With programs tailored to your personal preferences, this prestigious wellness retreat situated on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand is your ultimate sanctuary of uninhibited indulgence. Chic Icon had the utmost pleasure of experiencing an extensive 3-night stay with some of the world’s elite wellness experts at this charming Thai destination.
For this venture, we visited the northern part of Thailand’s Malay Peninsula in search of the “Haven of Life.” One of the eight Prachuap Khiri Khan province districts, Hua Hin cemented its status as one of the most promising beach resorts in the Asia Pacific region. Our intention for this trip was to find a condensed yet comprehensive wellness program that meshes traditional holistic treatment methods with avant-garde therapies at a slower pace, allowing for an even balance of relaxation and lifestyle transformation. That’s why we decided to try the legendary 3-night retreat, “A Taste of Chiva-Som”.
This retreat is perfect for those unsure or unfamiliar with the luxury wellness experiences by Chiva-Sum. The property is around two and a half hours’ drive south of Bangkok (depending on the traffic). After a comfortable limousine ride arranged by the retreat, we arrived at a tranquil sojourn of bliss and happiness, where we were greeted by our own personal Health and Wellness Advisor, who chaperoned us throughout the entire stay. After check-in with the most breathtaking pond view and accompanied by birds’ songs, we headed to our suite.
For our stay, we have chosen the Oceanview suite with the closest proximity to the beach and a large terrace with garden access. We loved the wooden materials of the suite and the spacious interiors good enough for two people. We figured that this suite would work perfectly in tandem with the 3-night program as each day is filled to the brim with treatments, leaving us with little downtime during the stay, and the garden access is perfect for a quiet pause and refreshment.
After a short rest by the sea, we headed for a brief consultation with our advisor, discussing goals during the stay and which parts of our well-being we would like to work on, and ultimately, we were given a broad outline of which activities we should expect and where to focus our energies during the stay. Each guest at Chiva-Som is given the freedom to tailor the plan to their needs after a consultation with the doctor, providing a truly bespoke service to clients. For our 3-night stay, we were offered a multitude of treatments to choose from, including two Spa classic treatments, – we went with the Aloe Body Mask and Luxury Hand Treatment with Stone Therapy for this trip – one Spa Deluxe treatment, one Physio Classic treatment, one Fitness Classic treatment, and one Holistic Deluxe treatment, leaving us with over 25 options in total.
We immediately observed that the Chiva-Som operation runs like a well-oiled machine. All parts are connected, communication between guests and staff is clear, and the rooms and facilities are pristine. Although most guests remain confined within the resort’s borders, the bordering town of Hua Hin plays host to numerous seaside bars, restaurants, shops, and markets that can offer a refreshing taste of Thai high society. Since our stay was limited to under a few days, we opted to explore the fine amenities the Chiva-Som has to offer.
After a tour of its spa and wellness facilities (and a signature lemongrass tea), we decided it was time for a bite to eat before taking advantage of the daily massages and plethora of spa treatments. Considering three meals – or “wellness cuisine meals” – per day are included in the price of the program, we found it fitting to begin slow and work our way up. We also got a chance to look at the organic gardens, which are essential in cultivating the wellness regime that Chiva-Som offers. Nutritious foods and quality organic ingredients are viewed as a foundation of health and wellness, and practicing smart eating habits contributes to your body’s natural healing process. Physically observing the freshness and cleanliness of the variety of organic fruits, vegetables, and exotic herbs offered by the resort’s chef only increased our appetites, and we chose to have our first meal overlooking the sea at Taste of Siam.
Since it was our first day of the program, we decided to eat light and save the BBQ for the weekend. Thankfully, Taste of Siam offered a wide range of options (all healthy and organic), from low-calorie pescatarian dishes to a liquid diet of herbal teas and mushroom broth. We also appreciated the calorie counts for each plate – even on the à la carte menu – and the presentation was exemplary. Ultimately, we had a light salad and a side of traditional spiced mung beans and prepared for our first yoga and stretching class of our relaxing sojourn. We were also informed that in addition to our 3-night “A Taste of Chiva-Som” experience, we could choose one additional signature massage every day with options including a Chiva-Som Signature Massage, Invigorating Massage, Relaxing Foot Massage, Oriental Scalp Massage, Chiva-Som Skin Haven Body Polish, etc.
Before dinner, we experienced a traditional Thai massage done with a signature Chiva-Som technique – nothing relaxes and stretches you better than this! After, we took the time to stroll around the campus and marvel at the resort’s astounding architecture. Contemporary details are mixed with old-world Thailand design styles to create a unique and aesthetically gorgeous space. We took notice of the hushed atmosphere, almost as if we were walking on the stone paths alone and the staff was tiptoeing around us until we needed something. Marble-white stone walls and decorative lattice peaked roofs surrounded the encampment, and palm trees provide shade for the elephant statues and beachfront swimming pool.
We headed back to our dormitory for the night and hop in bed early, as most guests wake up early for classes. We loved the lovely small gift details the stuff left every evening – from facial massagers to delicious healthy snacks. Our suite is quite spacious and includes sizeable bathrooms and a separate wardrobe for morning preparation and a minibar with refillable healthy snacks produced in Chiva-Som – we highly recommend trying them!
Opening your curtains to an armada of the exotic, colorful garden can send any guest into a state of bliss, but the sounds of the streams of running water and the proximity to the sea provide an unrivaled sense of relaxation. It was easier to be productive in the morning after a fresh herbal tea and group stretching session – something we will consider making part of our routine at home – and the athletic facilities at Chiva-Som made our morning workout feel ten times more effective. Indeed, this is the best way to start your day!
We make our way over to “Taste of Siam” and gobble down another low-calorie porridge and healthy sweets. The portions are smaller than normal yet quite substantial making you try as much healthy dishes as possible. Our advisor suggested that we take the morning to make use of Aquatic aerobic group classes and the Water Therapy Suites, complete with a jacuzzi, steam room, and sauna, and to relax before an intensive afternoon. The recent renovations to the retreat saw the Spa & Water Therapy Suites reimagined with new signature interiors, including teak, natural stone, and bamboo, complemented by a light color palette of natural hues for peak tranquility.
Today’s lunch at Taste of Siam was accentuated by the indoor, as it was quite windy. With our stomachs freshly sated, we took off for our afternoon workout group class. The class size was small (around 6 people), and the instructor was personable and energetic enough to make any class enjoyable, no matter how strenuous the workout was. In fact, each day there are up to a dozen group classes on offer, from low-impact yoga and corrective posture exercise to high-energy boot camp, HIIT and TRX led by accomplished professionals.
A pair of detox shakes and a light stretch aided in digesting our hearty lunch, and we followed this up by signing up for our complimentary physical analysis and skin consultation. The doctor introduced us to the various group classes offered and suggested that we take advantage of the holistic treatments available for our selected retreat. We were given options from Shirobyanga to Colonic Hydrotherapy, but we elected to go with what intrigued us most – the Taoist Therapeutic Massage, or Chi Nei Tsang – which turned out to be one of the most relaxing massages we have ever received!
Our dinner left us ready for a long night’s sleep. We returned to our comfortable domicile and prepared for another day of elite relaxation. But first – we had to make some tea with our personal coffee/tea machine and recline in style below the massive flat-screen television and Blu-ray player. The resort also maintains soundproof rooms and a wake-up service, relieving us of any responsibility or worry throughout our stay (the suites were relatively tame during the after-hours).
Our final full day was a little bit of everything. Egg whites and an organic green shake for breakfast kept us sated until after full-body workout class. We decided to test out some of the additional activities offered by Chiva-Som, including renting bicycles, a comprehensive cooking class, hiking, and Muay Thai (with invited teachers). We almost made it to a cycling tour with other guests! Much of our evening was spent unwinding at the spa, although we did get to make it to our included Physio Classic treatment as well – we opted for the 25-minute Physiotherapy session – which completely rejuvenated our bodies and left us with the sensation of strain being released from our muscles with every movement.
Of course, we had to indulge in the famous BBQ evening with a traditional performance of local dancers & musicians before we said goodbye to this enchanting getaway on the next day. As expected, the herbs and spices were on point, and the flavor was potent. We almost had to ask for a few seafood dishes to take home!
We will miss opening the curtains to the image of stillness and sobriety, but it seems necessary to return to everyday life. Before we thoroughly checked out, we sat down with our health and wellness advisor for a post-stay wellness follow-up and a brief exchange of gratitude and enjoyed the last spa treatments before taking the resort’s limousine service to the airport.
Ultimately, our personalized journey at the retreat “A Taste of Chiva-Som” brought us incredible pleasure and relaxation. We left the grounds renewed and longing for another morning stretching session and a final plate of delectable Thai cuisine, but we must save it for the next stay!
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