Tracy's Review of Chiva-Som17/06/2015, Tracy Wilson
Tracy, one of our Wellness Consultants, recently visited Chiva-Som. Here is her review of the grande dame of destination spas.
A very comfortable Mercedes awaited me at the airport, complete with information on Chiva-Som, healthy snacks and water. I found the in-car WiFi very useful and the three hour journey passed quickly.
A haven of tranquillity set in beautiful gardens, you’d never suspect Chiva-Som is located in a busy high rise location. The minute you drive through the gates you feel an intense inner peace, a calmness and a sense of relief that you’ve left your stress outside in the busy world. After a swift check in, I hopped onto the golf buggy for an orientation tour of the facilities and daily schedule en-route to my centrally-located ocean room, where the fantastic views were enjoyed while unpacking.
After settling in, I was scheduled to see the charming Kampon for my initial consultation. We used the in-depth health and wellness consultation which I had completed prior to my arrival, to address any problem areas and from this created a treatment plan and recommended class schedule for the days ahead. My posture and alignment were measured with a physical analysis which indicated severe tension in my right shoulder; but overall the results were good, and I was sent on my way to see Mew, the physiotherapist. Mew worked her magic with a deep tissue massage that released some of the knots in my shoulders. I was so impressed I immediately booked a follow up.
With some free time before dinner, I chose to join the soothing Pranayama breathing class before heading to the beachfront pool for a swim. Electronic devices are not permitted outside of your room, and I soon got stuck into a book I’d brought along. This digital detox is a great way to force yourself into switching off from all the electronic stimulus and relax.
I dined at the main restaurant, and chose from the a la carte menu which was clearly marked with all the respective calorie count and allergens. I found this most useful as I follow a wheat, gluten and dairy-free diet, so I was easily able to select a delicious option. There is plenty of choice available, including meat and wine. The portions are quite conservative, so I made a note to order more the next time as I wasn’t on a weight management programme with limited calories. Dessert was dreamy - they make a fabulous coconut sorbet that’s to die for. If you’re feeling sociable, there’s a talk table where you can sit to chat to other guests, or you can choose to dine in your own space. Arriving back at my room after dinner, my schedule was waiting on my bed and I promptly poured over it to see what experiences awaited me.
My day started early with a sunrise Tai Chi Chuan class performed by Surachai in the Thai pavilion by the sea, a wonderful way to start the day. I followed this up with a gentle Hatha yoga class under the expertise of Laeti for a good stretch and to awaken my muscles for the coming day.
The buffet breakfast included wonderful juices, exotic fruits and plenty of Eastern and Western food choices. I ate my fill and relaxed until mid-morning when I joined the low impact aerobic class. This was great fun! The music was energetic and upbeat and Boonlue led us with great enthusiasm. After a relaxing swim in the indoor pool, I enjoyed a leisurely lunch at the poolside restaurant before some quality ‘me time’ strolling along the beach.
My last class of the day was Free Form Power Balance, which was a new experience for me. Working with a disc on wheels that allows continuous movement combinations (the disc is similar in size to a large plate), we went through the various routines and really worked our core muscles. This is certainly not for the faint hearted and requires good balance and coordination. Nittaya the instructor, was very patient and motivational; it was a challenge and I was sure I would feel the burn the following day.
I followed this up with a visit to the spa for a Thai Massage - the perfect place to relax post-treatment with a sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. I took the advice of the physiotherapist and spent 20 minutes in the infra-red sauna prior to my massage to loosen my shoulders. The Thai massage was superb, my body was pulled, stretched and rocked by the therapist. In the evening I headed to the beach for dinner and ordered from the Thai menu; the flavours and freshness of the food were superb and the seafood was divine.
Another early morning start with a Chakra Cleansing Meditation session - this is a process whereby you heal your seven energy points which left me relaxed with a stillness of the mind. I then enjoyed a hearty breakfast before my personal training session with Boonlue. She put me through my paces with a sequence of high intensity exercises all based on my personal needs. In the afternoon I tried the Ai Chi which improves mobilisation and relaxation through warm water movement. The exercise was very subtle and the session was very soothing. I ended by visit in the spa for a craniosacral treatment (another first for me) where I remained clothed while the therapist performed super light movements to release tension. This was so relaxing I fell asleep within minutes, and following the session had to be assisted with walking out as I floated out of the spa with the ultimate sense of relaxation and a feeling of great bliss.
I slept better than I can remember and indulged in a lie-in before heading to breakfast and my departure consultation with Kampon. I left feeling fitter, lighter and pampered with a serene glow.
THE LOW DOWN
Chiva-Som’s programmes cater for everyone, and during my stay I met guests of all ages and nationalities. Many were repeat clients who visit yearly to rejuvenate and escape their frantic lives. Others are on a personal journey of transformation. During your stay you have access to world class practitioners and trainers who are very encouraging and get to feast on food that is healthy and organic. The excellent staff ensure everything runs like clockwork and your programme is perfectly designed for your every need.
If I was to be super critical, I would say the beach is not alluring, and the rooms and decor are a tad dated (although renovations are under way).