The Spa: The Oriental Spa at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
Awards: Has been named “Best in the World” by Travel & Leisure Magazine
Like many of the spas in Thailand, The Oriental Spa boasts a blend of ancient techniques and philosophies with state-of-the-art facilities. This spa however, also caters to a loyal clientele of affluent Indian travellers thus its Ayurvedic offerings are quite popular.
Ayurveda means “the science of life,” and has been used for thousands of years alongside modern medicine. The spa boasts a staff expert (from India of course) who can truly tailor a program to balance your energies (i.e. doshas) for optimal health. We opted for a Keraleeya Abyangam Massage and a Shirodhara oil therapy.
Shirodhara is a treatment where a soothing steady stream of warm therapeutic oil flows over the forehead. It is reputed to have a positive effect on the central nervous system that triggers a healing process to relax the body and clear the mind. MaryAnne described it as a thousand tiny fingers massaging her scalp. I found it to be unctuous, cozy and indulgent. We both loved it.
C’mon it’s the Mandarin Oriental so you can’t expect anything less than the ultimate in East meets West luxury. It begins when you take a charming boat ride across the Chayo Prado River to the century-old teak house of The Oriental Spa.
Guests are welcomed in the traditional spa way –with a soothing cup of tea and a foot cleansing ritual while a therapist will meet with a guest to tailor the spa experience. Since we had been working with Khun Gail for awhile, she knew we were very interested in the Ayurvedic offerings and had already scheduled that for us. But the therapist did notice that my American skin was not reacting too well to my Phuket mosquito bites and recommended a DNA serum that really did soothe my skin.
But I digress, back to the wood and carved teak pagoda. It was at once charming and luxurious, with winding stairs that boasted private rooms on each level.
Facilities & Offerings:
· 10 treatment rooms with private showers and steam facilities. After my first Shirodhara treatment, I really did need a good shower so the opulence and privacy of the penthouse suite was a necessary and much appreciated treat.
· Three treatment rooms dedicated to facial therapy.
· Five specialty suites – including four just for couples – with private steam, vitality pools and heated scrub tables
· Yoga and meditation rooms
· Private manicure and pedicure area
· Poolside spa cabana for aqua treatments. (NOTE: I spent a few hours of my last day in Thailand poolside at the Mandarin Oriental and it was such a great use of my time. After a whirlwind press trip seeing much of what Thailand had to offer, this little slice of downtime was Ah-Maz-Ing. Fellow journalist Daniel, editor of a Brazilian inflight magazine, followed suit a couple of weeks later when he was returning from the Vietnam/Laos leg of his trip and e-mailed that he was in heaven).
· Spa boutique so you can take a piece of The Oriental Spa experience home with you. Again, that DNA skin serum (although it did smell quite medicinal) worked wonders on my mosquito bites.
· Click here to see the brochure
What I loved:
· Ummmm, everything. From the boat ride to the opulent dinner and show a few doors down at Sala Rim Naam the whole evening had me feeling like a Jetset Vanity Girl.
· Experiencing my first Ayurvedic treatment
· My private Penthouse Indian-themed suite
· The deft strength of my technician who was at once pampering and knowledgeable.
Don’t be surprised:
· There are lots of stairs. If you are in a massage-induced daze, they can be a bit much (especially if you are on the Penthouse floor like we were). However, since we were about to indulge in a multi-course dinner at Salam Rim Naam and show, I considered that my cardio.
At the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok Hotel
48 Oriental Avenue
Phone: +66 (2) 659 9000 ext 7440
Hours: 9am – 10pm (Daily)