Absolute Sanctuary, Thailand
Absolute Sanctuary on Koh Samui is one of my favourite Spas - it is low key, understated, great value-for-money, and brim-full of loveliness. It’s worth making the journey alone for the tantalizing food, served with passion from the Love Kitchen. Huge emphasis is placed on how the dish looks, so expect to be frothing at the mouth in anticipation. It’s all locally-sourced, freshly made to nourish and rejuvenate. For those on programmes, you will eat from the Spa menu, which cleverly tells you what to eat each day; it’s carefully prepared, to ensure you get enough calories and nutrients. Each meal consists of two courses, and a freshly prepared juice or tea of your choice. Breakfast could be a coconut yogurt, followed by a poached egg; lunch some fragrant chicken in lettuce cups, or Vietnamese spring rolls bursting with tofu, noodles and crispy vegetables. Dinner could be a plump grilled fish, fired up with chili, served with pesto salad with cashew. If you are on a full-blown detox, then it’s juices, which are very tasty, and filling.
The reason for my visit to Absolute was to try their new Pilates Boot camp, which is run by the totally gorgeous Sari, a Filipino who has mastered her art across the globe. Reformer Classes are for a maximum of six people, and structured to focus on Abs & Arms, Butt & Thighs or simply Fit and Tone. The classes are challenging, but are varied and interesting, and guided with humour and grace by Sari. I have been doing Pilates for five years, have enjoyed classes everywhere from New York to Hong Kong, Cape Town and London, and none have been up to the standard of Absolute. It’s a complete body work out, energetic and engaging, there is no pumping music to distract, just a full on focus on your core, and all the key muscles. You can almost see your body stretching out, making you look leaner and longer. What’s not to like…Sari observes all her students with an eagle eye, so there is no chance of any slacking, she will ensure that everyone is positioned to execute the perfect move, and is tireless in the pursuit of the optimum work out. The bootcamp is perfect for everyone, as they cleverly have individual postural analysis and private sessions as part of their package, so the Pilates teachers have a full understanding of the ability of each student. And once you have finished your two daily classes, you can give yourself over to one of the magic Thai therapists who will sooth your aching muscles. This is my ideal place to do a Fitness week - you can add in some great Yoga, (Absolute are the best in Thailand at this), and mediation classes, do Aqua Fitness with Marco, who is a former international water polo player, do morning hikes, or simply laze by the pool. There are lots of fitness options, whether you decide to partake or not. I went with my partner Chris, who has no interest in Yoga or Pilates; he found all he needed to challenge his fitness, under the guidance of Marco. He did Box Fit, a high impact, heart pumping box exercise, as well as daily gym supervised training. Absolute is somewhere I would be equally comfortable going on my own to.
By Frances Geoghegan, Managing Director of Healing Holidays, December 2014