Ask a hundred Thailand visitors about a quintessentially Thai experience and they’ll give you a hundred different answers: from scuba-diving off the coast of Koh Tao and exploring Chiang Mai’s legendary walking street market to partying it up on Bangkok’s rooftops!
With so much to discover, even the most hard-boiled travellers will eventually tire. Fortunately, however, another one of Thailand’s favourite pastimes is to get pampered from head to toe: whether you opt for a simple (but effective!) Thai massage or an entire spa day, these are some of the best hotel spas across the country…
Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa, Chiang Mai
Sitting by the Ping River outside the hustle and bustle of Chiang Mai’s lively centre, Ping Nakara is a five-star property designed to offer guests the ultimate relaxation experience. The hotel’s spa focuses on Ayurvedic treatments developed in India more than 3,000 years ago – this isn’t merely a massage parlour, it’s a place with a philosophy. Wellness packages include everything from herbal steam baths and body wraps to reflexology (skip the latter if you’re ticklish!). With beautiful murals and orchids adorning the space, a visit counts as a traditional Thai experience: who would have thought culture could be this relaxing?
Banyan Tree, Phuket
It’s hard not to relax when surrounded by the swaying palm trees and champagne-coloured beaches of Phuket, though if you want to be on the safe side, book yourself into the island’s Banyan Tree. The self-appointed ‘sanctuary for the senses’ has swiped up many an award for its signature experiences. Don’t sleep on their ‘Royal Banyan’ treatment, which combines several massage techniques to improve blood circulation and ease muscle aches (you’ll need it after climbing all the way up Nakkerd Hill to see Phuket’s iconic Big Buddha!). There’s also a 25th anniversary offer running through till 18 December 2019 – now that’s something we can ease into…
Six Senses, Koh Yao Noi
A short boat ride from Phuket, sun-kissed Koh Yao Noi lures travellers looking for an exclusive getaway off the beaten path. Its resorts are among Asia’s best and the local Six Senses is the perfect embodiment of eco-friendly luxury: synonymous with wellness and sustainability, the Six Senses brand uses only natural and ethically sourced ingredients to spoil its guests (but not the environment!). The resort’s in-house spa has to be one of the most stunning in all of Thailand, modelled after traditional longhouses and set within a verdant jungle environment – if you were looking for healing couple massages in between flowering lily ponds, this is the place to go!
SO Sofitel, Bangkok
Bangkok might not be the most obvious place to enjoy some downtime and get pampered, but many of the busy capital’s hotels are home to world-class spas. Take for instance ‘SoSpa’ at the Silom-based SO Sofitel, where rejuvenating facials meet full-on hammam treatments (the best outside the Middle East, some say!). If you’re looking for the ultimate relaxation experience, indulge in their ‘Serenity of Five Elements’ therapy, which sees comforting vibrations eliminate stress that sits deep within sore muscles. Best of all, an in-house team of beauty professionals will get you ready for a night out in nearby Silom 4 after your spa day – if you can detox, you can retox!