Around the World in 80 Spas | Part 4: Asia
Part 4 of our Around the World in 80 Spas leads us to travel along the magnificent Asian spa road, where ancient spa traditions fuse with brilliant settings and unique rituals, and wellness inspirations are woven into everyday life. There are too many hot spas to count, so here’s just a sample — and be sure to let us know what your top spas in Asia are in the comments section. Planning a spa trip to Asia? Find where to spa, places to see, spots to dine, travel tips and more in our Asia Guide. Presented by The Peninsula Hotels (The Peninsula Bangkok pictured). Read more about the luxury Peninsula brand here.
The Peninsula Hong Kong – Hong Kong S.A.R
The Peninsula Hong Kong has long been one of Asia’s oldest and most illustrious hotels since its 1928 opening (guests like Charlie Chaplin and Clark Gable have visited here!), and the opulent hotel on Victoria Harbor, the brand’s flagship property, continues to attract a VIP clientele with its five-star service and Peninsula Spa. Indulge in proprietary spa ceremonies that begin with a tea service, in-depth consult and soothing foot ritual.
Capella Singapore – Sentosa, Singapore
Our next hot spa brings you to Sentosa Island, where you’ll find this oasis surrounded by rainforest and the South China Sea. Auriga Spa has nine treatment rooms with private outdoor gardens, a vitality pool surrounded by tropical forest, ice fountains and herbal steam baths and services that combine Malay and Chinese legacies with the balancing celestial rhythms.
The Datai – Langkawi, Malaysia
It doesn’t get more heavenly than this: an ancient rainforest setting off the northwestern tip of Langkawi island, open-air treatment pavilions where you’ll engage in healing traditions from the East, and a private beach overlooking the Andaman Sea. When you’re not spa-ing, snorkeling or hitting the links at the adjacent Datai Bay Golf Club, head to the award-winning, open-air Gulai House.
The Nam Hai – Hoi An, Vietnam
The Nam Hai, on the central coast of Hoi An, overlooking superb East Sea vistas, has all the makings of a spa-lover’s dream: a modern, minimalist design esthetic; a powder-white mile-long stretch of beach; holistic Asian heritage-inspired therapies; and treatment villas appointed with a changing area, chromatherapy bath and steam shower bordering a lotus pond.
Soneva Fushi – Baa Atoll, Republic of Maldives
This desert island hideaway is the definition of barefoot luxury — kick off your shoes during the 30-minute seaplane ride to the island and leave them off until it’s time to return home. Curl your toes on the white sand of pristine beaches, dine on contemporary Maldivian cuisine, including organic produce and fresh seafood, pamper yourself with treatments like the Kurumbaa Kaashi Coconut Rub and live the SLOW LIFE: (Sustainable, Local, Organic, Wellness – Learning, Inspiring, Fun, Experiences).
The Peninsula Bangkok – Bangkok, Thailand
You’ll notice this luxury hotel’s wave-shape far before you reach the property, set on the west bank of the Chao Phraya, not far from Bangkok’s business and shopping districts. The Peninsula Spa has its own alluring design esthetic, housed in a three-story Thai colonial-style building. Inside, indulge in an Asian tea lounge, cold plunge pool and Thai, European and Ayurvedic treatments developed by ESPA.
Windsor Hotel Toya – Shimizu, Japan
Host of the 2008 G8 Summit, Windsor Hotel Toya in Hokkaido is perched atop the 625-meter-high Mountain Poromoi, located between Lake Toya and the Uchiura Bay. Highlights of its Bloom Spa Toya are steeped in rich tradition and include an onsen (sukiya-style hot spring), a reflexology salon and treatments that utilize seasonal elements indigenous to the region.
Fivelements, Puri Ahimsa – Bali, Indonesia
Picture this: Holding a warrior pose or sitting in quiet meditation against the backdrop of the revered Ayung River. At Fivelements, that’s reality, not just fantasy. Awarded Destination of the Year at the 2011 AsiaSpa Awards, this healing-based sanctuary enchants with ample wellness pursuits—yoga, meditation, martial arts, blessing ceremonies, etc.—and Balinese-inspired spa therapies that use organic plant-based extracts, freshly garden-picked and prepared using ancient usadha herbal recipes in the spa’s laboratorium.
Chiva-Som – Hua Hin, Thailand
Chiva-Som’s name means “haven of life,” and we have to agree. This iconic beachside Chiva-Som, one of the first destination spas in Asia, boasts 150-plus wellness treatments performed by a staff of 85 estheticians, medical doctors, nutritionists, personal fitness trainers and complementary health providers. Its warm Thai hospitality, luxury and healthy living philosophy has helped the spa continuously win awards.
Vivanta by Taj – Bekal. Kerala – Kasaragod, India
Set along the shores of the palm-fringed backwaters of Kerala, Vivanta by Taj is as romantic and isolated as its design is dramatic. Laterite stone sculptures and consecrated tuskers are found throughout, and guest accommodations are inspired by Kettuvallam houseboats. Head to Jiva Grande Spa (whose own esthetic is based upon vatsu origins, the traditional Indian canon of space planning) for time-honored therapies and trips to the Indian Mud Bath Pavilion and Homa Kund, or sacred fire pit, then pay a visit to the swimming pool, overlooking the Arabian Sea and Kappil River.
The Peninsula Shanghai – Shanghai, China
The Peninsula Shanghai is not just known for its glitzy art-deco design and unparalleled luxury service, but also for its Five-Star Peninsula Spa by ESPA, voted “Best Hotel Spa” in the SpaChina Awards 2011. Find your escape here in the Asian Tea Lounge, in the relaxation lounge with fireplace or in one of the seven treatment rooms, including two private VIP suites – all fashioned in colonial period-inspired decor with ivory marble and dark wood accents. Photo courtesy of The Peninsula Hotels
The Farm at San Benito – Batangas, Philippines
Set in the foothills of Mount Malarayat, 1,000-plus feet above sea level, The Farm at San Benito is devoted to healthy and mindful living. The award-winning Farm is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary of offering personalized Wellness Holidays or Healing Retreats — dedicated to helping with detox cleansing and obesity to hypertension and diabetes naturally and holistically — under the watchful eye of medical physicians, licensed therapists, movement consultants and living food chefs. Photo courtesy of The Farm at San Benito
MesaStila – Mangelang, Indonesia
MesaStila, located nine hundred meters above the plains of central Java, amidst volcanoes, dense rainforest and sleepy villages, and set on a working coffee plantation that dates back to Dutch Colonial times, will make you feel like you’re on a movie set. Heritage buildings such as a colonial-era railway station and the former residence of Javanese royalty are among the on-site scenery, and the spa is currently Indonesia’s only property to feature two authentic Turkish hammams.
The Chedi Chiang Mai – Chiang Mai, Thailand
Set on the shores of the Mae Ping River, this Leading Spas of the World member is built around a former British consulate’s compound (now the hotel’s restaurant); a more-modern wing houses the spa, health club and guest rooms. Relax with ancient Eastern-inspired rituals in one of the 11 treatment suites — if traveling with your significant other, reserve a dual suite, which comes with an herbal steam area, aromatic sauna and terrazzo bathtub.
The Peninsula Beijing – Beijing, China
We love the sophisticated spa interiors at The Peninsula Beijing, a luxury hotel steps from the Forbidden City. The modern Peninsula Spa includes a glass-encased indoor heated swimming pool and a thermal suite of hot/cold experiences such as saunas, crystal steam rooms, experience showers, ice fountains and relaxation lounges that encourage you to spend the entire day spa-ing. Evocative of the Peninsula Spas collection, indulge in a blend of Asian, Ayurvedic and European philosophies combined with signature rituals by the award-winning ESPA and distinct cultural characteristics of the particular destination (travelers will find the Peninsula brand in nine major cities worldwide—plus, Paris is scheduled to make a 2013 debut) to create a personalized, sensory experience.