Monday, 17 June 2013

Banyan Tree Rainforest Spa

I sometimes find the rarified ambience at a luxury spa disconcerting: the reverence, the mood lighting, the pan-piped soundtrack. A five-star spa experience is certainly the last place you’d expect to hear raucous laughter, squeals and shouts of delight - but that’s exactly what I experienced when I recently visited the spa at the Banyan Tree in Ko Samui. 

 The Rainforest is a hydrothermal facility, offered to guests as part of a spa treatment package. It involves a series of water-based ‘stations’, designed to enhance the senses, detoxify and relax - sort of like the Roman baths of old, except with a rainforest rather than a marble palace theme. The Rainforest experience begins with a walk through a cascading shower of cold water, akin to being caught in a sudden downpour. Squeal number 1. 

You then retreat to a side room where you are scrubbed down with salt, removing the top layer of dead skin and leaving you feeling all pink and new. A sauna follows, concluded with a coating of therapeutic mud which is said to detoxify the body. Then, just as you’re starting to feel all slippery and warm, you enter the Bucket Shower, where you provide your own torture by tipping a bucket of freezing water all over you. Squeal number 2. 

But the worst is yet to come. Just as you emerge from a sweat-inducing steam room, a sweet little spa therapist grabs you and rubs chunks of ice all over your exposed skin. Here squeals become shouts of horror - not the stomach, not the ... oh my god!!! 

Finally, it’s into the Vitality Pool, where strong jets of water massage legs and arms, an experience closer to body surfing than sitting in a jacuzzi. A firehose will knock you clear off your feet, while a plummeting waterfall gives a perfect shoulder massage. The experience ends with a rest on a heated contour bed and a foot massage - true bliss. 

Then it’s off to the spa proper for your choice of a one hour massage. This where the reverence kicks in again, the serenity once again reigning supreme. I choose a Balinese massage, an oil massage which gets into those knots with long, fluid strokes. In keeping with my requests, my impeccably-trained therapist provides just the right strength of pressure, that elusive medium between pleasure and pain. In all, it’s a brilliant massage, and a highly entertaining spa experience. 

I’ve finally found my kind of spa - more like a theme park than a sanctuary, and great fun to boot!

1 comment:

  1. That looks superb! It goes without saying that you had an amazing time in this place. A spa with a terrific ambience and amenities, topped with marvelously trained therapist, would totally count as one of my bests too. And I'm sure you’ve been coming back to this wonderful place since the your first visit. Cheers!

    Michael LeMoine @ Belleza Med Spa LLC