The Oriental Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok - Review
Magical Mystical Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
by Irvina Lew
We were met by a Mandarin Oriental host at the Bangkok airport and whisked in a limousine to the hotel entry. To the left, the hotel's Authors' Wing pays tribute to the literary giants who frequented. The Joseph Conrad Suite boasts its own riverfront terrace, and suites are named for Noel Coward, Somerset Maugham and James Michener. Our butler greeted us in the newer River Wing where our room faced the famed Chao Phraya River and an exquisite mansion with a decorated and pointed Thai roof. The palatial structure houses a restaurant where Thai dancers entertain during dinner and the extraordinary The Oriental Spa.
After a leisurely breakfast on the hotel's waterside patio, we boarded the pointed roof launch and crossed to the palatial, century-old mansion. Inside, a sari-clad receptionist with gold-painted toes welcomed us; a concierge kneeled on the floor to take our shoes, present slippers and place them on our feet, Cinderella-style. Then she walked us up the grand teak staircase beyond the floor housing luxuriant treatment rooms—each with shower and steam facilities and four reserved just for couples. We arrived at the Ayurvedic Penthouse, the former General Manager's home, which houses a few private suites and the office of the medical doctor who practices Ayurveda at the spa.
The serious young physician explained the essence of Ayurveda, India's 5,000-year-old science of wholesome living, and how it touches every aspect of life: physical, mental, social and spiritual. He recommended particular oils and herbs for the treatment. Then, the greeter led us into a suite lined with large vertical windows overlooking the river and the hotel. The suite was decorated with an imported hand-carved Shirodhara bed designed for Ayurvedic oil therapies, lovely wooden antiques, and an ornate mirror over the sink.
The 90-minute treatment, called Keraleeya Abhyangam, starts with a traditional foot bath during which the therapist kneels on the floor, washes feet and explains the session. For the Keraleeya body treatment using warmed oil, she choreographed the strokes to a lovely rhythm in the head-to-toe massage, which was so completely welcomed on the last day of an exhausting—and exciting—two-week trip from Dubai, to Phuket, to Chang Mai and Bangkok.
The Oriental Spa