Windstar, Condé Nast Traveler’s number one small ship cruise line, is tackling Asia for the first time. I sailed on the newly acquired Star Pride power yacht on the first Palaces and Pagodas voyage to Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. From trying durian and baby corn Malaysian ice cream in Pengang to the lush nature in Langkawi, each of our eight ports was unique and memorable.
WindSpa is the on-ship spa and salon, offering massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and hair services, along with a GoSMILE tooth whitening treatment. No matter what you need, you’ll be able to look and feel your best while on vacation. Although the facilities are small – there are just three treatment rooms and one pedicure chair – everyone on staff is top notch. I actually enjoyed my Thai massage on board even more than the one I received in Phuket. Two muslin poultices filled with turmeric, lemongrass, kaffir lime, patchouli, tamarind, and other herbs open the pores and help soothe sore and tight muscles. My massage therapist, a sweet woman named Arcel, was both gentle with Thai stretching but firm with deep-tissue work. I could even keep the poultices to re-steam and use again at home.
A couple days later, in Phuket, I had a chance to visit Sukkho Cultural & Wellness Spa. Ancient Thai massages, heat therapies, and indigenous herbal treatments are all available here. I was welcomed with a gong ceremony to wake me up and chilled lemongrass tea that was an interesting shade of Windex-blue. Then I selected between four scrubs and four body oils for my treatment. I opted for a dark herbal coffee scrub that resembled rough soil followed by Siam jasmine body oil for my massage.
Thai-style facials are very different from their European counterparts. Instead of bright lights, extractions, oxygenating machines, and serums, the focus is on gentle cleansing and facial massage. The soothing aloe vera mask that came next was just what I needed after several days in the hot sun. A little moisturizer and powder finished the experience. I’ve never had my face powdered at the end of a facial before, but it gave my skin an even matte look.
For anyone looking for a more cosmetic spa experience, I recommend the GoSMILE teeth whitening treatment with WindSpa. I’d never tried teeth whitening before, but this was a quick and painless procedure. It takes just 30 minutes to make yellow or brown stained teeth up to six shades whiter. Ampules were applied to my teeth and I sat under a UV lamp for two rounds of eight-minute whitening. The rubber apparatus you use to keep your mouth open is a little unwieldy but not too uncomfortable. The small but mighty spa and personal touches like L’Occitane toiletries and the staff calling me by name from my first day separate Windstar from its competitors.
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