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The Spa at the Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai - Spa Review

The Nec-Plus-Ultra of Thai Spas

by Evelyn Chen

Twenty acres of landscaped gardens

Nestled deep in the heart of the Mae Rim Valley is the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, one of Thailand's—and possibly the world's—most luxurious and outstanding resorts. Set on twenty acres of landscaped gardens, the eighty-room property (comprising 64 pavilions and sixteen residences) impresses with its plush villas, stunning view of working rice fields, highly professional staff and phenomenal spa.

When the old "Lanna Spa" opened in late 1999, it was quickly recognized as one of the world's best. In the year 2002, the old “Regent Chiang Mai” was re-branded to its current star-studded Four Seasons name, and the “Lanna Spa” was renamed The Spa. Though its new name lacks the character associated with the Lanna era, The Spa retains the aura and glory that have won it multiple awards and accolades globally.

Treatment room

The Spa is a Lanna-style, triple-story, 900-square-meter palatial building located within walking distance from the Four Seasons Residences. Inspired by the architecture of a temple in Northern Thailand, it evokes the rich cultural heritage of the north in both architecture and interior décor. At the time of our second visit in 2006 (our first visit was in year 2000), The Spa was in its seventh year of operation. Without a doubt, it continues to exude exotic charm, which in our opinion, few world-class spas have come close to matching. Perhaps it’s the rich interior and exquisite play of maroon colors on gold; perhaps it’s the smart use of light to convey a unique ambience; perhaps it’s the oversized day bed that sits by the fireplace in the relaxation lounge; or perhaps it is the expansive view of the verdant rice fields extending into the misty mountain range beyond. It is easy for The Spa to rest on its laurels with such blessings in abundance, but it did not. Over the years, the spa menu has evolved to incorporate new branded treatments, from the anti-aging promises of Elemis to the holistic rituals of Ytsara.

Palatial villa style

During our recent visit, we opted for the “Prai Hair Treatment.” Prai root is a natural moisturizer from the ginger family and has been used by the Thais for centuries to heal skin ailments. It has a sweet woody fragrance (which you either love or hate) and serves to nourish and soothe the skin and scalp. As you need to leave prai oil your hair for two hours prior to washing, for maximum effectiveness, the spa recommended a filler treatment. We opted for the 150-minute body ritual called “Sawan” by Ytsara, the only organic spa line in the world that is made in Thailand.

The hair treatment began in the beauty room where our gracious therapist, Khun Kanchana, cleansed our hair twice with prai shampoo. Warmed prai oil was then gently massaged onto the scalp and a therapeutic head and neck massage by her firm and persuasive hands followed. Next, a hot towel embraced our flowing wet tresses. Whilst our crowning glory was put to rest, the attention shifted to our feet, as the highly experienced Khun Kachana massaged them with lotion of prai. When we awoke from a brief slumber, the interlude with prai had sadly ended and we were escorted to the “Chiang Saen” room for the next treatment, the much-anticipated “Sawan.”

Infinity-edge pool at twilight

A moisturizing body scrub cream infused with cajeput seed and essential oils of petit grain, sweet orange and lavender gently exfoliates the skin while preparing it for the application of Ytsara’s pineapple and tamarind nourishing cream. The body was then covered in pieces of banana leaves and layered with linen for warmth. During the ten-minute wrap, Khun Sumitra’s hands continued to pamper us with a scalp massage. After a shower to remove the wrap, a relaxing massage with oils of lemongrass and sweet orange ensued. Thereafter, we were back to Khun Katchana for hair rinse (not with shampoo, water only) and application of prai tonic.

The spa cuisine here is equally nourishing. This is not mean, tasteless food low in calories, but delectable creations using the freshest ingredients, such as steamed codfish lightly coated with a hint of sea salt and black pepper, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil—or if you are a nibbler, opt for the chef’s masterpiece of tomatoes dressed in fresh mozzarella, diced mangoes and passion fruit. After lounging in, take a buggy ride to the Elephant Bar and watch the sunset amidst the misty mountain range and scenic rice paddy fields while sipping a banana smoothie. Trust us; no other experiences can beat this.

See also: Best Spas in Thailand


Four Seasons Chiang Mai
Mae Rim-Samoeng Old Rd.
Mae Rim, Chiang Mai 50180
Thailand
66 53 298 181
reservations.chiangmai@fourseasons.com
www.fourseasons.com/chiangmai



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