Spas in Asia

Vivienne Tang

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Song Saa Private Island

Think weight loss, anti-ageing and stress management, coupled with exotic locations, ancient healing traditions and attentive personal service, and you get a winning recipe to soothe mind, body and spirit. Leading the way in wellness tourism, Asia just seems to have it all. Here is a list of the top 10 spas in Asia. So leave your worries behind and start your well-being journey with one of these award-winning spas and sit back, unwind and be pampered with a vast array of rejuvenating treatments.

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Nihi

1.Spa Safari at Nihi, Sumba Island, Indonesia

Situated on Sumba Island, Indonesia, overlooking the southern Indian Ocean, this Robinson Crusoe-esque gem of a resort is the epitome of a luxurious getaway. Fusing unspoiled nature with once-in-a-lifetime adventures, Nihiwatu redefines luxury. I highly recommend to spend an entire day at its Spa Safari at Nihi Oka, which is just one of the many things to indulge in at this pristine paradise. A 90-minute trek through rolling hills, local villages and rice fields will lead you to Nihi Oka (your private playground for the day), where you’re greeted with a bush-cooked breakfast on a tree platform, followed by unlimited spa treatments in your private cliff-top bale or on the beach. Start with a footbath to soothe tired feet, and your dedicated therapist will massage you into oblivion as you relax and recharge to the calming sound of waves crashing on the shore. If one day simply isn’t enough and you are feeling romantic, opt for the overnight Uma Izzie package, which includes one night at Nihi Oka’s one and only Honeymoon Villa. This is the stuff that dreams are made of.

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Kamalaya

2. Wellness Sanctuary at Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa, Koh Samui, Thailand

The multi-award-winning holistic resort is one of Asia’s top wellness retreats. Built around a monk’s cave, Kamalaya uses integrative holistic medicine and Eastern as well as Western complementary therapies for a balanced approach to physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Kamalaya’s wellness packages include programmes for stress and burnout, detox, optimal fitness, ideal weight, emotional balance, sleep enhancement and yoga. For a more customised wellness experience, the spa team of international practitioners can work with you to create your very own wellness programme. If it is your first time, book at least five or seven nights, as it will take two days to really leave your urban life behind and ease into a slower pace. Spa treatments, which include massages, scrubs, acupuncture, shirodhara, chi nei tsang and much more, are sprinkled throughout your day. Opt for yoga classes, dips in the plunge pools and moments in the steam cavern in-between. A little tip; schedule an evening spa appointment and ask for the treatment room in the corner, built out on stilts. Enjoy this extraordinary treatment to the nature soundtrack of cicadas chirping in the background while taking in the breathtaking sunset.

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Fivelements Retreat Bali

3. Fivelements, Bali, Indonesia

Situated in the Balinese jungle and nestled alongside the Ayung River, Fivelements is an eco-luxury wellness retreat. Famous for its award-winning raw vegan foods, authentic Balinese healing traditions (energy healing, deep bodywork, and meditation) and yoga, the peaceful haven focuses on your relationship with nature by capturing the healing powers of plants and preserving ancient village remedies. Based on traditional Balinese recipes, these superfood ingredients are freshly prepared and also used in the beauty treatments, massages and bathing rituals. Cucumbers are sliced to create hydrating facial masks, and Balinese salt crystals are mixed with virgin coconut oil for rich body scrubs. Furthermore, aloe vera and kaffir lime are pressed for revitalising bath rituals, while raw cacao is heated up for a deeply nourishing body mask. You can choose between the Rejuvenation Retreat, Detox Retreat and the Culinary Retreat. However, there are only nine suites, so if you do plan to stay for a complete wellness programme, be sure to book ahead of time, or pop in for a single spa treatment if you already happen to be in Bali and opt for the signature Chakra Balancing session. The watsu pool is one of my favourite features here. Do book a session to experience this unique aquatic bodywork healing treatment.

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Amanemu

4. Aman Spa at Amanemu, Shima, Japan

Set within a forest in Japanese ryokan style, Amanemu is based on Japan’s centuries-old onsen tradition, built around natural hot springs. The 2,000-square-metre Aman Spa embraces this ancient bathing ritual with two large onsen pavilions and a watsu pool overlooking pearl-studded Ago Bay, the source of world-renowned Mikimoto pearls. The mineral-rich, salt-infused water, recognised for its healing properties, is also incorporated into all its spa treatments, and in each spacious suite, you can soak in your very own square bathtub of hot-spring water. See all your troubles floating away as you soften your tired muscles after a day of exploring the historic pilgrimage routes the region is famous for. The special water can also ease joint and nerve pain and heal skin ailments, as well as burns and cuts. If that’s too much of an aquatic adventure for you, opt for a yoga class, or their herb-based kampo treatment (based on the idea that body and mind are inseparable), which combines local algae, known for its potent antioxidants, and locally sourced pearl powder.

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Ananda in the Himalayas

5. Ananda Spa at Ananda in the Himalayas, Rishikesh, India

Rejuvenate your senses and find inner balance as you commune with nature at this magical destination retreat. Just a short drive from Rishikesh in the north of India, overlooking the snaking Ganges, Ananda is a tranquil wellness haven where you can de-stress and recharge to face everyday life again with new vigour. Spread across 25,000 sq. ft. with an extensive menu of 80 treatments for body and face, 24 treatment rooms, a gymnasium, heated outdoor swimming pool and hydrotherapy facilities, Ananda spa harnesses India’s ancient knowledge of Ayurveda and yoga, matched with an all-encompassing approach to mental, physical and spiritual health, leaving you emotionally uplifted and revitalised. Focus on your optimal fitness and nutrition or achieve your wellness goals with a detox or weight-loss programme and receive life-changing advice and guidance to continue your wellness journey back home.

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Landmark Mandarin Oriental

6. The Oriental Spa at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

One of my all-time favourite spas in Hong Kong is without a doubt The Oriental Spa at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental. Its convenient location, coupled with its outstanding facilities and its skilled therapists, make this spa a must-visit for every wellness enthusiast travelling to Hong Kong. Spread over two floors, this urban sanctuary offers a cocoon-like, serene place of well-being that goes beyond your everyday spa experience. Immersed in this harmonious bubble of nurturing, relaxation and tranquillity, you’ll quickly forget that you’re in the heart of a bustling metropolis. Arrive 60 to 90 minutes before your treatment appointment and take advantage of the facilities to maximise your therapeutic experience. Start your journey in the holistic area, which includes a vitality pool, sauna, crystal steam room, ice fountain, experience shower and a relaxation lounge. As men and women have slightly different facilities, men have the unique opportunity to indulge in a hammam experience, while women can enjoy a rasul treatment. Come for their signature Digital Wellness Escape, or a lymphatic drainage massage, my personal favourite.

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Gaya Island

7. Spa Village Gaya Island on Gaya Island Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

A sanctuary nestled in the hillside of an ancient rainforest and located on an island within the protected Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Sabah, Malaysia, Gaya Island Resort offers a vast amount of adventure experiences, such as kayaking, hiking and snorkelling. However, if relaxation, rejuvenation or simply being pampered is one of your priorities, you’ve come to the right address. I’ve had one of my best massages at this spa, and it is no coincidence as the spa is operated by YTL Hotels’ Spa Village, Malaysia’s award-winning spa brand known to honour the region’s cultural healing traditions. Hidden between lush mangroves, Spa Village Gaya Island is a serene haven surrounded by the island’s distinct flora and fauna. The treatments utilise the freshest local ingredients from its surroundings, including the lowland forests, as well as nearby Mount Kinabalu. A wide selection of spa treatments reflects the rituals of Sabah’s indigenous people, ranging from specialised rice scrubs and coconut hair masks to hot herbal baths and seaweed body wraps. Immerse yourself in the culture of Borneo as you restore balance to your body and soul in this cocoon-like oasis.

8. Ojas at COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali, Indonesia

Hidden away in the jungle near Ubud, Bali and perched high above the roaring Ayung River, COMO Shambhala Estate is a wellness resort like no other. Its attraction factor is the verdant nine-acre private estate, which includes a natural spring with health benefits, supplying water for the spa as well as the Vitality pool. COMO’s holistic 360-approach to well-being marries modern science with ancient healing, allowing it to offer a range of packages tailored to your individual needs. The six wellness programmes include Ayurveda, Oriental Medicine, Cleanse, Be Active, Rejuvenation and Stress Management. The Ojas wellness centre plays a key role in achieving your goals of relaxation or optimal fitness, and all treatments are therefore tailored to your specific needs. Find inner balance with yoga, qigong and tai chi, as well as targeted body treatments and aqua therapy sessions in the Vitality pool. Boost circulation at the outdoor jungle gym and energise with walks around the verduruous property and hike down to the natural rock pools (my favourite spot on the estate). Be cradled in Mother Nature’s arms as you immerse yourself in the lush jungle, feeling earth’s energy moving through you again.

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InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam

9. Baan Thai Spa by Harnn at InterContinental Baan Taling Ngam, Koh Samui, Thailand

Perched on a green cliff-top (120 metres above sea level) with scenic views of the surrounding tropical jungle and the waters of the Gulf of Thailand, Baan Thai Spa is somewhat separated from the rest of the resort, offering a holistic refuge wrapped in blue hues and teakwood. It consists of four treatment rooms, a Thai massage room, and a couple’s suite with a bathtub for two, rain and steam showers and side-by-side treatment beds. The beautiful herbal steam shower was definitely the highlight of my spa treatment here, so do make sure to book the couple’s suite if availability allows. Start your wellness journey in the tea ceremony area where they take this ancient Asian ritual very seriously, and end it with light refreshments and some further relaxation on the terrace overlooking the picturesque Baan Taling Ngam bay. Baan Thai Spa offers a vast spa menu, which includes Signature Harnn treatments, and the spa also boasts its very own Holistic and Ayurvedic Consultation Room, as well as a day spa room for mani-pedis and hair treatments.

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Keemala

10. Mala Spa at Keemala, Phuket, Thailand

Hidden away from the tourist crowds and overlooking Kamala Village and the Andaman Sea, Keemala is situated in the hills of Phuket and surrounded by lush greenery. A retreat from everyday life, the resort’s holistic philosophy proposes healing spa rituals, healthy home-grown food and an eco-luxe spirit. With your best well-being in mind, the resort marries traditional healing therapies for mind, body and soul, with pampering and beautifying anti-ageing skin treatments. Begin your wellness journey with a customised holistic programme at Mala Spa, which boasts eight spacious treatment rooms designed for a multisensory experience for individuals and couples. Find balance with a Raindrop Healing therapy or a reiki session, and shed away kilos with the Holistic Slimming massage. Relax into your treatment, knowing that all spa products are paraben- and cruelty-free. Keemala also invites world-renowned practitioners who specialise in holistic therapies and traditional healing, including shiatsu, Mayan abdominal massage, aromatherapy, Vibrational Attunement and much more.

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