A Day Spa Guide to some of the very best spa and wellness centres in Bangkok, where the main focus is concentrated on self-indulgent pampering, designed specifically to restore well-being and personal vitality. So much so that it is hardly surprising to know that the number of new spas opening their doors around the city streets, has grown tremendously in the last few years.
If you've been to Bangkok on previous occasions, you may well be aware of the volume of small massage spas spread out across the city offering no more than foot massages, manicures, pedicures and basic spa treatments. However, please don't confuse these with the naughty massage parlours you find around here.
The treatments on offer at all the high end five star hotels in Bangkok are vastly different in that they, not only create a sanctuary of tranquility but also present a much wider range of specialized beauty services which include Ayurvedic therapy, Japanese shiatsu massage, hot stone massage, aromatherapy, Swedish massage as well as manicures, pedicures and facials.
On my quest to find the perfect day spa in Bangkok, I had also come across some really nasty ones. When I mention nasty, I am simply referring to some spas which are badly supervised, have unfriendly staff, display grotty interiors, provide rotten service, lack soothing background music and supply less than what they advertise or perhaps even a combination of all of the above.
Okay, so maybe I'm blowing my trumpet a little bit here. Nevertheless, I have to say I did once have a bad experience. All this after a certain spa, which I won't be reviewing on this page, was highly recommended to me from a staff member at a luxury hotel in Bangkok that has a great reputation.
Only it was a questionable staff member who arranged a spa treatment for me in the near vicinity. Don't ever ask the bell boy for advice, which is what happened in my case. Some hotel employees are definitely on the take. It wasn't a question of price either because this specific spa wasn't exactly cheap. I was asked to pay 3,000 Baht upfront for a forty-five minute session.
A somewhat frumpish Thai lady escorted me up a flight of stairs to a rather dark and damp room with little in the way of decor. Not even a religious Buddha picture or a framed photo of the king could be seen on any of the walls. The room was chilly even in Thailand terms and a fair amount of the patterned paper was peeling away from the walls. When asked if I could listen to some soothing music, I was told that their system was down. No music!
From then onward, everything seemed to go pear shape. I was placed in a bathtub with lukewarm water full of withered rose petals. The masseur the left to see if she could do something about the lack of therapeutic music. And while she was out of the room, I quietly contemplated my next move and decided it was best to leave before things got even worse.
I wasn't a happy chappy at all. You simply cannot have a relaxing massage in circumstances such as this. I got out, got dressed and left without a requesting a refund, albeit surrounded by astonished looks. I needed to get out of that spa and quickly. I don't think that it was a question of being ripped off by the establishment, but rather their less than satisfactory service. I was refunded the next day after letting the manageress at the hotel know what had happened.
The Oriental Spa has a superb reputation for being one of the best spas in Bangkok. It is located on the opposite bank of the Chao Phraya River from the Oriental Hotel on 48 Oriental Avenue. This traditional Thai teak building is the ideal place to pamper yourself with any number of beauty treatments. The spa is an oasis of calm that combines ancient Asian healing philosophies with modern Western techniques. Go spoil yourself with a floral mask facial, a cool seaweed remedy, a papaya body polish or a special jet-lag massage.
The Devarana Spa located at the Dusit Thani Hotel in the city centre is a true tranquil oasis. It's one of Bangkok's most stylish and evocative health havens due to its natural flowing light, vibrant colours and still, sparkling water pond set amidst an expansive reception area. All the treatment rooms provide a serene Zen ambience coupled with the creature comforts of beauty and privacy, perfect for a relaxing and soothing massage.
The Oasis Spa is a day spa nestled amidst an immense garden setting which assists in creating an aura of calmness. There's a real possibility you'll hear the sound of birds tweeting and twittering in the trees outside your room while your treatment is in progress. This spa provides an array of beauty services, one of which includes the Oasis Four Hands Massage in which two masseurs work in unison. Another is the King of Oasis which is Thai and aromatherapy massage combined with hot compresses.
Leyana Spa is another day spa set in a beautiful lush tropical garden. Its dizzying array of treatments includes half and full day packages whereby you can immerse yourself with not only soothing facials but also aromatherapy, body wraps and body scrubs. Tropical fruits such as tamarind and lemon as well as the aromatic blends of essential oils are used with body scrubs.
Banyan Tree Spa is located on the 39th floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel and is so named after a tropical and sacred tree found in South East Asia. This deluxe spa not only affords you fabulous views across the city but also offers you a haven in which to indulge your senses all the while rejuvenating your spiritual, physical and mental well-being.
The care you receive here is based on a traditional eastern and holistic healing approach. Natural herbs and spices are used with many of the treatments which include body scrubs, seaweed masks, hydrotherapy and a vast variety of massage techniques.
Chi The Spa at the Shangri-La Hotel is created around a Tibetan Temple design with a tranquil setting described as a sanctuary for the senses. The spas principal focus is to restore chi, a traditional Chinese philosophical term which refers to the universal life force that governs well-being and personal vitality.
The nine spacious treatment suites and two speciality CHI suites are complimented with sweeping river views. They are also equipped with infinity baths, herbal steam showers as well as being accompanied by relaxation and dressing areas. Specialist in Chinese and Thai beauty treatments are on offer.
Orientist Spa has three branches, but the most convenient one is located on the 6th floor of the Central World Plaza in the heart of Bangkok City on Ratchadamri Road. One of the treatments is called the Orientist Paradise. It's a three-hour body scrub and aromatherapy massage. The other therapeutic treatments you could try include body masks, facials, traditional Thai massage, foot massage and Indian head massage. This spa has a warm ambience as well as friendly and experienced therapists.
Spa I Am is a day spa located to the north of the city centre at 88 Soi Ladprao 18, Ladprao Road, Bangkok. This large facility here has twenty treatment rooms, two hydrotherapy suites with Jacuzzis and saunas, a special suite for couples, a beauty treatment room, a fitness room and a snack bar. This day spa is a sanctuary for the senses where you can relax with a hot stone massage, a mud body mask or a face firming treatment.
Let's Relax day spa and wellness centre in Bangkok is not the only therapeutic treatment venue of its kind in Thailand. They have several branches around the country. And I have personally been to a few of them. If you make a booking at their branch in Pattaya, they will happily send their driver over to collect you from your hotel and also arrange your return trip after your session. Their service is impeccable, to say the least.
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