Garden of Earthly Delights
In Jules Verne's epic novel, Around the World in Eighty Days, Phileas Fogg boards trains, boats, and even ponders a hot-air balloon liftoff in an effort to traverse the globe. At Six Senses Destination Spa Phuket (Thailand), the first of its kind by the iconic spa and resort brand, a multicultural journey is much easier to achieve. There, as part of the spa's multi-day integrated wellness encounter (starting at $1,032 per night in the low season, double occupancy), spa-goers can experience holistic healing inspired by the traditions of China, India, Indonesia, and, of course, Thailand. Along with luxurious accommodations, wholesome cuisine, and a wealth of healthy activities, this 26-acre haven is home to four spas that incorporate the treatments, philosophies, and aesthetic of each of these countries.
Six Senses Destination Spa Phuket features four distinct spas, including (clockwise from top left) the Chinese Spa, the Indonesian Spa, the Indian Spa, and the Thai Spa, each of which offers treatments and a design inspired by the traditions of the highlighted region.
The Destination Spa is located on Naka Yai Island, a fisherman's isle reachable via a quick boat trip from the main island of Phuket, and guests are immediately transfixed by their lush tropical surroundings. "On the tip of an island, the resort offers stunning views of Phuket and Phang Nga Bay," says general manager Ana Maria Tavares. "It also offers views of both sunrise and sunset. The beautiful setting provides a very nice beach atmosphere in the front of the resort with an option of crossing the island for adventure in the jungle or the local fishing village."
As a true destination spa, the property combines fitness activities, spa cuisine, wellness education, and relaxation and renewal. Among the exercise options are Kinesis and weight training in a state-of-the-art gym, boot camp sessions on the beach, and even an outdoor jungle gym, where guests can work out while enjoying the island's cooling sea breezes. Sailing trips, windsurfing, sea kayaking, and mountain biking are among many other available activities—in fact, each guest is given a bike to use throughout their visit, yet another way to help them get in shape.
Clockwise from left: In the Chinese Spa, guests can sip on teas brewed in the Chinese Tea Bar; the Indian Spa's treatment rooms are centered around a serene courtyard; the Sensory Garden is an ideal place to meditate; each of the Destination Spa's villas include a private pool.
The culinary selections are equally healthy. Guests can choose between low-fat fishetarian and raw food cuisines, and the landscaping at the Destination Spa is largely edible, thus all of the dishes feature fresh, healthy ingredients. "As we are on an island, growing as much as possible on the premises enables us to reduce carbon emissions by decreasing the daily number of boat rides needed to supply our chefs with the finest and freshest produce," says Tavares. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which are included in all spa packages, are served in the breezy outdoor Ton Sai restaurant. Guests can also enjoy in-villa dining or experience a raw food meal at the Dining at the Point restaurant, which is located at the tip of the island and offers views of Phang Nga Bay. The foods are created without using animal products, are rich in nutrients, and are cooked at a maximum temperature of 116 F, which allows the preservation of enzymes and vitamins that cannot be achieved at higher temperatures. These meals contain a higher-than-average nutritional content, which results in increased energy levels.
As for spa treatments, an array of options is available. All guests receive two 60-minute treatments per day to help ease the aches of their active pursuits. Among the included options are a Holistic Massage; a Traditional Thai Massage; an Energizing Massage, which focuses on the back, neck, and shoulders; the Detoxifying Massage, which reduces toxins with a body brushing and massage; and Foot Acupressure, a calming reflexology session that also includes a shoulder and scalp massage.
Guests can take a raft to Meditation Island for the ultimate experience in solitude.
Beyond the included services, guests can experience several authentic treatments in the Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, and Thai spas, most of which are performed using fresh, natural ingredients and Six Senses Spas Holistic Skin Therapy, the company's own line. The Chinese Spa offers services such as Chinese Acupuncture ($147, 60 minutes); Shiatsu ($118, 50 minutes); and the signature Yin Ceremony ($262, 2 hours 20 minutes), which includes an acupressure body massage, a green tea body buff, a ylang-ylang body moisturizer, and a balancing facial, and Yang Tradition ($262, 2 hours 20 minutes), which includes foot acupressure, a ginger body scrub, and a Himalayan Hot Stone massage. The Indian Spa features iconic Ayurvedic treatments such as Chakra Balancing ($123, 50 minutes), Abhyanga ($132, 50 minutes), and Shirodhara Meditative Balancing ($262, 80 minutes). The Indonesian Spa offers a number of body treatments infused with tropical herbs and flowers as well as a number of traditional Balinese experiences, like the Balinese Inspiration ($206, 2 hours), which includes a foot soak and scrub with salts from Karang Asem, Bali, a boreh spice exfoliation, an herbal soak, and a Balinese massage. The Thai Spa, meanwhile, offers a number of services that incorporate Thai massage and indigenous ingredients. A variety of facials, which are performed using gemstone-infused Shiffa products, are also available.
Treatments in each spa are performed by therapists who are experts in their particular fields and who have undergone Six Senses's rigorous training process. "Most spa-goers are looking for a therapist who has a higher knowledge and expertise level on different wellness services such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Ayurveda, physiotherapy, and muscle tension release," says Tavares. Beyond spa services, sessions with nutritionists, wellness experts, and consultants in areas like iridology (iris reading), yoga, energy work, naturopathy, and other integrative health fields are also available.
Ingredients culled from the Herbal Spa Garden are used in many of the treatments.
Accommodations are equally inspired. During their stay, guests reside in one of 61 spacious private Pool Villas or Pool Villa Suites, each of which features an outdoor pool, steam showers, and an alfresco bathroom area, as well as an outside garden area and a rain shower. Ideal for groups, six of the pool villas are clustered into The Enclave, which also features an exclusive large glass-fronted pool and dining pavilion, while the Retreat on the Hill includes three bedrooms and a private spa with wet and dry treatment rooms, a yoga pavilion, and a gym.
Six Senses Destination Spa Phuket (Thailand)
No matter where they happen to be on the island, guests can further add to their well-being courtesy of the Destination Spa's Feng Shui practices. "The circular shapes and rounded buildings reflect the wellness feeling that the Six Senses Destination Spa instills, and the lack of sharp corners encourages a warm feeling," says Tavares. "Additionally water features are generously spread throughout the resort and add a sense of tranquility, and the outdoors plays a significant role."
Also readily apparent throughout the resort are the iconic Six Senses environmental efforts, which fall under the brand's core purpose: "To create innovative and enriching experiences in a sustainable environment." Along with the organically grown edible landscape, the Destination Spa employs multiple energy and water conservation practices. Recycling, composting, and eco-conscious packaging are used whenever possible, and every effort is made to reduce the use of chemicals and pesticides. The Destination Spa also practices social responsibility by donating to several local charities and organizations, purchasing local products, and providing job opportunities to residents of the island's fishing village.
According to Tavares, the Destination Spa, the first of its kind with Six Senses, is truly beyond compare, thanks to the efforts of the company's founders and executive team and their desire to bring luxurious wellness to their guests. "With Six Senses's emphasis on 'intelligent luxury' and strong focus on holistic treatments, Six Senses Destination Spa targets an untouched high-end niche market," she says. "The Six Senses Destination Spa Phuket offers the global destination spa market a completely new product by offering not only the most exclusive back-to-nature product but also a focus toward holistic healing and choice."