Samui Wining & Dining
Magic Matches

Combining their fabulous treatments turns sheer joy into
utter bliss at Impiana Resort’s Swasana Spa.


72There’s one precise moment. There’s a point, an exact one, where you feel it. You might not be quite aware of it at the time, as it takes a while to adjust. But, descending the steps and rounding the corner into the outer area of Swasana Spa, something happens. You’ll look around and maybe have the feeling that this would be a wonderful spot to settle-in with a book. Or you’ll make a mental note that this is the perfect place for a peaceful hour in the sun. But, whichever way it speaks to you, there’s a natural sense of peace here. Some spas work hard to contrive this effect, with a veneer of tinkling water, flower arrangements and overstated New Age music. But here they don’t need this kind of artifice. This tiny patch of Samui is naturally placid, calm and soothing. And that’s before you’ve even stepped inside!


Swasana Spa is located within Impiana Resort Chaweng Noi, just a few minutes around the corner from the main Chaweng Beach. ‘Impiana’ has been around for a while and has gained an excellent reputation for being both very laid-back and also for providing excellent value-for-money. Their fine-dining Tamarind Bar and Lounge is a popular choice for evening diners. And it’s also created some super spa cuisine that perfectly complements the treatments at Swasana. ‘Tamarind’ is perched above the cool and breezy ‘Sabai’ all-day restaurant, one level below. And on this same level, tucked away in a sunny little realm of its own and cosily bounded by a screen of tropical flowers and creepers, you’ll discover Swasana Spa.


It’s not a big spa but it simply exudes quality, charm and character – plus that wonderful feeling of tranquillity which permeates everything. The outer area is screened from the sun by a roof of climbing plants under which there are two pristine sets of low-standing reflexology beds. The temptation to stop, stretch out, sigh and close your eyes is almost overwhelming. Resisting this and pressing forwards through the door leads you into a blessedly-cool stone-clad reception area where you’ll be met and greeted by the efficient Assistant Spa Manager, Khun Thanyarat Rakcharoen, informally known as Khun Jae.


There’s a substantial menu of treatments available. Massage choices include Thai massage, aromatherapy, detox, cranial and reflexology as well as the almost-spiritual Himalayan healing hot stone massage: after almost two hours of this it’s impossible to walk, all you can do is float! And, of course, there are the usual scrubs, wraps, facials and other rejuvenating and beauty treatments that you’d expect from a quality spa.


But where Swasana picks up the most brownie points is in its ‘packages’. Some wise soul has sat down and carefully compiled a whole set of different treatments combined together – 14 of them in total – including three sets of spa treatments combined with healthy spa-cuisine.


This is an excellent idea and makes complete sense. Take a body massage, for example. A 60-minute Thai oil-massage will leave you sighing with joy. But what if you begin with an overall sort of warm-up massage, then have half an hour of intense focus on your calves, ankles and feet? Continue with another 30 minutes of body massage, front and back, and then spend the last half hour with every knot and lump being teased out of your shoulders, neck and head? Combining these three treatments, Thai massage, foot reflexology and cranial therapy turns sheer joy into utter bliss.


It has to be said that, unlike some treatments you’ll have had where ‘reflexology’ amounts to having your feet played with for a while, here you’ll find that all the associated muscles and nerves are also attended to. Which means that the pressure points at the back of the knees and in the middle of the calves and the surrounding muscle tissue are treated as an extension of the foot. And the same goes for the cranial massage; the shoulders and neck probably get more attention than the head itself. This is massage as it should be: experienced, purposeful, holistic and aware, and light years’ away from the automated kneading and twisting that you’ll encounter along some of the local high streets.


Similar combinations apply to the beauty treatments, too. What about a milk and honey body treatment with an aloe vera facial? Or, if you are of the male persuasion, how about an aromatherapy body massage followed by a men’s facial? There’s even the soothing combination of an aloe vera body wrap with an aroma oil facial for those who’ve spent too long in the sun; a popular package on these shores!


But if you want to be utterly shameless, go for the all-day ‘Leelawadee’ option. The herbal steam, body-scrub wrap, aromatherapy massage, reflexology and, finally, facial allows you a necessary break before you float off to the pinnacle of the spa-cuisine dining experience in the evening.


And for those of you who might look sideways at the thought of rabbit food sprinkled with multi-grains, look again. The spa-cuisine menu is worthy of an evening excursion in its own right, with three different options having a choice between various starters, mains and desserts. The corn-fed grilled chicken or roasted duck, the sautéed sea bass, the crab meat or rock lobster: all of them form a substantially mouth-watering base for the complementary organically-grown vegetables and herbs and the healthy sodium-and-MSG-free sauces.


Treatments here start from 700 baht and combination-packages begin at 1,800 baht. And the Leelawadee flagship above, including three courses of spa-cuisine, is only 8,200 baht. And that includes the service charge and VAT. There are very few purposeful spas on Samui that can provide this degree of quality with that amount of value-for money. And, to top it off, one phone call to reception will have a car speeding to your hotel for a complimentary pick-up. This is exceptional!


All this and it’s in its own little bubble of peace and harmony, too. Maybe it’s something to do with ley lines. Or some kind of localised blip in the Earth’s geodesic field, perhaps. Who knows. But however esoteric the reason, what is firmly down to earth is the incredible value-for-money at Impiana Resort Chaweng Noi. And that’ll put a blissful smile on anybody’s face!


Rob De Wet


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