A Thai massage shop opened up recently in my hometown, in an industrial estate, sandwiched between an electrical appliance shop, and a local delivery route. The shop charges £45 for a basic 60 minute Thai massage (around 2,000 Baht), which makes me feel ridiculously privileged to be here in Thailand. Therefore I make the most of it, this time at the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi, where almost immediately after check-in I am in the Spa Cenvaree foyer waiting to be pampered. As there are just few things more pleasurable than a massage following a one hour taxi ride through Bangkok, three hours navigating airports, and a cramped flight to Krabi airport. But it really is just ritual for me now, where a massage is probably the best way to beat the discomfort and jet lag of travel, and helps renew and rejuvenate me for the destination ahead.
Deliberating the Menu
I am rather risk averse when it comes to spa treatments, yet I am also always curious to see what is new on the menu, hoping to find something new and unusual in the world of spas an massage. And Spa Cenvaree does not disappoint, where, of their 57 different packages and treatments (yes, I counted them, and the full list is here), the ‘Shirodhara’ treatment was definitely new to me. And this is where herbal oils are dripped in a continuous stream onto the forehead, or the ‘third eye’ as it is known in spa lingo, for 60 minutes straight. A treatment so obscure, that I really wanted to try it. But I ultimately hedged with a 90 minute hot stone massage, which, to be fair, is still rather daring and adventurous for me. Meanwhile Fanfan opted for the 60 minute aromatherapy massage, and watched on as I am treated with hot stones.
The Hot Stone Treatment
Spa Cenvaree’s hot stone massage is not so different to a typical aromatherapy massage, at least from my own recollection, only hot basalt stones are placed along the pressure points which are otherwise being neglected. Or along the meridians and on the chakras, to again use the technical massage lingo. And this more or less soothes the muscles, and relieves tension, to give a deeper sense of relaxation. Anyway, before starting we were given forms to fill on preferences and ailments, including a tick box on whether we want the treatment to be soft, medium, or firm. And I of course go with firm, simply because it’s easier, almost unavoidable, to communicate when you’re in pain. Then you can take it down a notch or so until comfortable. Otherwise I almost always fail to communicate when I want my massage to be firmer (although Fanfan says raeng raeng should work) and a soft massage feels like a wasted massage to me.
Location Location Location
There are many aspects that make up the perfect massage, which often come in the frills and little bits in between. Like the lulling aromas of eucalyptus on entering, or the refreshing ‘dok anchan’ butterfly-pea tea offered at reception in Spa Cenvaree. Then there’s the preliminary foot rub, and the cake and ginger tea we are given while relaxing at the balcony pool at the end of it all. Not to forget the chorus of cicadas, lizards and frogs, and possibly a monkey or two, as the sunsets outside. But really much of my own enjoyment comes in knowing exactly where we are at Spa Cenvaree. Beneath the majestic karst landscapes of the Andaman sea, and just far away from the sounds of traffic, and customers fiddling with knobs on their potential electrical appliance purchases. Although, at the end of the day, there is no beating the ultimate calm and relaxation of the overall spa experience. Krabi truly is a beautiful part of the world.