Kamalaya RevisitedChris Wain
Healing Holidays Sales Director Chris Wain recently revisited Kamalaya for a refresh and a health MOT. Here is his man's-eye review of Kamalaya and some tips if you are planning a visit to this retreat.
Located far from the hordes of Chaweng, but rather amongst the coconut palms on the southern shores of Koh Samui, Kamalaya is a peaceful and tranquil bolthole which delivers wellness solutions in idyllic surrounds.
Having been fortunate to have visited the property on a number of occasions it was with a warm glow that I set off for a repeat stay this summer. My previous visits have included stays ‘at the top’ of the resort close to the impressive Shakti Fitness Centre and Lap Pool, as well as ‘down at the bottom’ near the beach, (for reference, the Wellness Centre is halfway up the hill), but this time the ocean won and I settled into my room close to the sands. I was booked onto the seven-night Ideal Weight Programme, not because I particularly needed to shift any excess weight, (although that would always be a bonus), but rather because I wanted to pick up a few diet and exercise ideas and tips which I could take home with me.
My initial Wellness Consultation & Body Bio-impedance Analysis (which checks the health or toxicity of your cells) was followed by a Fitness Evaluation, 30 minutes in the Far Infrared Sauna (FIR) and a relaxing Detoxifying Scrub – so far so very nice. The FIR is an almost daily part of the Ideal Weight Programme, and is the chance to enjoy the many benefits which the deeply penetrating heat brings – skin cleansing, cellulite reduction, muscle relaxation and stress relief – cocooned in your very own little wooden cabin.
My second day began with 60 minutes of Personal Training, which involved none of the gym’s traditional big guns – bike, treadmill, step machine – but rather focused on a series of lunges, stretches, squats and pulls, which left me most definitely ready for a little pampering. I was scheduled for the first of what would be three Chi Nei Tsang massages, an abdominal massage unique to Thailand, which aims to rejuvenate the internal organs. A bit odd at first, you soon get used to the sensation of somebody gently pulling and prodding your belly until you are relaxed enough to even catch a few Zzz’s. Another go in the FIR Sauna, a group Aqua Aerobics class and a superb and nutritious dinner (as indeed breakfast & lunch had both been), and I was ready for bed.
I was adapting easily to the Kamalaya lifestyle – exercise, exceptional food, an invigorating treatment or relaxing massage - but I was noticing small and subtle differences which were making my stay even better than previously.
The service, which had always been very good, was now super-slick, (golf buggies appeared before I had barely hung up the phone; the staff at the Wellness Centre effortlessly accommodating my never-ending requests to amend my programme), and the food, such an important part of any wellness stay, was exquisite – those on the Ideal Weight Programme have a recommended menu to follow, but the choice and quality is now so superior that even those staying for two weeks will still find something new to try on Day 14.
The Personal Training sessions were just that – personalised, and tailored specifically for me with highly knowledgeable and enthusiastic trainers, whilst the quality of the treatments seemed to have gone up a notch – for example the Traditional Asian Foot Massage with Herbal Foot Soak was 90 minutes of pure pleasure, carefully administered by an extraordinary masseur. I have always been a fan of Traditional Chinese Medicine, but this time under the care of Bernie, (who has a little of the mad professor about him), I had the best acupuncture sessions of my life. An hour’s acupuncture can often be a 5 minute chat, followed by 5 minutes of needle placement and 40 minutes of lying in the dark whilst the practitioner leaves the room, but Bernie spent the full 60 minutes with me, frequently re-adjusting the needles, flipping me over from my back onto my belly and back over again, all the time checking to see if the desired results were being achieved – superb.
The seven days flew by, my admiration for Kamalaya increasing daily, so that by the time of my Departure Consultation I was positively glowing – I was feeling energised, I had some exercise activities to take away with me, I had been given recipes by one of the supreme chefs and, as a bonus, I had also lost a few pounds.
I have always been a fan of Kamalaya and I feel, in the two years since my last visit, that they have somehow managed to improve on what was already a highly impressive offering - adding to their exceptional staff rota with some wonderful new therapists & trainers, introducing innovative new programmes, (the Structural Revival programme is already proving to be a winner), and upgrading their facilities & equipment, (their Pilates offering is now second to none). This result is that, in my opinion, Kamalaya can now proudly take their place alongside the world’s very best Destination Spas.
If this blog has got you interested in starting your wellness journey call our wellness advisors at 020 7843 3597 or enquire here.