Spa Magazine – February 2007
Just north of the island’s “Big Buddha” temple, rambling over 20 acres of a secluded peninsula that kisses the Gulf of Thailand, is Koh Samui’s most unique and stylish healing retreat. Think 66 zenned-out, palm-thatched private villas made from limestone, wood and glass. Add a touch of butler service, imaginative fusion fare and a prodigious green streak that includes using broken dishes as drainage in the organic garden and turning old cooking oil into diesel fuel, and you begin to get the picture. But their best innovations can be found on a one-of-a-kind spa menu.
At first, you might wonder why a spa in Thailand – a nation steeped in it’s own mind-body healing traditions – would offer a California-inspired healing treatment using Tibetan Bowls delivered by a German Buddhist who learned the trade in Nepal. Well, for the same reason it offers palm readings given by a New Yorker and Pilates and myotherapy from a Belgian doctor: because Samui isn’t just an island in Thailand, it’s a magnet that attracts traveling healers, yogis, and seekers from all over the world.
General manager Eric Hillman, who has been here since it’s 2004 opening, designed the spa menu (which also includes the familiar menu staples of rehydrating and soothing facials, Deep Tissue massage, and an array of delicious body wraps) to take advantage of this. If you’re a traditionalist, Hillman can set you up with local masters of traditional Thai massage, acupressure, and reflexology. And truthfully, when he suggested the spa’s Singing Bowl Treatment ($85, 80 minutes), I was skeptical. He insisted. “This one is something really, really incredible,” he said.
Soon thereafter I could be found laying face up in one of the seven private spa villas overlooking the sea with a tall, fit, German therapist looming overhead and tapping his assortment of Tibetan Bowls directly over my body. I swore I could feel the sound pierce my energy field and penetrate my entire being. One by one he went through the Tibetan chakra system – each with a different sized bowl — to emanate a specific frequency. An hour later he declared me “harmonized.” That’s exactly how I felt as I floated back to my villa, unwound, unburdened and blissful.