Overlooking the Andaman Sea and its enthralling islands, Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve (Krabi, Thailand) is a heavenly hideaway. A pioneer on many frontiers, it is the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve in the world. Reserve properties are designed to be a refuge from the expected. They feature one-of-a-kind boutique resorts in stunning locations and have their own distinct personalities and a sense of place. If that isn’t enough to entice discerning travelers, then the fact that the property also boasts the first ESPA resort destination spa in Thailand should.
A sanctuary for relaxation and rejuvenation, the spa provides an inviting environment with meandering stepping stones, handsome teak walkways, and tranquil relaxation terraces and reflection ponds. Made up of three traditional Thai pavilions, it features RAW, a spa café; a Wellness Studio for meditation and yoga; and 11 luxe treatment rooms, including two couples’ suites and two private spa suites with a relaxation pavilion overlooking a lagoon. Each suite has a private decked terrace with a raised platform for Thai massage, as well as a deep tub for the ultimate relaxation. A sense of privacy is achieved with bamboo walls and the lush vegetation surrounding the lagoon. According to spa director Marta Martin, who also serves as director of rooms division, nature and Thai influences inspire the spa’s design and decor.
Thai treatments help differentiate the spa from other ESPAs located throughout the world. “The uniqueness of traditional Thai therapies gives guests an opportunity to enjoy Thai-inspired experiences not able to be enjoyed in other locations,” says Martin. For example, guests can experience the Thai Herbal Infusion Ritual ($219, 2 hours), Traditional Thai Massage ($112, 50 minutes; $164, 80 minutes; $219, 1 hour 50 minutes), and Thai Foot Massage ($112, 60 minutes). In fact, many of them do, as Traditional Thai Massage is the spa’s most popular treatment. The Thai Herbal Infusion Ritual also garners fans with its use of indigenous Thai herbal oil and locally sourced herbs. The treatment involves a welcoming foot cleanse, a detailed consultation, a full-body exfoliation, an invigorating or balancing massage with herbal poultices and acupressure techniques, an ESPA facial, and a scalp massage. Some treatments that are less in favor include those using warm paraffin wax and hot stones. Martin attributes this to Thailand’s hot and humid climate.
According to her, the goal in creating the menu was to combine the best of ancient and modern therapies with quality ESPA ingredients and traditional Thai remedies. The overall objective is to enhance guests’ lives with a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. “Those who have been on this journey understand the benefit of the ESPA experience,” says Martin. “For those who have yet to experience it, it is a beguiling prospect to look forward to.” With 12 full-time employees on staff, the spa is able to accommodate up to 40 guests a day. Unfortunately, offering a UK-based line does present some challenges, such as the high cost of delivery and the two months it takes for the product to arrive. “Our biggest challenge is creating the opportunity for outside guests who would like to experience ESPA treatments because of the isolated location of the resort,” says Martin. “On the other hand, the unique and secluded location is also what makes it so special.”
Owner: Piya Bhirombhakdi
Opened: December 2009
Most Represented Countries:
Japan, Korea, U.S.
21,527 square feet;
11 treatment rooms
aromatherapy, body treatments, couples’ treatments, facials, fitness, guided meditation, hair and scalp treatments, hand and foot treatments, massage, nailcare, nutrition consultation, outdoor treatments, Pilates, prenatal services, salon services, yoga
Thai Herbal Infusion Ritual ($219, 2 hours), Thai Hand and Foot Ritual ($219, 2 hours) Holistic Energy Balancing Ritual with Volcanic Stones ($219, 2 hours), and Sun Soothing Ritual ($219, 2 hours)
MOST EXPENSIVE OFFERING
Private Spa Suite for Two ($547, 3 hours)
ESPA, GiGi, OPI, Schwarzkopf Professional
Best Beauty Equipment, Klafs GmbH & Co, Liisdell, Oakworks, Paul Telling Company, Puri, SpaSoft
Lek Mathar Bonnag (Bangkok)
A49 Company (Bangkok)