Last updated: 07:00 PM ET, Wed May 27 2015

Spas Find Truth In Treatments

Features & Advice | James Ruggia | May 27, 2015

Spas Find Truth In Treatments

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

It took Asia, where the inclination is to bridge the body and the mind, to produce the ideas governing the modern spa. When Singapore’s Ho Kwon Ping first introduced Banyan Tree Resorts, he tapped into a need in many international travelers to alleviate the stress of modern life by reaching through sensual indulgence for spiritual goals at exactly that point where mere relaxation transcends into serenity.

Ho once said that, “the overriding drive of hotel operators should be to remain faithful to their local identities and provide an authentic experience of their heritage and culture.” For Banyan Tree, and the other spa brands that emerged to compete with it, that authenticity is often re-enforced in the spa treatments employed.

However spiritual, the trail that Ho blazed also has its material advantages. According to the Global Wellness Institute, the global wellness tourism market was worth $494 billion in 2013. The sector grew 74 percent faster than tourism overall from 2012 to 2013.

The first Banyan Tree opened in Phuket in 1994, and the brand reached a climax in Ho’s home town of Singapore with the Banyan Tree Spa Marina Bay Sands.

That spa is almost a laboratory of treatment innovation. The new spa menu recently added 17 new treatments to make 49 total treatments. It has 15 individually designed rooms with the sort of views you’d expect from the 55th floor of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, which is the highest Banyan Tree Spa in the world.

Available exclusively at Banyan Tree Spa Marina Bay Sands, Phuket, Bangkok and Samui, the Signature Master Therapist Experience draws upon an elite group of Master Therapists to tailor a 90-minute massage using signature Banyan Tree massage techniques. One Banyan Tree innovation, the 150-minute Tropical Rainmist, combines a Rainmist Steam Bath and cascading Rain Shower to uplift the senses as a prelude to the body treatment that follows.

The Banyan Tree Lang Cô is an all-pool villa resort, designed in the style of a royal Vietnamese court. The resort’s 90-minute Cajuput Healer treatment begins with a ginger jasmine rice enhancer made with ginger, jasmine rice, milk, olive oil and cajuput oil. The treatment enlivens and refreshes the skin.

Just an hour’s ferry ride from Singapore, the Banyan Tree Bintan offers the Javanese Lulur, a treatment usually reserved for Javanese brides before their wedding day. The 150-minute treatment purifies and conditions the skin with a Lulur body scrub, yogurt and fresh milk.

The Banyan Tree Bangkok’s 150-minute Banyan Toner, which is designed specifically for busy women, includes a body salt scrub followed by a toning massage to support muscle tone and reduce cellulite. The treatment culminates with an algae gel body wrap and facial to plump and rehydrate the skin, leaving it firm, smooth and glowing. 

Rising Sun Siyam

Sun Siyam Resorts, a Maldivian brand, was founded by Chairman and Managing Director Ahmed Siyam Mohamed. Its first Maldivian resort opened in 1998. Today’s portfolio includes The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, Vilu Reef Beach & Spa which will be launched under the Sun Aqua flag in November, Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort, in the Maldives and Sun Aqua Pasikudah in Sri Lanka. Siyam just revealed a new large-scale project currently in development on the island of Dhigurah in the Maldives. The Dhigurah Island property will have 600 rooms in 14 different room categories and 15 F&B outlets, family-friendly accommodations and an underwater restaurant and wine cellar is evidence that the country is on the verge of a massive repositioning.

The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi unveiled 147 new experiences at The Spa by Thalgo that promise to practice “ancient healing principles of the East and West, in combination with 50 years of skincare knowledge from Thalgo, a pioneer in marine scientific research.” Thalgo uses marine resources such as algae, sea minerals and plant extracts, to make its line of skincare products. The spa is exploring treatments that go beyond the traditional market of female travelers with a new Male Spa Menu; “Sweet Pea Spa’s kids” treatments and the Spa Café which serves healthy cuisine aimed at the whole family.

The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi sits on 52 acres on the Maldives' Noonu Atoll. The resort’s new Spa by Thalgo practices Ayurvedic, Chinese and Maldivian traditions in its “rituals of relaxation.” The Terre & Mer Ritual conjures up a Mediterranean flavor with an organic cleansing ritual, then an aromatic face massage, breathing in the scents of lavender and orange, followed by a massage.


Located within the AYANA Resort and Spa, the Thermes Marins Spa offers an extensive selection of both traditional Eastern therapies and modern Thalasso treatments that incorporate marine-based products. The spa is home to one of the world’s largest Aquatonic Seawater Therapy Pools, which provide the natural curative properties of seawater through Thalassotherapy. The pool contains 700 million liters of water directly supplied from the Indian Ocean, warmed to optimum temperatures to rebalance mineral deficiencies in the body. Thanks to the water’s buoyancy, guests can float among 12 hydromassage stations past 60 jet streams, micro-bubbles and geysers.

Bali’s AYANA Resort’s Spa on the Rocks allows guests to relax to the sound of waves against the rocks heard through the spa’s open windows as they receive natural treatments. Treatments include such indulgences as Lava Me Tender, which uses volcanic lava, and includes foot soak, mineral lava body scrub, luxurious black rice bath, full-body deep-tissue massage, and a volcanic earth body wrap to restore the skin’s radiance and elasticity. The Amazing Jade is a Jade Stone foot bath ritual plus reflexology, a Swedish and deep tissue body massage, and a clarifying Jade Stone facial, all using an all-Jade set of warm and cool stones.

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