Spa Time: Thai Escapes

 

A Rayavadee treatment room. The range of treatments draw on Thai healing traditions.

 

We’re just back from Phang Nga Bay, a 250-mile inlet in the Andaman Sea set between the island of Phuket and the Malay peninsula of southern Thailand. Known for its striking beauty, we say it has three of the finer spa resort destinations in the entire region.

Six Senses Destination Spa Phuket, the first of its kind by the iconic spa and resort brand, is on Naka Yai Island, a fisherman’s isle reachable via a quick boat trip from the main island of Phuket. As a true destination spa, the property combines fitness activities, spa cuisine, wellness education and relaxation and renewal.

During their stay, guests reside in one of 61 spacious private Pool Villas or Pool Villa Suites, each of which has an outdoor pool, steam showers and an outdoor bathing area with an outside garden area and a rain shower. The Beach Pool Villas, looking out on the bay, are the most requested. Ideal for groups, six of the pool villas are clustered into The Enclave, which also houses an exclusive large glass-fronted pool and dining pavilion. The most luxurious accommodation, the Retreat on the Hill, consists of three bedrooms and a private spa with wet and dry treatment rooms, a yoga pavilion and a gym. All rooms have private butler service.

Cuisine is highlighted by healthy selections, such as low-fat pescetarian and raw-food choices. The property is largely landscaped with edible plants; as such, all the dishes are made from fresh, healthy ingredients. Guests can also opt for in-villa dining or experience a raw-food meal at the Dining at the Point restaurant on the tip of the island.

Spa treatments are included in the multi-day integrated wellness encounters on offer. Four spas offer holistic healing inspired by the traditions of China, India, Indonesia and, of course, Thailand. All guests receive two 60-minute spa treatments per day to help ease the aches from their active pursuits. Beyond the included services, guests can experience several authentic treatments, most of which are performed using fresh, natural ingredients and Six Senses Spas Holistic Skin Therapy, the company’s own line. To ensure requested treatments are received and treatment times adhered to, book spa reservations prior to arrival through Spa Director Kamolthip Kangkit (spadir-naka@sixsenses.com).

The Multilevel Hill Top Reserve at Six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi has its very own private spa and gym.

 

Contact General Manager Ana Maria Tavares (amt@sixsenses.com) for any VIP requests. She suggests making holiday reservations (December 27-January 5) by October.

Travelers looking to combine spa with world-famous scenery will appreciate the jungle beauty of Rayavadee and its acclaimed Phra Nang Beach on Phra Nang Peninsula. The five-star resort on the edge of Krabi Marine National Park comprises 98 two-story villas and four private villas set amid 26 acres of coconut groves and tropical gardens and bordered by three beaches. The resort, which has won multiple awards for its iconic architecture, was designed to emulate a southern Thai village.

Claudine Triolo, the resort’s executive assistant manager, tells us that the two-bedroom Rayavadee Villa and the three-bedroom Phranang Villas have the best views and access to Phra Nang Beach. Facing west with views over Phra Nang Beach and Happy Island, they are perfect for watching sunsets. Phranang Villa No. 404 has an upper terrace accessed by a spiral staircase, which is perfect for enjoying cocktails or a private barbecue.

Along with its stunning beaches (encourage sun-worshiping clients to get there early to avoid the crowds that arrive and depart throughout the day on long boats from the mainland), the resort boasts a charming, seven-treatment-room jungle spa outfitted with a monkey motif inspired by the live anthropoids that swing from nearby trees. Rayavadee Spa’s extensive range of therapies draw on ancient Thai-healing traditions with a number of revitalizing skincare and body-care services, soothing massages, salon treatments and packages. Contact Spa Manager Khun Garnchai Asavapapol (eam_garnchai@rayavadee.com) for reservations.

Rayavadee has four dining options: the more casual Raya Dining serves breakfast, lunch and dinner; Raitalay Terrace, which is open for lunch and dinner, serves Mediterranean-style fare and is next to Railay Beach, an excellent spot to enjoy the sunset; Krua Phranang, the resort’s romantic Thai restaurant, open for dinner only, and The Grotto, which is set amid ancient limestone cliffs on the edge of Phra Nang Beach and serves light lunches, snacks and dinner on special nights each week. Pre-arrival reservations for all restaurants are recommended during the high season.

Beyond spa-ing, dining and beaching, the resort’s concierge can set up a number of activities: private speedboat trips at sunset, cooking classes aboard a Siamese junk or helicopter tours above the surrounding islands. For guests traveling with children, Rayavadee’s Just For Kids program is offered year-round. Daily activities, such as a garden walk, Thai cooking classes for kids, cave walks and arts and crafts are available. Contact Claudine Triolo (claudine@rayavadee.com) for details. Rayavadee is also a popular pick for weddings, which can be set up at various spots around the island. Contact Events Manager Kulavadee Pungsiripattana (sales@rayavadee.com) to learn more.

VIP requests can go through General Manager Brian Harries (brianharries@ rayavadee.com). Note: The resort is busiest from December 20 to January 15, and reservations should be made at least nine months out for that period.

The Rayavadee Villa has its own free-form swimming pool with built-in Jacuzzi and views over Phra Nang Beach.

 

Vacationers who want seclusion and spa will enjoy the sophisticated and private pleasures of Six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi. A 40-minute speedboat ride from Phuket, the resort is so exclusive that it even boasts its own schedule, dubbed Hideaway Time. On arrival, guests dial back the hour hand on their watches to give them more time to enjoy this scenic escape.

The resort has 54 private villas, each of which has its own infinity-edge pool with sundeck and is attended to by a personal villa team. All villas also have a bedroom, bathroom with outdoor shower and sitting room, a specialized wine fridge, terrace with sun loungers and outside dining area and full amenities. The Pool Villa Sea View is the most popular accommodation, though all the villas with sea views (55 percent of the villas on property) are well positioned for spectacular sunset views. The most luxurious accommodations are the Hill Top Reserve and The Retreat, both of which are ideal for groups and families. The Reserve is a multilevel three-bedroom villa complex with private spa and gym. The Retreat, meanwhile, is a rustic-chic two-bedroom villa with a vast private pool and bathroom that extends into the garden. Reservations can be made via GDS code GR. Contact General Manager Susan Noonan (susan@sixsenses.com) for VIP requests. She recommends booking at least four months in advance for the Christmas/New Year period.

The resort has several dining options and is renowned for its stellar wine cellar. The Dining Room provides fine dining with Italian cuisine atop a glass floor with a creek meandering below. The Living Room has a range of cuisines, with an emphasis on Thai food. It also has tandoori and pizza ovens and an open grill. The Main House has tapas-style dining in its open-air bars. In-villa dining, a highlight of which is an in-villa barbecue dinner, is also available. A Chef’s Table, fit for a maximum of six guests, serves a six-course menu paired with world wines. Agents can pre-book this experience, but guests can make general reservations on arrival.

When it comes to activities beyond the white-sand shores of the island resort, Guest Relations Manager Rujipas Tom Kittikajornkrai (grm-yaonoi@sixsenses.com) is the person to get in touch with. Weddings are also popular at Yao Noi, and full-service ceremonies can be planned.

One of Yao Noi’s most exotic offerings is its charming 11-treatment-room Six Senses Spa, which is styled after a traditional Asian longhouse. Each of the treatment rooms has two treatment beds to accommodate couples, and one specialized longhouse has four individual treatment rooms that are used for the four-hour Signature Yao Noi Ritual. It takes a while, yes, but for good reason. It includes an herbal foot soak, steam and body scrub; Thai Massage using ancient herbal packs; a facial using medicinal-aromatic plants; and a spicy herbal bath. Luxury travel advisors are advised to contact Assistant Spa Manager Rawiwan Katesaro (mgra-yaonoi-spa@sixsenses.com) with any questions.

Six Senses Destination Spa Phuket’s Beach Pool Villa Suite has an outdoor sala for meditation and massage.