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  Keemala, Phuket, Thailand (24/07/2018 16:06:00)
Dream-like playground with serious savvy!

The lowdown

If you like the idea of a spa that will transport you to another world, one with a great big hit of magic and make-believe, then scoot past Thailand's more established wellness institutions to Keemala in Phuket. Arriving at Asia's most talked-about new hideaway, it's hard to take it all in; 40-foot pillars shoot from the ground with pod-shaped chambers set precariously on top, treehouses dangle between palms like giant Christmas baubles, a tiny waterfall tumbles into an opal-blue pool. The villas are equally fantastical, ranging from charming little clay cottages and glammed-up safari tents to rambling villas with enormous pools. It's not theme-parky, though, or contrived. Interiors are beautiful and not nearly as unconventional as the exteriors might suggest, with cavernous ceilings, warm woods and mosaic floors. And then there is the Mala Spa, a collection of eight treatment suites overseen by Khun On (previously of Kamalaya), each with its own sauna, steam room and aromatherapy tub. Dip in and out of a menu of muscle-thawing massages, seaweed wraps and five-hour anti-ageing beauty rituals. The products, from Bangkok-based skincare experts Siam Botanicals, are all-natural - lots of lemongrass and ginger root - without a single chemical used.

To dig deeper, opt for one of the four holistic living retreats, which include bundles of treatments, health consultations (with properly useful take-home advice), one-to-one wellness sessions such as reflexology and yoga, and a specially tailored menu of health food - expect morning deliveries of probiotic honey tonic laced with colon-cleansing triphala, ginger and turmeric; Chinese herbal consommé, and just-caught sea bass with crunchy wing bean and coconut salad. Therapists are intuitive and caring, often stroking your cheek or braiding your hair at the end of treatments. And visiting practitioners can tune your vibrations, dissolve emotional toxins or power-up your chakras - try to get an Integrative Thai Bodywork appointment with Nok Chotalee, who arrives with a toolbox full of crystals, bamboo poles and wooden chisels to chip away at physical and emotional trigger points. With its laser-focus on the individual, combined with an imaginative environment and supportive staff, a physical, mental and emotional unravelling comes almost immediately. Keemala might not be as large or as strict as its competitors, but is certainly worthy of a place at the same table.

Source LEE COBAJ, cntraveller

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