Review: Massage Treatment @ Phuket Airport

What happens when you cannot get enough of Thai massage when leaving Phuket, Thailand? Simple, you get a last minute massage at the Phuket International airport!

Do you know there is a small massage palor at the Phuket Airport?

I just did not have enough of Thai Massage & Foot Reflexology on my last trip in Phuket. Yes, I went to Phuket to get plenty of Thai massage but I got so caught up doing the rest of fun stuff in Phuket that I just did not find time to indulge in Thai massage. Thank goodness I found this palor at the Phuket Airport which ended my short vacation on a high note.

Massage at Phuket airport departure lounges
Massage Palor at Phuket airport departure lounge

This massage palor (I think should be new; wasn’t there on my last trip 2 years ago) offers standard massage treatments like Thai Massage, Foot Reflexology, Manicure and Pedicure. Although their prices are a bit steep compared to outside the airport, it’s still worth the last minute indulgence; especially if you just can’t get enough of Thai massage.  Apparently, many people must have felt that way too; so much so that it’s worth it for the owner to invest in a shop in the departure lounge of the Phuket airport. Rental surely cannot be cheap.

Although the place feels small outside, it is ingeniously designed that it is able to take about 10 customers for foot massage in 2 separate halls and four customers for Thai or aromatherapy massage in small private cubicles just behind the reception area.

When we entered the palor, there were no customers. We chose Thai massage and let the therapists knead our bodies just nicely for the plane journey back home. As usual, Thai masseurs never fail to live up to expectations. It was almost as if Thai ladies have natural genes to provide a good massage anytime.

It did get uncomfortable after a while as more customers entered the palor. You can hear loud customers and screaming children through the thin partition walls of the massage cubicles. So while the massage was good, the noise factor of this place is something to consider if you’re thinking of having a last minute massage.

Overall, this place does have my recommendations if you have plenty of time to kill at the Phuket airport. Or like me, you simply could not get enough of Thai massage or foot massage and need some last minute indulgence!

Location of Massage Palor:
Departure Lounge, Phuket International Airport

Size of Spa: Small, with 3 private treatment rooms and 12 reflexology chairs
Facilities: None

Friendliness: Friendly
Pricing: Single massage treatment starts from US$15

Tags:

Review: Kamala Royal Thai Spa, Phuket

I have just returned from a 4-days short holiday break at Phuket staying at the Andara Resort (See review at earlier article).  It’s always so nice to have a short break in between busy weeks and Phuket has always been one of my preferred short-break destination since it’s only a one and half hour flight time from Singapore. With Phuket, you are always spoilt for choice in terms of hotel accommodation and beaches. Each time, I try to stay at a different beach & hotel to gain a fuller flavour of Phuket.

For this trip, I stayed at the Kamala Beach, which is located on Phuket’s west coast, just north of the ever popular Patong beach. Like most tourist beaches in Phuket, the area behind the powdery Kamala beach has a great many choice of places to eat and drink and not forgetting the many shops, hair salons and local Thai massage salons.  The shops at Kamala beach are not as many and varied as Patong beach but there are enough to keep you busy as you stroll down the streets. In fact, I prefer the quieter Kamala beach as it is not as crowded, busy and noisy as Patong beach.

Along the beach, there are also many small Thai massage open-air salons that offer basic services with a row of chairs or daybeds for giving massages like foot reflexology, Thai massage & oil massage. These are incredibly cheap and a good 1 hour Thai massage can be had for just 300baht (US$9).

I was hot, dirty and slightly sun-burned from spending a day at the beach and was looking for a better class spa to pamper myself. More importantly, I needed a facial as I was afraid I may have burnt my face after sunning myself for sometime at the beach and not always remembering to re-apply adequate suntan lotion.

Along a row of shops along the beach, there were a couple of higher quality massage salons. I chose the best looking one and walked in.

The Kamala Royal Thai Spa is located in a 2-storey house and designed in modern contemporary Thai decor. Just walking into the spa gives you a totally refreshing feeling from the hot, noisy and busy street outside.  Although it is not as posh looking at those spas located in the hotels, the Kamala Royal Thai Spa does have some refine details that gives the spa an overall peaceful feel. The Spa is an open-plan retreat of solid wood pillars with a bubbling waterfall and Koi pond at the boundary area to give a zen-like atmosphere to the environment.

The Kamala Royal Thai Spa
The Kamala Royal Thai Spa

A warm welcome from the receptionist
A warm welcome from the receptionist

Spacious massage room with ensuite showers
Spacious massage room with ensuite showers

The receptionist welcomed us with cold tea and refreshing towels while we selected the treatments from their spa menu. The spa offers various therapies from foot to Thai to oil massage; body scrubs to wraps and facials. Prices are a little bit on the high side compared to the smaller massage salons just outside the street but for the nice environment, I was willing to give it a try.  I opted for a 60 mins Facial Sunrise and a 120 mins Royal Thai Therapeutic Massage.

As I was led by my Thai therapist to the treatment room, I could smell the scent of floral incense. There are eight rooms for oil massage in private closed door environment, four rooms for traditional Thai massage and an area that sit six for Thai foot massage. Most rooms have en-suite showers and some are couples rooms.

One great joy about massage in Thailand is that you are almost assured of good massage therapists. I guess massage tradition and culture has been so long in Thailand that almost every masseur is good and you seldom come across one that is average or below average.

We started with the long and relaxing 2 hour Thai oil massage that put me into a peaceful snooze. This was followed-up with a very refreshing facial that consists of cleansing, scrubbing, toning & moisturizing the face with honey, yogurt & cucumber. It was the first time I had a facial that includes honey and yogurt but according to the therapist, this is the most soothing combination that offers intensive care for after-sunburn treatment.

The Kamala Royal Thai Spa is currently running a special massage promotion: a 1 for 1 treatment (for any 90 mins & above treatments). So it’s really a very good deal especially since it means your partner enjoy the same treatments absolutely free be it a massage, facial, wrap or scrub! Hence, if you are ever in the vicinity of the Kamala beach in Phuket, make sure you make a visit to this spa!

Location of Kamala Royal Thai Spa:
128 Moo 3
, Kamala, Phuket 83000, Thailand

Size of Spa: Medium, with private treatment rooms
Facilities: Suana and Steam room

Friendliness: Friendly
Pricing: Single massage treatment and packages available. Also facial, body wraps and scrubs treatment available. Prices starts at US$22 for single massage session.

Tags:

Review: Andara Resort, Phuket, Thailand

Once in a while, you take a holiday and the hotel or resort you stayed in was so fantastic that you do not want to leave. Andara Resort of Phuket certainly qualify as one such resort as far as I am concern.

We stayed at Andara Resort on our last holiday in Phuket, Thailand. Andara Resort is one of the latest boutique resort/hotel that are giving mass-market hotel chains a good run for their money, not only in Phuket but all round the world. Boutique or niche hotel, in case you are wondering, are usually smaller and revolve around a certain special theme be it hotel concept, architectural uniqueness, outstanding F&B concepts or simply being better, cozier, friendlier, less noisy and more comfortable than most typical large chain hotel.

The grand entrance to Andara Resort
The grand entrance to Andara Resort

The lobby to Andara Resort
The lobby to Andara Resort

Andara Resort is certainly one such boutique hotel concept. Located at Kamala beach, Western Phuket, it is away from the maddening crowd at the popular Patong beach and yet retain all the special charms of a Phuket holiday – sun, sea, beach, pool, shopping, food and massage. Andara Resort is more than just a hotel – in fact, each room is not just a room but an entire apartment – ranging from 1 room to 4 room apartments; many with their own swimming pool. You can call it a ‘condotel’ if you like; it has all the comforts of a full apartment or condominium including a full kitchen, laundry room, dining table, audio-video system, luxurious bathrooms, multiple bedrooms and even a private pool for some units.

You can ‘hide’ in your apartment throughout the entire holiday if you wish; cook, eat, watch TV and luxuriate and suntan at your own private pool. You do not have to meet another soul throughout if you do not want to as the apartment is totally self-contained; right down to ice-maker, coffee-maker, micro-wave oven, cooking stove, ironing board, sound system, ample supply of towels and multiple rooms and bathrooms.

6 luxurious apartments to each 3 level block
6 luxurious apartments to one apartment block

Spacious living hall
Spacious living hall with a sea view

Master bedroom with grand beach view
Master bedroom with grand beach view

Fully equipped kitchen
Fully equipped kitchen – coffee maker, ice maker, oven, stove

Alternatively, you can have the kids, grandparents and yourself living in one apartment or have a boisterous party of 4 to 8 adults and yet be able to retreat to your own personal bedroom at the end of the day. Cook, wash and entertain as you like or pick up the phone and get the resort to provide full housekeeping, F&B and entertainment services.

Other than the facilities provided within the apartment, the resort also has a restaurant, wine bar, health club, swimming pool and a spa (not completed when we were there). Or the resort concierge is able to arrange day trips, rent a car or even send you to the beach if you wish. We organised a day trip and a rental car with the concierge and were surprised that prices are exactly the same as we would have paid if we had approached any tour shops down the road. No ridiculous mark-up as some hotel are apt to do.

Swim at the 30m public lap pool
Swim and suntan at the 30m resort public lap pool

IMG_0578
Or swim and suntan at your own private infinity-view pool

The resort is just a short 400 metres to the nearest beach. Take a short 10 minutes walk there by yourself or the resort can arrange to drive you there. And if you specify a time, even come and fetch you back to the resort. The Kamala beach is on a cove and hence, the waves are not rough and the sand is powdery as Phuket’s beaches are famous for. Incredibly, Andara Resort even has their own private space along the beach and as a guest, you’ll get comfortable deck chairs, towels and even flotation devices while everyone else at the beach will have to pay for their deck chairs and bring their own towels!

Along the beach is a great variety of restaurants, shops and massage palours. You can relax at the beach, wine and dine, shop and have a massage and just give a call and the resort will send a vehicle to send you right back to your apartment. Simply heavenly.

You can also easily get a taxi to explore other parts of Phuket (Patong Beach 20 mins; Phuket Town 30 mins), join the many day tours to go island hopping, elephant trekking, fishing, diving, watch Thai boxing or cabaret shows or perhaps like us, rent a car and go explore the entire Phuket island via a series of good roads.

The Andara Resort is scheduled for it’s official opening only on 12 February 2010. Hence, this is an absolutely brand new resort and you must be aware that final renovation and landscaping work is still an on-going process and may mar an otherwise perfect holiday with some noise and dirt.

Of course, the advantage of checking into a brand new resort also mean that everything still feel and smell brand new and if you’re lucky like us, the likelihood of being upgraded to a higher class suite or penthouse is very high!

Tags:

Review: The Orientist Spa @ Central World Plaza, Bangkok

Once again, I’m back in Bangkok, Thailand for a short weekend trip. This time, it is not for business but solely for leisure….. i.e. shopping, dining and most importantly, visiting a Thai Spa. Nice bliss from work anytime!

I have been to Bangkok so many times but was hardly familiar with Bangkok’s shopping malls. There were simply too many shopping malls, too many shops and too little time. I also tend to spend too much time at street markets, checking out Thai eateries and visiting spas that I hardly have time for shopping malls.

This time, like a good shopping tactician, I made plans to shop solely at the Central World Plaza. My online research tells me that The Orientist Spa is also located at the Central World Plaza, Bangkok. Further research indicated that The Orientist Spa is famous for using traditional Thai herbs and techniques to give visitors the full benefit of traditional Thai spa and massage traditions. This certainly sounds interesting and worth a visit.

There are three Orientist Spa branches in Bangkok and they are Ari Branch, Ladprao Branch and Central World Branch.  Each branch is conveniently located near subway stations in Bangkok. Since my target was The Central World Plaza, the Orientist Spa of Central World Branch was my target.

Central World Plaza
Central World Plaza

The Central World Plaza , a huge recently renovated mall, was formerly known as the World Trade Centre. There are two main big department stores in Central World Plaza, namely the Zen Department store and Isetan department store.In addition to these 2 key anchor departmental store tenants, you can find food courts, supermarket, cinemas, shops and plenty of restaurants. This shopping mall has more than 500 shops and no less than 50 restaurants. Many famous international brands and almost all Thai brands are well represented here.

It took me and my girlfriend some time to locate The Orientist Spa at Central World Plaza since the complex is so huge. The Orientist Spa is located on the 6th floor near the Toy R Us store. As we did not make any prior appointment, we thought we might just try our luck to see if there were any vacant slots.

The reception area of The Orientist Spa is bright and comfy with soft music and a strong herbal aroma floating from the oil burner. On each side of the reception area, there are comfy sofa for guest to seat and relax while waiting for their massage.

Reception area
Reception Area

We asked if there were any slots available for massage and the soft spoken lady handling the reception apologized that there were currently no empty slot till two hours later (we were at the spa around 1pm). She also explained to us their spa packages and we eventually booked for the next available slot. We went for further shopping and make short work of the two hours wait.

We started our spa session with a serving of cold flowered tea and was asked to choose the type of oil we would like to use for our massage. The 3 kinds of aromatic oil were their own in-house blend, Thai herbs and Lavender oil. Both my girlfriend and I chose our desired fragrance and shortly our masseurs greeted us with the traditional Thai ‘Wai’ greeting. We were then led to our treatment rooms.

Treatment room
Private treatment room

Surprisingly, the spa is quite big, I saw many treatment rooms along the walkway and one area solely for Thai massage as we walked to our dedicated treatment room.

I wanted to tell my masseur that I would like to take a shower before I start my treatment. However, before I could say anything, she asked if I would like to take a shower. This is so attentive.

We had opted for a 2hrs & 15 mins Orientist Refreshing Body Spa Package which consists of a Scrub with curcuma/grape seed, a facial mask with curcum and a 60mins aromatherapy massage.

Overall, I enjoyed the treatments. However, the initial part of the massage was not very comfortable as perhaps there was too much oil on the palm of the masseur and she slipped off twice in a row when she was trying to massage my back.  This caused some discomfort and I believe this was due to the lack of experience of the masseur.

Another setback was that the treatment rooms are not sound proof and I could hear the person next door chatting away with her masseur clearly. Either the spa should make their rooms more soundproof or discourage their masseurs from engaging in loud conversation with customers.

The Orientist Spa is perfectly poised as an exclusive relaxation oasis to relax and relieve tired and over-shopped shoppers and tourists in this large shopping mall. Do look out for it if you are ever shopping in this part of Bangkok.

Tips: If you are a tourist or first timer, the spa offers a 20% discount on top of the regular price.

Location of The Orientist Spa @ Central World Plaza, Bangkok
Level 6, Asian Senses (Dazzle Zone), Central World, Rajdamri Rd, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Size: Mid size spa with mostly private rooms. Hydro-massage bath and jacuzzi available in some of the rooms.
Facilities:
Mid size massage rooms. One area dedicated for foot massage and the other for Thai massage.
Friendliness: Polite staff and good massage therapists.
Pricing: Starts from US$20 for a facial, wrap or bath. US$40 for Body massage. Various spa and beauty packages available and starts from US$70.

Pix credits: http://cdn.wn.com and http://www.theorientistspa.com

Tags:

Review: Kim Spa, Phuket Town, Thailand

Kim SpaOn my last trip to Phuket, Thailand, we rented a car and drove around this popular Thai tourist island. One of our destination was Phuket Town.

Phuket Town is an old town and the administrative centre on Phuket island. There are distinct Muslim, Thai and Chinese enclaves and it is clear that Chinese influence in the town is obvious with a good number of Chinese temples and Chinese old-time architecture houses.

Phuket Town is off the regular tourist route and the entire town was sleepy and quiet on the Sunday that we drove in. Tourists tend to spend more time in the beach where almost everything is available as well rather then to come to town. Tourists who do come to Phuket Town tend to congregate downtown where a few modern shopping malls, large bargain-price markets, fast food restaurants and souvenir shops were gathered.

Among these few busy streets were a couple of small but modern and clean spas. These spas offered almost similar type of treatments and prices were very competitive – even lower than those available at the beach.

I guess it was because there were only a few streets in Phuket town that tourists congregate so the local spa operators have no choice but to stay competitive. I was particularly attracted to one of the promotion package that Kim Spa, one of these small spas, offered. The spa and massage promotion package consists of a body scrub (60 mins), choice of massage (60 mins) and a facial treatment (60 mins) – a total of 3 hours treatment for the unbelievable low price of 900 Baht or US$30!

I was in Spa heaven and chose to try out Kim Spa immediately! Kim Spa has a nicely decorated reception and rest area. On the first floor, it has about 10 cosy massage chairs for foot reflexology and a small corner for a foot bath. The 2nd floor is for Thai massage (beds are on floor) and 3rd floor is for facial and other body massage treatments.

My hubby opted for a foot massage and Thai massage for 2 hours. I opted for the 3 hours spa promotion package. While waiting for my masseur to prepare the treatment room, I whispered to my hubby that I couldn’t believe a body scrub treatment can last for 60 minutes. I kept telling myself … how much time can one person scrub the body? Will my skin drop off??

Shortly, we were led by our masseurs to our treatment rooms. My hubby started his foot bath on the 1st floor which is an open area foot massage area. I was led to the 3rd floor which had private treatment room and en suite shower. My masseur greeted me with the traditional Thai way “sawadee ka” with both hands together and bowed.

Although language was a barrier, we had no problem “communicating” with each other by sign and body language. The masseur indeed did a thorough body scrub and for sure she took more than 40 minutes before heading me to to the shower. My choice of Swedish massage was, in my opinion, average but the facial treatment was indeed refreshing. The masseur went through 2 to 3 rounds of scrubbing and cleansing my face. She then placed many layers of cucumbers on my face that made me feel very “cool” and relaxed. The smell of the cucumber were so refreshing. The facial ended with a cold mask and facial massage.

When my treatments were completed, the masseur led me to the reception area to relax and enjoy their complimentary floral tea. Overall, I must say this place is value for money, environment is neat and clean and most importantly, the staff were friendly and not pushy.

However, my husband who is an addict of hard massage was not impressed with their Thai massage and reflexology skills. He claim that the Thai and foot massage here were “too soft” and obviously toned down to cater to the many farangs(Thai for Caucasian foreigners) tourists in Phuket. He feels that shabby run-down massage shops run by old ladies offer the most true and authentic ancient Thai massage with the accompanying body-distorting poses, back standing and bone cracking twists. He feels that this is the ultimate form of massage! Funny guy!

Location of Kim Spa
Phuket Town, Phuket, Thailand
Size: 3 storey shop units with massage chairs on the ground floor and individual rooms on 2nd and 3rd level
Facilities: Toilet, shower and rest area

Friendliness: Polite staff and good massage therapists.
Pricing: Starts from US$20 for a facial, wrap, bath or body massage. Various spa and massage packages available and starts from US$60.

Tags:

Review: TwinPalms Resort, Phuket, Thailand

TwinPalms Beach Resort Hotel
The long lap pool

Phuket is one of my favourite beach and spa resort destination in Thailand. It is a short flight from Singapore (2 hours), has nice white powdery beaches, clean blue ocean, wonderful spas and resorts and last but not least, my favourite Thai food.On my last trip, I chose to stay at Twinpalms Phuket Resort Hotel, located at Surin Beach, Phuket, Thailand. Twinpalms Resort Phuket is a luxury boutique hotel opened in late 2004. With only 76 rooms and suites, it is not too large to lose the warm and personal touch and not too small to lack the proper facilities either.

We booked the hotel via the internet. We chose TwinPalms Resort because it had very good web reviews from ex-guests who rate it highly for it’s modern and unique design, attentive service, large rooms and toilets, quiet and exclusive environment and closeness to the beach. Although a little more expensive than most beach resorts, we were prepared to pay more to avoid overcrowded or noisy beach resorts.

Room and greenery
The large bedroom

Upon arrival at Phuket airport, we were picked up by the hotel limousine (complimentary from the hotel). A very friendly Thai driver who spoke simple English greeted us at the arrival gate and we were served with chilled distilled water as soon as he drove the car over to pick us up. Twinpalms Resort, Phuket is located at a short 20 minutes drive from the Phuket International Airport.(We were lucky; two days after our departure, Phuket airport was closed for 3 days due to political demonstrations in the airport @ 31 August 2008)

Twinplams large bathroom
The large bathroom

When we arrived at the hotel, the check-in was smooth. One of the nice thing about checking into Phuket beach resorts is that you sit at a sofa while the receiving hotel staff goes through the paperwork and will come to you when they finish. While waiting to go through the check-in process, we were served with a cool welcome drink and scented flowers.

Once the formalities were done, a hotel customer relation officer explained to us the facilities available in the resort while leading us to our room. The hotel has a well equipped modern gym, a wine-bar, a cafe, a beach club and a library. The library also serve as a outdoor trip booking facility and has an excellent selection of books, magazines and games. There are also two 20 inches Apple iMac for guests to browse the internet in the library.

We were then led to our room which was located on the ground floor facing the pool. The room was spacious with a beautiful king-size bed and a equally large bathroom with a full wall of glass which looked onto an enclosed garden area with overhead rain shower and hand shower. Two separate sinks and fully supplied aromatherapy-infused toiletries add to the glamour of the bathroom. The hotel also offers free internet service within the hotel and rooms.

The resort is a short 5 minutes walk to Surin Beach. Hotels in Phuket are clustered around popular beaches and often ended up crowded, noisy and dirty. Surin beach, on the other hand, is not too crowded and is just nice for a relaxing beach holiday. TwinPalms Resort even has their own restaurant and beach chairs right by the beach.

We really enjoyed staying at Twinpalms Resort, Phuket and rate it as one of the better beach resort we have been to. The resort even has a complimentary 15-minute back and shoulder massage for arriving hotel guests. Try it and you will definitely want to book your next spa treatment at the TwinPalms Spa!

Note: TwinPalms Resort, Phuket is highly recommended by me personally if you want a quiet and pampered beach holiday!

Check out Twinpalms Phuket Resort

Tags:

Relaxation Massage & Spa, Bangkok: Thailand

Thai Herbal BagI would not have come across this small but friendly spa boutique in Bangkok if I did not have a bad experience with another local spa. (See earlier article)

Relaxation Massage & Spa is a small spa boutique located on the 6th level of Big C Complex in Bangkok. The spa is located on the same level as the cineplex in the building.

As I stepped into the entrance, a smartly-dressed lady was sitting at the reception table talking over the phone in Thai. Although I did not understand a single word of Thai, but from her body language, I could tell she was trying her best to arrange an appointment with the other party.

While waiting for her to finish her conversation, she smiled at me and ushered me to take a seat at the waiting area and handed over their spa treatment price list. Shortly, she came over and explained to me their spa packages. To my surprise, she turned out to be the spa manager, and she spoke good English.

I told her my needs and she recommended their 2.5 hrs Herbal Rejuvenate Package which consisted of a Thai Herbal Scrub, Thai Herbal Bag Compress Treatment and a Traditional Thai Massage. I wanted a Thai traditional spa package and not having tried a Thai Herbal Compress Bag treatment previously, I agreed immediately.

It was almost 9pm when we walked into the spa and it closes at 10:30pm. The receptionist was very nice to ask if the therapists were willing to stay later than their usual working hours before committing to us. We were glad that they were willing to accommodate the extra late hours.

We started off with a a complimentary 15 mins floral foot bath. We then started on the Thai Massage and then it was the turn for the herbal bag treatment.

I was looking forward to the Thai Herbal Bag treatment. First, the Thai Herbal Bag was heated up in a hot pot. The therapist then used the hot Thai Herbal Massage Bag to quickly dabbed various parts of my back.

Ouch! That’s my first reaction but after a few seconds, as my body began to accept the hot body dabs, I began to enjoy the heat on my back as each dab began to stay longer and longer in one position. I was told that the herbal bag treatment is ideal for aching bones and joints, clearing blocked breathing passage ways and detoxifying the body.

I later read that this unique Thai Herbal Massage Bag or Luk Prakop (Thai hot compress) is one of the most interesting variety of the Thai Traditional massage. More than ten exotic Thai herbs (such as Lemongrass, Plai, Leech Lime, Curcuma, and Galangal) are pounded and put into small bags, heated up and then placed onto various body parts to relieve aches and pains. While under-going treatment, the Thai Herbal Massage Bag also gives a strong yet pleasant aroma.

At the end of the treatment, I was completely relaxed. I was very pleased with their service. The therapists did not do a rush job even though it was way beyond their working hours. I will strongly recommend this spa to fellow avid spa goers and will not forget to go back to them whenever I’m in Bangkok :)

Location of Spa:
6th Floor, Big C Rajchadamri (Opposite Central World Plaza)
Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330

Size of Spa: Three single treatment rooms, one open space of five beds for Thai Massage, 5 foot massage chairs
Facilities: Private Shower and jacuzzi

Friendliness: Extremely polite receptionist and massage therapists. Speaks good English.
Pricing: Ranges from US$18 to US$45 for massage only. Between US$85 to US$175 for spa packages. (The spa was having a 15% discount for spa packages when we were there)

Pix credit: http://www.wadudcorp.com

Tags:

Bad, Naughty Spa

Thumbs DownThailand is well-known around the world for it’s polite people and good customer service standards. Spa and massage services are extremely popular among locals and tourists alike and there seems to be a small or large massage facility in every street in Bangkok offering the ever popular foot massage or Thai body massage.

Spa business is good and customer service has always been excellent where-ever you go; small and big massage facility alike. Until this one …

We were staying at the Amari Watergate hotel which is just a stone throw away from the Big C Complex, just opposite the Siam Square shopping mall. Both are popular tourist shopping malls and just next to the Big C Complex is the Indrana Spa.

Now, any seasoned tourist in Bangkok knows that if you’re looking for traditional Thai massage services, you can get them at any massage facility down the street and pay 1/3 the price for the same massage in a hotel spa. Unless you’re looking for Western-style massage services such as body wraps, aromatherapy, facials or hydro-massage, there’s really no need to use a hotel spa.

Indrana Spa is a fairly large non-hotel spa and I especially like their tag-line – 5 star massage services at 2 star prices. We walked into the spa and made enquiries with the receptionist. We were shown a spa menu and we deliberated about the packages we would like to take because the spa packages prices were indeed excellent. In fact, we were even planning our next few days activities around the spa packages we intend to take up here…

However, because of a prior dinner appointment, we decided that we’ll make our first treatment on the next day. What happen next shocked us … when the receptionist found out that we were not taking a spa package on the spot, the plastic smile she had on disappeared immediately and she literally snatched the menu from our hands! She continued to ignore us even when we were the only people at the reception area and wanted to tell her we were booking for tomorrow!

I had always recommended small and medium spa facilities in Bangkok because they offer excellent service at good prices. Never, ever had I been subjected to such rude and indifferent service attitude – expecially not so in Thailand!

Although this spa does indeed offer spa packages at good price, we decided to boycott this establishment. For the next few days, we bought multiple spa packages at an excellent spa establishment on the 6th floor of the Big C complex even though they cost more.

Spa consumers unite! Thumbs down to bad service!

Tags:

Sivara Spa, Bangkok, Thailand

Sivara SpaSivara Spa is a luxury chain spa exclusive to Amari Hotels and Resorts in various parts of Thailand (Bangkok, Koh Chang, Krabi, Patttaya, Phuket, Samui, Trang)

On my last trip to Bangkok, I stayed at the Amari Watergate and Sivara Spa is tucked away on the 8th floor of the hotel and facing the swimming pool and health centre.

The Sivara Spa at the Amari Watergate Hotel in Bangkok is newly renovated to a modern and contemporary Thai style. As you walk into the reception, you can find a delightful interplay of bronze “lotus flowers”, water walkways, stones, curtains, candlelight and flowers.

There are three spacious zen-themed double rooms and 5 single treatment rooms. Each of the themed double rooms is assigned to a signature treatment.

In the spa brochure own words, the various themes for the treatment rooms are:

The Mystical Forest room harnesses the spirit of the forest and allows guests to meditate on the power of nature. This botanically-inspired room features a tropical rain shower to wash away the stress of the day. The refreshing blends of essential oils used for the massages will leave the body feeling rejuvenated.

In Floral Bloom room, you can guarantee that tension will drain away and the spirit will be revived with a rose petal bath in this floral paradise. The fragrances of flowers will cleanse and purify your soul, whilst the ylang ylang, lavender and marjoram essential oils, used in the treatments, provide the ultimate feminine indulgence.

In the Herbal Inspiration room, the healing qualities of herbs – known for centuries, as nature’s gift to mankind – are combined with luxurious pampering.

I opted for the “Sarada Package” (2hrs) treatment which comprises a oil massage & facial. I was not keen to do a facial and the receptionist was flexible enough to change the facial to a body scrub instead.

From the lighting and temperature in the room, to the volume of music and pressure applied during massages or scrubs, the therapist was so caring and considerate for my entire treatment. The gentle therapist at the spa truly live up to the gracious spirit of the Thai’s spa culture.

For total relaxation, the Sivara Spa also offer a complete range of massage, spa, facial and body treatments. The selection of treatments include Thai and oil massages, body polishes and wraps, facials, and even a customized half day, full day, multi-days spa program. There is also the awesome 4-hands massage, which has become the signature treatment of high-end Thailand’s spa, but due to time constraints, I could not find time for this famous treatment.

The prices in the Sivara Spa are typical of hotel spas and are hence slightly on the high side. If you are a guest of the hotel, make sure you pick up a discount voucher at the hotel conceige which will entitle you to a 10% discount and a free floral foot bath.

Note: The Amari hotel and Sivara spa also has a honeymoon package and ultimate relaxation spa package at special prices for a minimum 2 nights stay. Do check the hotel website for promotion details. 

Location of Spa: Amari Watergate Hotel, 847 Petchburi Road Bangkok 10400, Thailand
Size of Spa: Three couple treatment rooms, five single rooms
Facilities: Private Shower and jacuzzi in couple’s room

Friendliness: Extremely polite receptionist and massage therapists
Pricing: Ranges from US$60 to US$120 for massage only. Between US$115 to US$220 for spa packages. Gift certificates and membership schemes available.

Tags:

Amari Watergate, Bangkok:Thailand

Amari WatergateBangkok has always been a popular holiday destination for tourists from all over the world. Bangkok is the ideal holiday city because it has great shopping bargains, wonderful food, excellent nightlife, pleasant people, fascinating culture and history, awe-inspiring temples and palaces, great massages and many more enticing features.

Tourists from all over Asia tend to make Bangkok a quick weekend getaway holiday destination while those from further away such as Europe or USA may spend weeks and even months in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand.

Accommodation standard in Bangkok can differ in quality and prices tremendously. Unfortunately, Bangkok also suffer from massive traffic jams, crowded and noisy streets, a polluted environment and constant hot sun or torrential downpour. Tourists, especially from non-Asia countries will find their energy and strength sapped quickly by the sun and the noisy and crowded environment.

Here’s a recommendation for good hotel accommodation to stay healthy and constantly re-charged in Bangkok. Check into this excellent Amari Watergate hotel! Here’s why I am recommending this hotel:

  • Excellent location – Located in the middle of a shopping district so you never need to walk too far
  • Short walking distance to the Skytrain – Bangkok’s mass rapid transit system to beat the traffic jam
  • 5-star quality modern rooms and facilities
  • Great breakfast spread every morning
  • Street hawker food and excellent restaurants all round the hotel
  • Excellent in-house swimming pool, gym, spa and health facilities

The hotel lay smack in the middle of a busy and noisy street intersection filled with street-side vendors, large shopping malls and besides the infamous Pantip Plaza computer mall and the Pratunam fashion warehouses.

Amari WatergateComing back to the hotel from all the noise, heat and people is often a relief in itself. And after a day or two of Bangkok, you’ll somehow want to find your oasis of peace and the Amari hotel offer exactly that. They have a good swimming pool, an excellent gym and studio, two squash courts as well as a health centre that is maintained by Clark Hatch fitness centre on the 8th floor of the hotel.

Sun-tan at the pool or work out on the gym machines or practise your Yoga at the studio. Or use the sauna, steam room or the hot-pool at the health centre. I guarantee that it will drain away all the exhaustion from all the walking and shopping as well as re-charge you for the next shopping session! I particularly like the health centre as it is brand-new and the hot jacuzzi even has a large 42″ LCD for you to relax to!

And if this is not enough to re-charge you, there’s always the Sivara Spa, an excellent quality spa located at the same level where you can further relax to. Try out the 4-hand massage if you dare… you’ll never want to try any other kind of massage after this!

Amari Watergate Hotel
847 Petchburi Road Bangkok 10400
Bangkok, Thailand
Tel. +66 (0) 2653 9000
Fax. +66 (0) 2653 9045

Tags:

Next Page »