With over 200 treatments and 70 therapists, as well as consultants who visit throughout the year, Chiva Som has been taking guests who take wellness seriously – seriously since 1985. Whether you form part of the global glitterati set like Madonna and Kate Moss who visit regularly, or are simply an anonymous seeker of the resort’s proverbial R&R facilities, destination spas don’t come more glam than Chiva Som.
Paradoxically, its ‘coolness quotient’ is not what the brand wants to be famous for. Unveiling a portfolio of seamless wellbeing services, to enhance vitality, ‘holistic healing hospitality’ is mindfully delivered, whilst protecting the delicate eco-balance of Hua Hin, an area under environmental pressure. King Rama VII discovered Hua Hin as an ideal getaway from sultry Bangkok in the 1920s. This tranquil fishing village rapidly transformed into the Royal Resort, becoming popular among Siam’s nobility and affluent classes. Nowadays the priority is to slow down its pace of development so as not to endanger the natural harmony of this tropical ecosystem, a couple of hours drive from the bustling capital.
Something For Everyone
Whether you want to quit smoking, detox, distress or lose weight at Chiva Som it’s all on the menu. Take their seven, 10 and 14 night Weight Management programmes for instance.
Carefully curated to instill positive long- term habits, the team combines personal training with a tailored nutritional programme and training, to yield a measurable difference not only in your weight but in your fitness levels too. Meticulously organised, the next day’s schedule of treatments and activities unfurl and a ubiquitous orchid blossom is placed on your pillow at sunset every day.
One such exhilarating day can feature aqua-aerobics, Yoga, Pilates, stretching, myriad types of massage, steam and infrared sauna, group exercise classes, three delicious meals and more esoteric activities like preparing pla neung manoa – steamed fish with spicy lime dressing – that has since become a hit in my household.
The electronic props that keep the crazy fight and flight cortisol swings fluctuating – like mobile phones and laptops – are nevertheless banned outside bedrooms, whilst alcohol is permitted after 6pm. Coffee is too, but nobody looks as if they crave any; such is the embrace of nature and nurture that keeps repeat guest rates over 80 percent.
Eschewing modernity does not mean that corrective treatments with the latest lasers, fillers and Botox are overlooked. At Niranlada, the in-house medi spa, Chiva Som’s world-renowned approach to total wellness is extended with a range of gold-standard micro-invasive cosmetic surgery and aesthetics protocols delivered by the in-house physician and his trained team.
The facilities were superb, unveiling everything from a
Pilates and dance studio, to a kinesis room, as well as bathing and multiple outdoor pavilions for holistic classes, watsu, gym and library. A separate male and female
spa areas and swimming pools rounded off the amenities and all the services with gracious hospitality.
From skin refining and tightening, to scar softening and eradicating cellulite; adhering to the resort’s philosophy of mind and body balance takes many forms. After all, the ‘feel good when we look good’ rationale holds true for men and women alike – especially those that have chosen a luxury getaway dedicated to wellness transformation.
‘Haven Of Life’, This Is What Chiva-Som Means…
Upon arrival I was invited into a spacious lounge with stunning vistas and a schedule for the afternoon had been swiftly arranged, with the first of three wellness consultations to assess my personal health. During my stay, very few guests tore themselves away from the resort. Apparently this is normal. Whilst golf, beach walks, market tours and cookery lessons can be arranged; the pools, gardens and beach area are so lush and pristine that the Garden of Eden comes to mind.
The beach is so vast, you can walk for hours in either direction with the tide moving out, up to 100m and in, up to the steps of the property. At night sitting outside listening to the sound of the ocean rounds off the healing effect that Chiva Som promises to unveil.
Boasting a well-appointed gym, watsu pool and open-air yoga pavillions, plus every imaginable healing protocol, from chakra balancing and acupuncture to vacuum-cupping massages and jowl tightening, meals are a highlight of the resort. Fresh and healthy, enjoyed on the terrace restaurant, with the ocean as a backdrop, relaxation takes its purest expression.
The spa is split into male and female areas each with dedicated FAR infrared sauna, Jacuzzi, steam room, plunge pool and relaxation area. Reading or day-dreaming, either before or after my regular treatment schedule, represented a cog in my daily ‘wheel of contentment’ that didn’t so much as spin, but rather revolve gently as the moments melded into hours and hours into days of healing bliss.
Rooms were typical five star Asian-inspired boasting all the sumptuous accoutrements expected in a property of this level.
Robe, daily fruit basket and wireless Internet, staff were unobtrusive yet not inconspicuous with their perennial smiles and sing-a-long-sounding hands-clasped-at-the-heart greeting.
Tailor Your Stay
With two options at Chiva Som, the first is a credit-based three-night stay or more offering a daily massage and credit to be spent on individually chosen treatments. The second is a programme based around a wellness theme like Weight Management, Natural Healing or Fit for Life.
No package is binding and your first consultation allows guests to select an ideal programme or swap treatments if you like.
Alongside any programme there is an exhaustive weekly schedule of classes (I counted over 40 different types of classes), ranging from Tai Chi and Yoga, to cooking and fitness classes like Thai boxing and TRX suspension training and some I had never even heard of before such as Gyrokinesis (incorporating yoga, dance, gymnastics and Tai Chi), fulfilling the criteria for an ideal luxury wellbeing holiday.
Once the end of my stay dawned on me, I realised a new-found level of vitality and celebrated donning the pair of jeans that I had travelled in, that were far looser than when I had worn them five days earlier. Clearly what I had done had done me good.
This property combines the wellness holiday elements of the Natural Healing programme with daily fitness classes to a comprehensive array of health and wellness treatments that works wonders.
Whether you visit with your girlfriends, other half or decide to go solo, investing in one-stop healthy holiday like this one, is money and time well spent.
A pioneer in wellbeing hospitality, Chiva Som offers a superb holistic healing experience and one that deserves to retain its superior status within this rapidly evolving luxury wellness tourism space.