Kamalaya – Koi Samui



Koh Samui, Thailand: Think palm trees swaying under a gentle breeze, bodies luxuriating on open-air day beds being rubbed head to foot with sweet-smelling oils, and a myriad of exotic fruit and vegetable juice combinations freshly squeezed and constantly on offer.

This is Kamalaya Asia’s award-winning and renowned Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa situated on Thailand’s ‘island of coconuts’ – Koh Samui, one hour’s flight from Bangkok.

From the moment you arrive here, it’s easy to see that this is no ordinary spa resort. Small, cosy, warm and friendly, it’s a resort where every staff member greets you with a smile and by name no matter whether you’re lazing by the pool, ordering delicious fare at the restaurant or being pampered with one of a multitude of incredible treatments at the wellness pavilion. It’s just one of many personal touches here that really work as each guest is made to feel so special and so welcome.

It’s Kamalaya’s ultimate goal to make every visitor feel great by providing life-enriching, long lasting experiences. Your visit begins with a series of diagnostic procedures, including bio-resonance evaluations and nutritional and biological age assessments to check where you’re currently at, and consultations and comparisons also conclude your stay.

Set on a steep hillside, among lush tropical vegetation that leads down to a private beach, the resort is built around a sacred cave where Buddhist monks have worshipped for centuries.

Founder John Stewart actually spent a year living in such a cave during the 16 years he served as a monk in a remote Himalayan community. A Princeton graduate, John met his wife Karina, also a graduate of Princeton and a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the two decided to combine their passions and vision.

The result was Kamalaya and the resort, which was born in 2006, has been swaddled in spirituality and serenity ever since a haven far away from the madness of the industrialised world just waiting to nurture and nourish every aspect of a visitor’s being.

My personal journey here certainly managed to tick every box. Having selected my preferred treatment package from a substantial wellness program menu some weeks prior to arrival, I was pleased to find the standard of practitioners even more sensational than I’d been led to expect. Kamalaya offers solutions for detox, yoga, stress and burnout, fitness and weight control. I chose the Asian Bliss package from the Stress and Burnout range but had I simply been looking for a relaxing and restorative holiday, I needn’t have committed to a program at all, and could have just soaked up the environment and complimentary inclusions like naturopathic consultations and holistic activities including yoga, meditation, tai-chi and pilates.

My chosen package cost me 61,000 baht (around 1,086 GBP’s) for 7 days but was the best decision I could have made. Disrobing constantly, drinking countless cups of delicious home-made mulberry tea before and after sessions, I was pampered and pummeled several times a day during 60 or 90 minute sessions which ranged from Vital Essential Oil, Thai and Marma Point (trigger point) massages to Reiki and ancient Ayervedic treatments like Shirodara ( a stream of warm, medicated oil is poured continuously on the forehead) and Chi Nei Tsang (Taoist abdominal massage).

One of my practitioners by the name of Saimy had the best hands I had ever encountered. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised given his background as an Indian masseur of some 30 years standing who’d learnt and perfected his craft from his grandfather who was the village healer, since the tender age of ten. As each treatment surpassed the one before, it didn’t take long before I began to slip into what for me was an extremely foreign state of relaxation akin to being semi comatose.

Usually highly active to the point of hyperactivity, I was hardly able to recognize myself as I dragged my weary body up and down countless steps between the pool, the restaurant, the wellness centre and the yoga pavilion for the next few days. Lethargic and bloated despite an over-indulgence in the healthiest food I’d ever eaten, I sought advice from resident naturopath Samantha who told me my state was perfectly normal as the mind begins to unwind and relax and the body adjusts to the pace and to the intake of so much raw food.

Indeed, it’s the food that attracts so many people to Kamalaya. While over sixty per cent of guests come on their own in order to undergo detox therapy, Kamalaya’s unique philosophy is that one should detox with abundance and not starvation. As a result, Chef Kai Mueller continually creates the most amazing menus which include mouth-watering delicacies like lotus root and herbed mangosteen salad with wheatgrass spirulina dressing and Thai herb cured wild salmon sashimi on buckwheat with rocket goat cheese. There’s even a chocolate soufflé!

Guests have the choice of selecting meals from a specific detox menu which features low inflammatory, low allergenic and low GI vegetarian dishes, or from the broader menu, which changes with the seasons and features fresh, local and where possible organic produce.

Here, food is the medicine of choice, and much of what’s on offer is healing in function and tantalising in form. By day four, my stomach had settled right down and I began to regain lost energy. The fresh juices, signature tonics and herbal teas had begun to work their magic and I realized that while each is bursting with nutrients, medicinal properties and taste-bud tempting goodness, it’s often the unique combinations here that keep visitors returning time and time again.

No matter what accommodation option you choose here, you’re bound to find life soothing and serene. We stayed in a magnificent villa perched in the tree tops overlooking both the ocean and the two infinity pools that have been hewn out of rock with a freshwater spring running into them. I particularly loved our open-air bathroom that resembled a mud brick cocoon, and found it truly liberating to take a shower without the confines of walls or screens.

As accommodation options are additional to the price of wellness programs, there are several to be considered. But no matter if you select a room for around 7900 baht (141GBP’s), a suite for 11,900 baht ( 212.50 GBP’s) or a rocktop, pool or beachside villa for 29,000baht (516.50 GBP’s), you’re bound to enjoy your experience. Kamalaya is an inclusive rather than an exclusive resort. It doesn’t boast ultimate luxury or super slickness, but it’s warm, caring, supportive – and very comfortable indeed.

It’s a tranquil healing hideaway with no boundaries, no pressures and no prerequisites, where the natural environment and the inspiring palate of sights, sounds, aromas and textures, empowers and amplifies the healing experience. What you will find, as I most certainly did, is that as the days go by, your mind clears, your eyes shine, your skin glows, your vitality increases and your heart opens to the spirit of possibility.

By the time I arrived home and people asked why I looked so good there was only one word to give in answer – Kamalaya. And that’s not a word or a place I will easily forget.

Contact information
Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa:
102/9 Moo 3, Laem Set Rd, Na-Muang, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84140 Thailand Tel +66 (0)77 429 800

Review by Sandy Kaye, Australasia Correspondent

Pacifica – London’s new pampering haven


London: The Pacifica Day Spa has recently opened its doors in London’s Nottinghill with the ultimate in pampering and rejuvenation treatments.

Pacifica recognises the stress of modern living and has developed a full range of services to fit in with and complement a busy lifestyle. From the minute you enter the Pacifica Day Spa you will be taken on a unique journey that has been created specifically for you.

Designed to stimulate all your senses and transport you to a world of tranquillity, you will enter an exotic world that combines the colours, textures and sounds of the Pacific. Listen to the waterfall, smell the aroma of tantalising essential oils, and pamper yourself in stylish and comfortable surroundings.

Pacifica combines the latest developments in skincare with the expertise of the most highly trained beauty therapists. All the therapists are CIDESCO trained (the highest level of education in the field of aesthetics and the only degree recognised worldwide) and are specialists in detox, anti ageing, pigmentation, and acne, as well as being able to recognise other skincare conditions and disorders that clients might have.

“My vision for Pacifica Day Spa was to create a sensuous, state-of-the-art space that provides the highest level of customer service, excellent hygiene standards and top notch therapists who are well educated and can be seen as trusted advisors. I wanted to create an escape from the pressures of city living and believe that Pacifica Day Spa is the perfect place to rejuvenate and unwind,” says Kathleen Granados, Director of Pacifica Day Spa.

Pacifica Day Spa offers an extensive menu of Dermalogica, Elemis, O.P.I and Lycon treatments, delivering the very best services to meet individual needs. The spa therapy menu has been created to respect the body’s complex physiology and work in synergy with the skin, body and mind. In addition to booked treatments, clients are offered a complimentary aroma steam treatment that is customised with a personal blend of essential oils to balance, relax or invigorate. The spa also invites clients to enjoy a complimentary tea, coffee or juice in the cosy relaxation area, as well as learn more about their skin and sample products at the skin bar.

The spa boasts an extensive menu of Elemis and Dermalogica treatments as well as Pacifica’s own bespoke therapies based on Swedish and Thai techniques, designed to indulge, detox and de-stress.

Treatments include a wide selection of facials such as the revolutionary Elemis tri-enzyme facial which involves safe resurfacing of the upper layers of the skin, Elemis Skin IQ Facial, an anti-ageing facial for male skin that adapts to super boost the skin and protect against the effects of shaving and environmental damage, through to the Dermalogica Facial which includes their signature Face Mapping technique which analyzes the 14 zones of the face in order to provide a thorough skin analysis.

Body treatments include for example Thai Herbal Ball Massage, which is a combination of deep tissue and Thai massage designed to release tension, strengthen your metabolism, and rejuvenate the skin and release toxins, Elemis Exotic Coconut and Milk Ritual Wrap excellent for skin smoothing and softening, combining an exotic wrap with a facial pressure point massage and de-stress scalp treatment to stimulate the senses and Aromatherapy Body Massage a gentle, relaxing massage using a variety of essential oils to relax, re-energize, soothe aching muscles or stimulate your circulation.

In addition to individual body and facial treatments, Pacifica Day Spa offers waxing, self tanning, manicures and pedicures, as well as courses of treatments to prepare the holidaymaker, the mother or bride-to-be.

Whatever the excuse for pampering, enjoy the ultimate relaxing and sensory experience at Pacifica Day Spa.


1 Courtnell Street, Notting Hill, London W2 5BU
T. 020 7243 1718
E. info@pacificadayspa.co.uk
W. www.pacificadayspa.co.uk


10-9pm Monday to Friday
10-7pm Saturday & Sunday


Developed and influenced from therapies around the world, the spa reflects a blend of Asian cultures including Pacific Islands, Thailand, Bali and Polynesia. The aim was to create a spa environment that transports clients away from their London lives to an enticing destination exciting the senses with the colours, aromas and materials of the Orient.

On entering the reception area, you will be immediately transported to a foreign destination with Asian inspired furnishings and water gently trickling down a wall feature. Drift away in the relaxation area which is decorated in a calming shade of green, where flames flicker in the fireplace and the air is filled with a gentle fragrance to soothe the soul.

As you descend to the downstairs treatment rooms, you enter a rich, warm and earthy environment, with walls decorated in rich chocolate, cushions and throws fabricated from hand woven silks, and basins of marble – the gentle floor lighting adds to an environment that offers an exotic, yet secure and homely feel.

Earth, Air, Fire, Water

• Earth suite is for mother and baby massages
• Fire suite forms part of the couple’s treatment area and is primarily used for body treatments
• Water is an adjoining suite to Fire and caters for wet treatments such as seaweed wraps.
• Air is a corner treatment room that is primarily used for facial treatments

AromaSteam capsule: clients are offered a complimentary 15 minute aroma steam treatment that can be booked at time of appointment. The AromaSteam is your own private steam sauna that is customised with a personal blend of essential oils to balance, relax or invigorate.


1. Pacifica Day Spa is an intimate, sensuous, state-of-the art sanctuary in the heart of London.
2. Pacifica Day Spa combines the latest developments in skincare with the expertise of the most highly trained beauty therapists.
3. Every therapist at Pacifica Day Spa is CIDESCO trained, this is the highest level of education in the field of aesthetics and the only degree recognised worldwide. This ensures clients receive the very best treatment possible as well as truly expert advice in matters of skin and body health.
4. Because all of Pacifica’s therapists are CIDESCO trained, treatments will be consistently excellent. Clients will never be disappointed to find they can’t book a favourite therapist for a particular treatment – all treatments will be performed in the same way and to the same standard by every therapist, every time.
5. Pacifica Day Spa offers an excellent choice of treatments for men and women, that relax, rejuvenate, repair and revive both body and mind. Indulge in luxury pampering but don’t forget weekly grooming essentials.
6. Pacifica Day Spa practices the highest standards of hygiene at all times, extra steps, such as personal manicure tools for clients, help make the spa a place your can trust.
7. Pacifica Day Spa provides a relaxing haven in the heart of London. With the scents, sights and sounds of the Pacific, you can give yourself a luxury holiday without packing a suitcase.
8. Pacifica Day Spa can be booked exclusively for parties or business functions. Catering can be organised and the spa even has WiFi to ensure clients can stay in touch with the office.
9. Pacifica Day Spa is full of extra touches to make it a special place, from a session in the complimentary AromaSteam Capsule, to free skincare sampling and a generous loyalty programme, Pacifica offers a little bit more than most.


Kathleen Granados/Director
Pacifica Day Spa is the vision of Kathleen Granados. Prior to coming to the UK, Kathleen graduated in business from Berkeley and worked in both consulting and entertainment marketing industries.

Kathleen says: “I wanted to create an environment where customers could go and feel safe, receiving value for the money they spent. Over the years, I have been a frequent customer of spa treatments and felt that I could bring some of the customer service standards and benefits that we would expect in a US spa to London.”

Kathleen feels that it is particularly important to know a business inside out so she trained as a beauty therapist herself and did the CIDESCO training degree. This not only gave her greater admiration for the therapists with whom she works but they in turn have respect for her as someone who really understands the beauty therapy world. Kathleen strives to make Pacifica a place of employment where therapists are satisfied, challenged and encouraged to be the very best in their field. What’s more she is now in a much better position to advise her friends and clients about treatments that would be most beneficial for them.

Anita Patel/Operations Manager

To strengthen Pacifica, Kathleen joined forces with Anita Patel who has worked in the beauty industry for over 12 years and trained with Noella Gabriel from Elemis. “Anita is a great asset to the team and was a former CIDESCO instructor, which ensures that all our therapists are knowledgeable, experienced and will carry out treatments to the level I expect,” says Kathleen. Anita has worked with many brands including Elemis, Dermalogica, Thalgo, Decleor, Clarins, St. Tropez, Jessica among others.


• CIDESCO is the only qualification recognised worldwide.

• Unlike other beauty therapy qualifications where the student is assessed immediately by their instructor, CIDESCO therapists are given an exam at the end of the program and they are examined by appointed examiners from around the world. They are expected at this point to have carried out the needed hours of practical work plus theory and deliver a thesis focused on any topic related to health and beauty.

• CIDESCO students are passionate about the industry and spend a significant amount of time on their exam preparations and thesis. This alone means that they are interested in health and beauty and care about being knowledgeable for themselves and their clients.

• This qualification goes into an in depth level of anatomy and physiology coupled with the practical hours. The training is intense and ensures that the therapists undergo educational training coupled with over 1200 hours of practical training. (This means that each therapist must do at least 500 hours of manicure, 500 hours of waxing, 500 hours of massage, 500 hours of facials, etc before they are even tested)

• www.cidesco.com