If festive over-indulgence is your downfall, one way to recover, revitalise, ditch some accumulated weight and lose the guilt is to spend quality time at a Spa dedicated to wellness. Luckily, Thailand is blessed with many such Spas; and the northern resort of Chiang Mai, royal capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom, is renowned for some of the best. Suffused in in a healthy mountain climate, it’s the ideal place to indulge in rejuvenation and spiritual reflection, and to regain that vital spark. We take a look at some of the best Spa choices in Chiang Mai to exorcise those festive demons and start 2017 revitalised in mind and body.
Step back into history to experience long-forgotten wellness rituals at The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai, a haven of hedonism. You can’t miss The Dheva Spa and Wellness Centre – it’s embellished with ornate mouldings and sculptures depicting sacred animals and symbolic Buddhist motifs, all recreated by local artisans from original Burmese templates. Incredibly, the whole structure took them more than three-and-a-half years to complete. The exterior is a prelude to sumptuous interiors of Thai silks, polished teak wood, marble tiles and authentic Asian antiques, where treatments with origins spanning more than 4,000 years are practised alongside time-honoured rites of the Lanna Kingdom. Some of these rituals are unique to The Dheva Spa and Welness Centre – they have roots in Eastern healing cultures, such as Lanna, traditional Thai and Ayurveda – and were rediscovered by Spa specialists and historians. One of them is the Tok Sen, or Lanna Massage, a stimulating technique using a tamarind wood gavel tapped rhythmically along muscles to promote a hypnotic effect. Once popular in northern Thailand, it’s rarely practised today. dharadhevi.com
KNOW YOUR PLACE
Has all that festive cheer left you befuddled and struggling to figure out your role in life? The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai can help reconfigure your inner self – through rejuvenating journeys for the mind, body and spirit inspired by the Thai concept of social order and harmony. This traditional theory is represented by six social groups with distinctive community roles: Servers, Farmers, Craftsmen, Nobility, Royalty, and Monks. The Spa has rendered the virtues of these six roles into individual treatments with selections of massages, body treatments and rituals. For example, the Server section identifies servers as the foundation of society, living in truth free from unnecessary distraction, ego and excess. Suitable treatments include Yothai Facial Massage, traditional Thai massage and herbal treatments. At the other end of the scale, Monks are the most revered level of Thai society, on a dedicated path to awakening and enlightenment. Choose from a selection of Herbal Oil Massage, Awakening Kundalini and Mystery of the Sacred Ritual. fourseasons.com/chiangmai
Be prepared for a reminder of Christmas if you visit 137 Pillars House Spa to rid yourself of seasonal excess – each visit begins with the anointment of Frankincense oil, said to help mind and body to relax. It’s all part of this Spa’s holistic approach to self-recovery, aimed at offering relaxation from everyday stress and topping-up of precious energy through therapeutic treatments and healing properties of Thai herbs. The Spa menu is filled with unique signature ceremonies, sophisticated face and body therapies and traditional massages, which all embrace Thai cultural specialties. Its signature Sukhothai Surrender treatment lasts two blissful hours, combining techniques from traditional Thai, Luk Pra Kob and Swedish massages with hot compresses and spinal application of aromatic oil. There’s also a spiritual element with a foot washing ritual using pure sea-salt and plant extracts, as a reminder that water not only cleanses physically, but can also cleanse the spirit. snhcollection.com/137pillarshouse
A FINE BALANCE
Stepping through Anantara Chiang Mai spa’s teak doors into its sanctum of soothing contemporary design imbues a peaceful sense of calmness, even before any treatments have started. As well as an inviting menu of pampering massages and rituals, Anantara offers its Balance Wellness concept, a flexible approach to revitalisation and feeling good. With Balance Wellness there’s a mixed bag of treatments and therapies to pick and choose from and create a personal programme: weight loss and body toning, detoxing and anti-ageing, de-stressing or holistic healing. They’re all aimed at giving guests the satisfaction of looking and feeling like a million dollars. Spa consultants assist in devising these Balance Wellness health and wellbeing programmes, and work with guests to help them achieve their personal goals This Spa’s sense of serenity even continues after treatments are finished, with time to contemplate in the relaxation lounge or on the rooftop deck that both overlook the gently meandering Mae Ping River. chiang-mai.anantara.com