Drop out, tune in and rejuvenate in this award-winning world-class spa in a lush tropical Thai setting. Gary Allen reviews the Health and Wellness Spa in Koh Samui.
The term “Health and Wellness” has well and truly replaced the familiar “health spa” and so has the make-up of the clientele. Health spas mostly catered to a female market; mothers, wives, and professionals detoxing and getting some well-earned respite from kids, husbands, and jobs. Today’s health and wellness offerings target a broader, unisex demographic.
Consider Koh Samui’s Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa. During my stay at Kamalaya I opted for the Comprehensive Optimal Fitness program, designed for regular exercisers looking to “balance intense exercise, relaxation techniques and stretching, optimum nutrition and a healthy lifestyle”. It entails plenty of workouts with weights and exercises, tailored individually for you and your capabilities, all undertaken with your personal trainer. It’s a program designed to appeal to both women and men. Kamalaya offers programs to suit a wide variety of personal needs, from detox to healthy lifestyle.
Two-time winner of Luxury Travel magazine’s Gold List Award for Best Overseas Health & Wellness Property, Kamalaya is set in lush tropical jungle, punctuated with bubbling streams that emerge onto a secluded private beach. It’s the perfect backdrop to retreat and reassess emotionally, physically and spiritually. This is one resort where going solo can have its own pleasures and advantages. Time for time out, for solitude and at Kamalaya there are plenty of guests doing just that. If you choose, the solitude can be relieved by the communal atmosphere. All meals can be enjoyed at a community dining table and we did join a few nights, which was great fun meeting and hearing about everyone’s experiences. Many opt for in-room dining and early night to ensure they wake up fresh and ready for the busy day ahead.
Kamalaya is a retreat for adults looking to focus on their wellbeing.
On our first day I was met by a nurse who checked my blood pressure and recorded weight, height and other measurements. I was then hooked up to a device that electronically measures bio-impedance body composition analysis (BIA), recording body mass index (BMI), hydration levels, energy and cell integrity – a snapshot of how your body is functioning. Report in hand, I meet our nutritionist and discuss what I want to achieve from the program and define a schedule. It’s going to be a busy seven days.
Next I met with Robin, my personal trainer, who again made an assessment, checking posture and movement, laying out a workout program. Each day I had a different workout and different exercises, all done in less than 45 minutes and a total body workout. Yoga is also part of the daily routine, and numerous massages are included in the package – different techniques of massage are available, from traditional Thai to Aruveydic, all nurturing in their own way, delivered by skilled therapists who are so knowledgeable, describing the treatment and its benefits beforehand. After a day or two of this regime, workouts, yoga and massage, you can already feel body and soul drawing benefit.
Food at Kamalaya is integrated into your program. With the physical activity of the Comprehensive Optimal Fitness program, protein needs to be on the plate. Grilled ostrich or fresh fish every day supplemented by amazing salads and side dishes fits the bill. Menus are creative and healthy with a wide choice. At breakfast, an array of fresh fruits and vegetables is displayed with nametags advising whether or not the item is suitable for the detox program. Fresh-baked breads and nut spreads, jams, soups, porridge and granola are all labelled gluten-free or sugar-free, so you can decide. Detox or no detox, you can also order eggs your way and so many other creations from the chef.
Central to Kamalaya is its holistic approach to wellbeing: your body, mind and spirit. Taking time to think about mind and spirit; taking time to relax and be more aware of the body. My program included several personal mentoring sessions. Rajesh, once a banker, is now a monk and a mentor. In our first session we just sat and talked about life for an hour, which leaves the mind refreshed. In session two, I learned to meditate, embarking on a journey to a refreshed mind and elevated spirit; an amazing experience and life changing in so many ways. Kamalaya is a great program for any man or woman who may be in need of an adjustment to their lives or is at a personal crossroad. For many it will bring a whole new outlook to your life and that is difficult to put a price on.
Before you go, consider collecting blood, stool and urine sample results for the nutritionist to analyse. It will enable Kamalaya to adapt the program for optimal body results and function for the week and beyond.
While focus is on wellbeing, one is cocooned in comfort in sumptuously appointed accommodation, ranging from hillside villas to sea-view suites and penthouses, priced accordingly.
Kamalaya is a retreat for adults looking to focus on their wellbeing. It is not recommended for children, and while children can stay, there are no concessions, facilities or services offered to cater for them.