Away from the clamour and
heat of the hectic city streets
lies another Bangkok: this city
is a world of luxury spas and leisurely pampering.
Within these urban temples of tranquil indulgence, you will find everything from hammams and Ayurveda to traditional Thai treatments, anti-ageing, slimming, smoothing and grooming therapies and treatments.
Here is our pick of the top six decadent destinations to refresh and rejuvenate.
AWAY SPA, W HOTEL
The theme of metamorphosis is played out in this spa’s interiors with its snakeskin tiles, butterfly wire artworks, personalised lighting and decadent therapies, which include a diamond powder scrub and a 24-carat “Golden Retreat” mini-facial and massage. plus a stunning hammam.
106 North Sathorn Road, Silom, +66 2 344 4000.
THE SPA, PENINSULA BANGKOK
World-class pampering and anti-ageing treatments make this spa a stand-out. Facials get a star turn from French cult classic, Biologique Recherche, with advanced AHAs and enzyme peels, cellular regeneration and an electric pulsing, non-invasive face remodelling machine. There are colour therapy baths, Ayurvedic rooms and pre- and postnatal treatments. The “Simply Peninsula Royal Thai” massage is a must – once reserved for royalty, it combines acupressure and muscle stretching along energy lines to rejuvenate and restore.
333 Charoennakorn Road, Klongsan, +66 2 020 2888.
ORIENTAL SPA, MANDARIN ORIENTAL
Bangkok’s first luxury hotel spa is also its most popular. On the banks of the Chao Phraya River, a short boat ride from the main hotel, this halcyon haven set in a restored antique house specialises in Thai and Ayurvedic spa treatments and a range of massages from around the world: jet lag, Swedish and the deeply relaxing Hawaiian lomi lomi are a few. For uber-pampering, treat yourself to a personalised extended wellness programme of several days of exercise, yoga, meditation and massage.
48 Oriental Avenue, +66 2 659 9000.
OPIUM SPA, THE SIAM HOTEL
Step back in time to the elegance of the 1920s at this lavish uptown spa. There are exclusive Sodashi spa therapies, a sacred Sak Yant tattoo room (the tattoo style made famous by Angelina Jolie),
a sumptuous hammam bathhouse, dry and steam saunas,
steam showers and jacuzzis. For the ultimate de-stressor, the 60-
or 90-minute “Muay Thai Massage” is a winner. Combining slow strokes and firm pressure it will leave you feeling completely relaxed.
3/2 Thanon Khao Vachirapayabal Dusit, +66 2 206 6999.
ANANTARA SPA, ANANTARA RIVERSIDE
Massage is king at this oasis on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. There are nine treatment rooms, kitted out with a distinctly Thai theme, and a spa menu that takes its lead from traditional Thai therapies – signature, no oil and herbal compress massages – as well as Ayurveda. Luxe skin treatments by Elemis, UK’s leading anti-ageing spa range, and plenty of antioxidant-rich scrubs are sure to give your skin a glow. For a cool and speedy ride, take the hotel longtail boat from BKK station.
257/1-3 Charoennakorn Road, +66 2 476 0022.
I-SAWAN SPA, GRAND HYATT ERAWAN BANGKOK
This is the ultimate day spa with products by UK spa doyenne June Jacobs and treatments inspired by the “fifth level of heaven” in private poolside bungalows. For beauty on the run, choose the 30-, 60- or 90-minute all-in-one body treatment, a supremely smoothing combination scrub, wrap and massage. For complete beauty decadence, indulge in a half- or full-day spa treatment and enjoy complimentary use of the fitness centre, and rooftop pool – a serene spot framed by fragrant frangipani trees.
494 Rajdamri Road, +66 2 254 1234.
5 Lesser Known Islands To Visit
Find authenticity and a return to Thailand’s unspoilt beauty by getting off the grid.
Koh Bulon Lae
This idyllic island is in Petra National Park, 30 minutes by boat from Pak Bara, and it claims to have the most relaxing beach in Thailand. Enjoy scenic hikes to the jungle, rubber plantations and more. The best of the resorts is Pansand.
The main island in the Andaman Sea National Park archipelago is 70 kilometres off the coast of Phang Nga Province. It’s renowned for snorkelling, scuba diving and Elephant Head Rock. Camping is the only option.
Koh Nang yuan
This set of three rocky outcrops is connected by strips of sand that disappear at high tide; a 250-metre zipline connects two. Nangyuan Island Dive Resort is the only accommodation; take time to explore the dive sites.
Described as “probably Thailand’s best-kept secret”, Koh Phayam has enough development to be comfortable while still retaining its character – perfect beaches, no cars and fresh seafood. It’s two hours by ferry (45 minutes by speedboat) from Ranong.
Koh Lao Liang
Thirty kilometres off the coast of Trang, this twin rock island features karst limestone cliffs and is popular for rock climbing. This tiny island limits the number of visitors to protect its near-shore coral. The only accommodation is Laoliang Island Resort.