Samui Wining & Dining
Lamai’s ‘The Spa’ is at the heart of the island – and so much more than just the sum of its parts!

Lamai’s ‘The Spa’ is at the heart of the island – and so much more than just the sum of its parts!This is a story about a resort on a beach. In fact, it has one of the nicest beach settings anywhere: lots of sun-bleached knotty wood, little shady nooks amongst the trees, and a sprinkling of those big chunky rocks you get on this part of the coast. The restaurant, cool and opensided, links through onto the sand. Running parallel and towards the sea is the pool, alongside which stretches a row of quaint wooden A-frame bungalows. As soon as you come into this resort, away from the main road, it’s tranquil. In fact, everything about it makes for a really nice place to go and spend some time.


I’ve read other stories about this resort, that set a grim sort of tone and launch right away into details about cleansing and fasting – you can almost picture their authors putting on a serious face – and then they’ll continue on to depict a kind of New Age hideaway where intensely serious people closet themselves to detox. But this is ‘The Spa’ in Lamai we’re talking about (The Spa Samui Beach Resort’ to give it its full name.) And when you pop in for some of the nicest food anywhere on the island, together with perhaps a smoothie or a glass of wine, you’d never in a million years realise that there are so many other things going on as well.


I’m only going to touch upon the fasting/cleansing/detox component (and later, towards the end) for which The Spa has established an international reputation, with people regularly coming here from all over the world. Because, for the majority of the people who live and work on Samui, The Spa is a place with broader (and deeper) tendrils. It’s a place to go to meet. It’s a perfect place to take the kids after school for some safe splashing while you put your feet up for a while and relax. To say it’s ‘laid-back’ is to proclaim in clichés. But the atmosphere her is so calm, friendly and relaxing – genuinely easy-going – that it’s hard to find a better word!


A look at the menu in their ‘Radiance’ beachside restaurant seems to sum this all up nicely. It’s admirably well-organised, with the contents of each of its sections being additionally coded into different categories; vegetarian, vegan, raw food, and so on, which is essential for those who,Lamai’s ‘The Spa’ is at the heart of the island – and so much more than just the sum of its parts! for whatever reason, are controlling what they eat. But the first page begins with the numerous breakfasts and, yes, you’ll see all the more down-to-earth offerings that most of us head for every morning! Then there’s a range of sandwiches and burgers, a whole bunch of pasta, and even several Tex-Mex choices. And, naturally a big selection of salads, too. And also, one of the tastiest Thai menus you’ll find anywhere.


All the food is tip-top healthy, everything’s organically produced or free range, and the seafood is fresh every day. The same applies to the teas and coffees and yes, you did read it right, the assortment of wines and beers. The only thing that’s absent is fizzy soft drinks; but they’ve never been high up the list for a healthy lifestyle anyway. You see, it’s all so easy-going. But of course, that applies to the people, too. There’s something in the air here, perfectly naturally, that no doubt goes with the territory, which makes for a pervasive sense of harmony.


“In the main, there are three broad categories of people who come here,” said Dr Anabelle Nichols, The Spa’s Executive Health Director. “There are those who come for two weeks to detox. Then there are others who come for several months and get into a wider range of activities as well - perhaps yoga or Reiki, astrology, hypnotherapy or weight-loss. And then there are the residents – and they will dip in and out of any or all of these things, as well as enjoying the restaurant and the overall atmosphere. Lamai’s ‘The Spa’ is at the heart of the island – and so much more than just the sum of its parts!We get people from all walks of life, some very wealthy and others just the opposite. But sticking with some of our treatments is a great social leveller; it’s impossible to tell who is who and who’s got what. There’s a sense of belonging and bonding – people instinctively support each other. And all of this just seems to add to the overall feeling here.”


“We get a large number of returning guests,” added Dr John Schreiner, the resort’s resident Fasting Manager, “with many coming back every year. And they get almost possessive! We’ve become a sort of homefrom- home to some of them, and they’ll talk about ‘my spa’ with a strong sense of loyalty. For some, we’ve come to represent an island of calm, a thing to rely on in an uncertain world.”


But it’s not simply the fact that The Spa was the first spa on Samui, opening back in 1992 – although now there is also an offshoot, not far away up the mountain, ‘The Mountain Retreat’. It’s the fact that this spa has something that others don’t. It’s not only essentially knitted itself into the local community, but the frontage is right on the main ring-road in Lamai, making it immediately accessible to everyone, and with everyone being welcome, whether for a snack or a cleanse!


And yes, certainly, there are those cleansing programs. Dr Anabelle tells me that the ideal is three days preparation, seven days of fasting and colonics, then three more days to surface again. But there are shorter programs, too. And everything’s flexible, running through to a 28-day schedule, if it’s required. There are also other treatments, such as the ‘Liver Flush Fast’, which can be seen as a mild rejuvenation program or as a lead-in to the seven-day main ‘Clean Me Out’ program. Full details of all treatments and programs offered at The Spa can be found on their website.


The Spa Samui Beach Resort is at the edge of Lamai, not far from where the coast road heads up to the viewpoints and across to Chaweng.


 Rob De Wet


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