50-minute session of light leg therapy to help you relax and to counter the effects of jet lag. Treatment on day two consists of a 50-minute massage and 40 minutes of exercise, stretching or meditation, while on the third day you get a choice: facial, body wrap or body scrub, lasting 50 minutes.
The Aspara at Holiday Inn Resort Phuket
Two treatments at the Aspara Spa deserve special mention: the Hot Stones Therapy and the Aroma Meridian Massage. The Hot Stones treatment (75 minutes for 2,600 baht) starts with heated basalt stones being placed on strategic points of the body to decongest stressed muscles and promote blood circulation. This is followed by a soothing massage using aromatic oils.
The Aroma Meridian massage combines the benefits of aromatheraphy with Chinese theory on Yin and Yang. A warm compress filled with extracts of flowers and herbs is used to heat up the body’s meridian pathways, stimulating acupressure points, before a pleasant massage is delivered using aromatic essential oils. This lasts 75 minutes and costs 2,400 baht.
The Spa at Mövenpick Resort & Spa
If you thought tea was for drinking, honey was for toast, you will have learned by now that they have other luxurious uses. So if you thought that chocolate was just for eating, you and your loved one should head on over to the Mövenpick on Karon Beach for the Romantic Harmony treatment at 7,500 baht per couple.
In a double suite, lit only by candles, the relaxing two-hour session begins with a pampering Foot Soak to soothe tired feet in nourishing lavender extract. Next comes, yes! the Chocolate Body Scrub, a sensory delight that also softens your skin. After that, soak in a luxurious floral milk bath before the final Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage to release stress and tension and increase a blood circulation.
The only problem with all of this is that a simple back rub will no longer be good enough. You’ll be spoiled forever.