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Travel
September 20, 2010

Sensuous Sanctuary

Text by Mala Vaishnav

Before hitting the cool, white beaches of Thailand, pause for a bit at the Banyan Tree in Bangkok for a serious bout of post-wedding pampering…

The journey begins at the airport where a plush limo sweeps you up with your luggage and glides into the driveway of the Banyan Tree Hotel that stands sentinel-like, off the main South Sathon Road that houses consulates, the bustling new Life Centre and a couple of historic restaurants. Stroll past the central lobby, replete with vibrant blooms, tinkling music and smiling Thai staff and relax with bites of fresh dragon fruit in the deluxe view suite. The elegant expanse is inspired by Thai heritage and tradition including the unique leaf motif that follows you from carpet to furnishings to the snazzy toilet case in the bathroom. A delicious spa treatment awaits.

Pioneering the tropical garden spa concept with Asian health and beauty remedies, the Banyan Tree Spa was created as the signature experience in all its resorts to complement the ‘sanctuary for the senses’ wellness ideal. As the first luxury oriental spa in Asia it reintroduced an exotic blend of ancient holistic practices which have survived generations. The ‘high touch, low tech’ approach celebrates the human touch and the use of natural herbs, spices and aromatic oils. Check into one of the intimate spa pavilions and prepare to get thoroughly confused with the choices.

For ‘Her’ among others, is the Oriental Romance, Sweet Serenade, Refreshing Sprinkle – 180-minute sessions of top-to-toe treats, fruit scrubs and therapeutic massages. For ‘Him’, rejuvenating sessions of Absolute Lift, Renewed Vigour and Restored Vitality beckon. The current indulgence is the signature Master Therapist Experience tailored for individual needs, offering a personalised treatment beyond the spa menu where long, firm strokes are customised from the Banyan Tree repertoire by a handpicked master therapist. The warm sesame poultice, soothing lavender oil, lemon grass essence, steamy towels, relieves tired muscles and promotes deep relaxation sending the most savvy spa enthusiast into a pleasant stupor. The Tropical Rainmist treatment now features two enhanced packages for a couple where invigorating scrubs and a cascading shower is a prelude to the massage that follows. Post refreshing sips of herbal tea, pop into the Banyan Tree Gallery, the brainchild of Claire Chiang, one of the founders of the group. Using materials indigenous to the region, the gallery acts as a voice for traditional artisans and is brimming with quirky collectibles that are as exclusive as eco-friendly.

After eight, it’s time to float upwards to the 61st floor of the city’s tallest spa luxury hotel to Vertigo Grill, one of the Banyan Tree’s seven restaurants, exclusive of Apsara, the vintage-style teak wood barge where canapés and curry combine with waterway sightseeing. Vertigo, adjoining the Moon Bar boasts a spectacular view of the city under a canopy of stars. Sculpted with escalated platforms and low walls and a series of stairs that pose a challenge for the tipsy and the ‘stilettoed’, the restaurant preens in sophisticated splendour on a former helipad and throbs with life after sunset. Signature dishes include rosemary scented rack of lamb and capsicum broiled lobster. We feasted on marinated tuna tartar with salmon roe accompanied by an Italian 2007 Pinot Grigio, followed by an exceptional wild salmon fillet and a Chilean Chardonnay topped with baked cheese cake and a cream sherry. And if you must come down to earth from this elevated setting, there are always the possibilities of a post dinner walk to the Suan-Lum night bazaar or people watching at Patpong’s famed nocturnal fest!

For more information
Banyan Tree, 21/100 South Sathon Road, Bangkok 10120.
Tel: 66 2 6791200. Fax: 66 2 6791199.
Email: Bangkok@banyantree.com

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