A spa is a location where a mineral spring is used to give medicinal baths with health-giving properties. Spas are popular worldwide and it is no exception in Asia. Individual spas have their own properties and features. The highly customisable experience that can be offered and clear health benefits contribute to the high interest in spas. Top 10 of Asia takes a look at its list of the top ten world-class and unique spas that have captured the imagination and attention of spa-goers.
- Banyan Tree, Phuket, Thailand
Located in Phuket is the flagship of Banyan Tree, a worldwide operator of 70 spas. Banyan Tree is a benchmark spa in Asia that has been operating since 1994 and maintains high standards. Therapists are uniquely trained and undergo at least 350 hours of training based on a stringent curriculum of the accredited Banyan Tree. It is a private paradise of luxurious all-pool villas nestled around a salt water lagoon and surrounded by lush greenery. It acts as a luxurious and strategic base from which to explore the beautiful island of Phuket’s heritage, culture and stunning beaches.
- Kamalaya, Koh Samui, Thailand
Located on a clifftop overlooking a private beach, this wellness centre offers comprehensive therapies of acupuncture, Chinese medicine, naturopathy and Ayurvedic spa treatments. The spa includes a herbal steam cavern, plunge pools, infrared sauna, colonic rooms, yoga pavilion, the Shakti fitness centre and more. True to its holistic vision, it is centred around a monk’s cave that once served as a place of meditation and spiritual retreat for Buddhist monks.
- Amatara, Phuket, Thailand
Amatara houses expert therapists led by ex Chiva Som alumni. They deliver a whole range of services including chi nei tsang healing abdominal massage, detox therapies through to naturopathy all while overlooking the Andaman Sea. Its signature is the Thai Hamma—a marathon three-hour treatment which is a hybrid of Thai spa therapy and traditional bathing practices of Turkey and Morocco.
- Four Season Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam
The Nam Hai is located on China Beach, Vietnam’s most celebrated beach. It is near three UNESCO World Heritage sites. Once described by popular English broadcaster Jeremy Clarkson as “the world’s most astonishing spa”, it melds aromatherapy, Ayurveda and herbal traditions.
- Ojas at Como Shambhala Estate, Bali, Indonesia
COMO Shambhala Estate is a residential health retreat set in the exotic Ubud, Bali. State-of-the-art wellness facilities include a Vitality pool, private treatment areas beside the River Ayung, a climbing wall, gym, Pilates studio and yoga pavilion. For an improved and more personalised experience, resident experts include a yoga master, Ayurvedic Doctor and guides for outdoor activities. Wellness packages include Stress Management, Cleanses and an Oriental Wellness programme.
- Aman Spa at Amanemu, Shima, Japan
Aman was named after the Thai word Amanpuri, meaning “place of peace”. First opened in 1988, Aman today has 34 resorts, hotels and private residences in 21 countries. It is certainly aptly named as it is renowned for its space and privacy. Aman Spa at Shima, Japan, is set in a forest in Japanese ryokan style. It is based on Japan’s centuries-old onsen tradition and built around natural hot springs. The 2,000 square metre Aman Spa has two large onsen pavilions and a watsu pool overlooking Ago Bay known for its world-renowned Mikimoto pearls. Each spacious suite for guests has its own square bathtub of hot-spring water.
- The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
Located in the heart of the city is a true urban escape of a spa featuring an amethyst crystal steam room, Rasul chamber and vitality pools. Spread over two floors in the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, it is one of Hong Kong’s most luxurious spas. Indulge in a hammam steam experience, rasul mud treatment, the signature Digital Wellness Escape, or a lymphatic drainage massage.
- Mulia Spa, Bali, Indonesia
Mulia Spa features a comprehensive menu incorporating Balinese, Asian and Western rituals, treatments and techniques. It is home to Asia Pacific’s first authentic ice room. Like its -1 degree temperature, the room’s lighting is cool and is reminiscent of an ultramodern spaceship. The quick temperature change from the previous warm rooms is said to have health benefits. With two benches – one on each side of the room – and an Icefall Crystal fountain as the room’s pièce de résistance, you can grab a handful and more of the crushed ice from the fountain and use it to soothe your skin or as a scrub. Mulia Spa also offers seasonal retreats, lifestyle and corporate wellness programmes.
- The One Sand Bath, Khet Prawet, Thailand
The One Sand Bath Therapy is a Japanese onsen offering hot sand tubs which use volcanic Japanese sand selected for its larger than average grains. The spa claims that the 50 essential vitamins and minerals contained within this sand improves the immune system, stave off signs of aging, detoxify your system and improve blood circulation. Although a relaxing experience, the temperature of the tub is 55 degrees Celcius. Aromatherapy and Thai massage are also available.
- Hakone Kowakien Yunessun, Kanagawa, Japan
Ever wondered what it’s like to bathe in coffee, tea or even wine? Hakone Kowakien Yenessun can provide the answer to that. It includes 23 unique hot spring baths including wine, coffee and tea baths surrounded by the natural beauty of Hakone, a mountainous town known for hot springs. These spring baths are said to sooth and beautify the skin. Outside the spa is a waterslide, waterfall, an open-air bath 40 meters long with a view of the Hakone mountains.