East Meets West

Looking for the benefits of an Eastern treatment without setting foot out of the country? You’ve come to the right place says Frankie Rozwadowska

With practices and traditions dating to over 2,000 years ago – Thai techniques are a unique form of body therapy and are a true, authentic art of healing. They combine the four fundamental elements of life (Earth, Water, Fire and Air) to ensure we are balanced and healthy on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. And anyone who’s had a Thai treatment knows that you not only feel amazing, but you look amazing too – for they nourish both the mind and the skin. So why not escape to the orient (without the 12 hour flight or the jet lag) with our top two Thai-inspired spas – where East meets West at its best.

East meets West meets London:

Thai Square Spa – Covent Garden, London. Visited by Sadie Macleod

Tucked away behind busy Covent Garden is this little slice of Thailand. Deceptively small from the entrance, once inside you’ll discover this spa occupies two floors – complete with a small garden and separate shower room at the back. It feels exotic; perhaps because it conjures up memories of all the Asian spas I have been to. I was there to experience the signature facial, which uses organic products sourced from Thailand and then made in France. They smell divine, earthy and natural. After being led downstairs through cavernous walk ways lined by red brick ceilings and slick black walls, I change and am given a pair of bamboo flip-flops. The wonderful Thai stuff are discreet and soft spoken by nature, and my therapist doesn’t speak English – perfect. Total silence for a whole hour almost seemed too good to be true. After cleansing and applying the mask she then preceded to give me the most sensational head massage. The mask was then removed and a serum and moisturiser was applied. Nothing ground breaking happened – it was a traditional facial that didn’t try to do anything clever or over the top. I think that sometimes simplicity is exactly what we want. If it is then Thai Square is perfect – it’s traditional, tame and, overall, authentically Thai. They’ve just opened one in the city too – what better place to go after a hard day’s work.

Thai Square Signature Facial – 1hr 15mins | www.thaisquarespa.com

East Meets West Meets Country:

SenSpa at Carey’s Manor. Visited by Frankie Rozwadowska

Nestled in the beautiful New Forest countryside is SenSpa – an award-winning spa that prides itself on its unique fusion of Eastern and Western treatments. And take pride it should, for this really is where country break meet exotic escape – the perfect combination for a truly unforgettable experience.

Upon arrival at Carey’s Manor, it’s almost impossible to believe that a taste of Thailand is just down the corridor from your room. The hotel itself is cosy and homey, with traditional touches and country charm – complete with a two rosette restaurant serving up the best of British fine dining. But if you’re really here for the true Thai experience, including gastronomy, you will not be disappointed. The Zen Garden is a low-lit, atmospheric restaurant that will tantalise your taste buds with Thai curries, stir-fries, noodles and salads. Everything is sourced locally and there’s organic wine to help wash it down. Perfect.

The spa itself is unexpectedly large, housing an indoor ozone treated pool, 19 treatment rooms, relaxation rooms, a hydrotherapy pool, a herbal sauna, crystal steam room, tepidarium, laconicum, experience showers and an ice room. You’ll find yourself spending so long enjoying one area that you’re forever in fear of not having time for them all! There’s even a ‘Thai Temple Studio’ where you can practice Pilates, yoga and meditation. If you can drag yourself away from your herbal tea and day-bed, that is.

My personal favourite had to be the hydrotherapy pool – like your own giant bath with various bubble jets that work to relax muscles, improve joint mobility and ease tension. You can be super lazy and lie back at the side to feel the vibrations work through your whole body, or there are more powerful jets around the pool that target specific areas (shoulders, neck, thighs and bum). The experience showers are also something to try – with various settings that change the water temperature from freezing to blissfully hot whilst lights flash and thunder roars around you (the Sea Storm setting was particularly dramatic). This not only helps boost circulation throughout the body, but also increases lymphatic drainage and leaves you feeling awake and invigorated. Although be warned – you’ll be disappointed by your first shower back home when there are no flashing lights or tropical sounds. Boring.

All the therapists here are Thai-Trained (mine was actually Thai, making the experience even more authentic) so they understand the true value of complete relaxation. Using the spa’s own product range, all certified organic and natural, they work their magic with facials, massages, wraps and body polishes galore. Not to mention the rhassoul mud treatment which leaves your skin totally transformed using mud from the Moroccan Alas Mountains. Opting for the SenSpa Fusion Signature Massage, I had the best of East meets West meets massage. Combining Thai, Shiatsu, Ayurveda, Swedish and Aromatherapy, it was a heavenly blend of deep and relaxing techniques, leaving me both refreshed and relaxed. An hour and a half of total rejuvenation in my oriental inspired room and twinkling Thai music, I really did feel as though I had been transported to somewhere far, far away.

From the food to the pool, the array of treatments, country views and ridiculously comfy beds – just one night at Carey’s Manor and SenSpa left me feeling like a new person. Whether you’re looking for a day away or a weekend somewhere a bit more exotic, SenSpa is the place for you. Just be sure to pack your wellies as well as your fisherman pants.

SenSpa at Carey’s Manor | www.senspa.co.uk | 01590 624467