Thailand is known for its spectacular spa resorts and to my mind, Chiva-Som is among its best. Located near the king’s summer palace of Hua Hin, Chiva-Som is private, luxurious and exclusive so if you’re doing Thailand on the cheap, as many of us do, this is one of two places I say ‘splurge’. The other is the famed Oriental Hotel in Bangkok – for bragging rights if nothing else.
Haven for Rejuvenation
Chiva-Som Health Resort offers a total rejuvenating holiday experience, incorporating a holistic approach to wellness in its design, philosophy and daily operation.
The wellness facilities are superb. There are more than 30 spa treatment rooms with open air spaces, as well as facilities such as a music therapy room, a floatation chamber for de-stressing, a high-tech gym, saunas, multi-level steam rooms, Jacuzzis and assorted pools to enjoy. Because of its wellness focus, all guests receive a private consultation to develop a plan that will match their needs and goals, whether that’s for weight loss, stress reduction, or the joys of ultra pampering. Qualified in many disciplines, Chiva-Som’s team of holistic health practitioners can offer guidance in nutrition and lifestyles as well as therapies such as Aromatherapy, Shiatsu, Naturopathy, Acupuncture and more.
Four Hand Rhythm
Personally, the four-hand massage was my favorite. Two therapists work in unison on the left and right side of your body, and once your mind stops judging whether each is in perfect synchronization with the other, the rest of the treatment is a blur of relaxation. There’s a musicality of their rhythm that lulls every muscle into submission while the fight between left brain-right brain concedes all argument.
A blend of ancient eastern and modern western techniques, and medical services, Chiva-Som therapies also include Thai massage, body wraps, cleansing, firming and relaxing facials, and oriental foot rituals, alongside Shiatsu, Watsu, Reiki, and Che Nei Tsang, classes in Tai chi, Qi Gong, Pilates, and many others. There’s even kayaking.
More than a Health Resort
To describe Chiva-Som as only a health resort, however, fails to recognize the extraordinary kaleidoscope of culture, lifestyle and cuisine you’ll find.
Each of its 50 Thai-styled rooms is luxuriously appointed with marble bathrooms, Thai sculptures, and private balconies or terraces from which to drink in the tranquil views and Chiva-Som atmosphere. The seven suites are even more impressive, and include the services of a private butler, 24-hours a day.
Dining, also, is first class, garnering many an award from Condé Nast Magazine and others. A treat for your culinary senses, their Asian and Western specialties use only produce, herbs and spices from the Resort’s own organic gardens, and prove that low calorie, nutritious food can be a gourmet experience. If weight loss is your goal, a qualified dietician will guide your menu selections. Cleansing diets are also available.
My Last Word
True to the meaning of its name, I discovered Chiva-Som to be an exotic haven that many spas claim but that few deliver.