Kamalaya - A Man's Eye View02/12/2015, Chris Wain
I don’t consider myself a modern metrosexual, but I do know my way around a spa, having visited a fair few over the years in Asia & in Europe, so it was with great excitement when I checked in recently at the new and improved Kamalaya, located on Koh Samui’s southern shores.
I think I lead a reasonably healthy lifestyle so I was not booked onto a specific programme, but rather I was going to pick and choose from the myriad of treatments and activities available, and I was looking forward to a few days exploring the resort and making the most of their expanded facilities.
Last year Kamalaya opened a new accommodation block which sits at the top of the resort alongside a magnificent new lap pool, herbal steam cavern and a wonderful fitness centre set over 3 floors, and I was staying in one of the new Penthouse Suites, complete with private terrace, swimming pool, breath-taking sea views and masses of space.
First up was a wellness consultation with a naturopath, Deidre, who measured me and discussed my aims and goals for the week ahead – which were to do a bit of exercise and hopefully lose a little weight. A programme of activities were put in place for me – Chi Nei Tsang (an abdominal massage); Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture); sessions in the FAR infrared sauna; head, foot, body & Ayurvedic massages; and some personal fitness training, both in the gym and the pool – and away I went.
The days quickly settled into a rhythm of waking to a cup of hot water with lime (good for the insides), a quick burst in the gym with Boy, who has to be the staff member with the easiest name ever to remember, a healthy breakfast, (Deidre advised me to try to stick to the ideal weight menu – so fresh juices, yoghurt, pumpkin seed bread and eggs), and a mid-morning massage.
A delicious lunch followed, normally a terrifically-inventive salad containing greens, raw coconut, carrot, goji berries and other goodies, paired with a piece of protein – chicken or fish, and after a brief respite, another treatment or massage and a private aqua aerobics session with Em, again an easy name to remember.
Late-night dining is not the norm at Kamalaya, with most guests arriving to eat around the 19h00 mark – more superb, healthy cuisine. Those going for the ideal weight menu are encouraged to have 2 starters, or a main, or a starter and dessert – so a nutritious broth and wholesome salad, or an ostrich steak with mungbean risotto are typical meals, with the raw chocolate mousse a non-guilty pleasure.
One of my spa concerns is always whether I am going to be fed enough – some properties thrive on feeding guests just bread, broth & water – but Kamalaya offers a full, sensible, healthy menu for all guests (even those on detox programmes), with organic alcohol also available for those with the urge to toast their healthy successes. I never felt hungry or had the urge to snack or to break free from the resort and seek solitude in a burger, and I revelled in being able to drink fresh, healthy coconut water as though it was on tap (or indeed grew on trees!).
Aside from my tailored programme, I also took part in some of the scheduled activities which are on offer. Yoga and meditation (with daily group classes), are not really my thing, but I joined an early-morning power walk along the beach, and stretching and fitball classes, which were highly enjoyable and in the company of other like-minded, wellness-seeking Kamalaya guests.
As my week came to a close, I got used to the pins Aaron, (a gentle, former US Peace Corps volunteer), was sticking into my body during my acupuncture sessions, and didn’t feel quite so strange when my stomach was being pummelled during my Chi Nei Tsang massage.
A final meeting with Deidre offered me lifestyle and nutritional advice to take home with me, (there is no point in being spa-tastic for 5 days and reverting to your old ways when you return to normality), and a weigh-in showed that I had lost 7 pounds during my stay, during which I had eaten well and had not felt deprived of anything.
As I mentioned at the outset, I am no stranger to spas, and with their new development, I think that Kamalaya have taken their wellness offering to the next level – which is the very highest possible. It has shown that in a spa retreat the accommodation does not have to be spartan, the food does not have to be bland, and the treatments & classes do not have to be regimental. Kamalaya envelops the spa-addict, encourages the casual spa-fan, and welcomes the spa-virgin, all in equal measure. The advice is simply just to go and put yourself in their very capable, and caring, hands.
Speak to our wellness experts about Kamalaya, or call 020 7843 3597.