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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The sublime Thai spa experience

Thai spas offer the most sublime spa experiences in the world. Trust me. I got to experience enough exfoliating body scrubs, deep tissue massages, luxuriating body wraps, and revitalizing facials to last me a lifetime while in Thailand last October researching a new spa section (and updating hotels and restaurants) for the DK Eyewitness Guide to Thailand, released this month. We visited a number of spas in Italy recently and none offered the same sensuous surroundings nor relaxing rituals of the Thai spas - they were sterile, lacked atmosphere, were often tucked away in a hotel basement, accessed via the gym, added almost as an after-thought. In Thailand, the spa takes centre stage and a spa experience is something else. There, the spas are situated in stunning settings, overlooking sultry jungles or tranquil ponds, and the spa experience begins from the moment you set foot in the spa: the fragrant aromas of incense and scented candles waft through the air, you're enveloped in the darkness of dim candle light, you're calmed by soft background music (the crashing of waves on a beach perhaps), and voices are hushed to a whisper. The decor is always exotic, whether traditional Thai style or sleek and contemporary. The masseurs are nearly always brilliant, gentle Thai women mostly, who skilfully work your body in silence. Treatments always begin with a foot bath and massage and at the end of whatever wonderful treatment you've had, you're left to relax even further with a herbal tea or zingy drink. If you haven't been to a Thai spa before, then grab a copy of the new DK Thailand guide and go indulge yourself!


Anonymous said...

Oh my, this is fantastic!! I have just been thinking of indulging in a nice spa day, and these recommendations will be very helpful. In fact, I had my first spa treatment yesterday at a small spa near Tha Phae Gate in Chiang Mai (can't remember the name, and I was so relaxed when I left I forgot to pick up a card). I'm certain it wasn't as high end as the ones you mention, but it still left me relaxed and ready to conquer the day.

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Jamie, You should try AKA then - they are very affordable. Why don't you email them and offer to write a blog post and they might give you a discount?