Thailand is known for its long history with spirituality, wellness and, of course, massage therapy. Its kings have been patrons and proponents of the ancient practice of Thai massage for centuries, and it shows. Thailand is also known as one of the most romantic places in the world.
The adoration of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej displayed for his Queen Sirikit is one of the great love stories of recent times. It’s no wonder romantics and wellness-seekers alike flock to the country for this full-body experience and come away with relaxed muscles, elevated spirits and open minds.
Add the element of experiencing this body, mind and spirit approach together – rest, relax, treatment, repeat – to heighten the romance factor. Whether couples consider themselves urban warriors, path-less-travelled explorers or ocean-side seekers, there are wellness options that inspire togetherness and, ultimately, a healthy attitude sparks a passion for a healthy relationship. Here, we go beyond just romancing (the hot) stone, and share a few of our favourites.
MANDARIN ORIENTAL, BANGKOK
One thing we love about Thailand is the rich history and the pride in which the people share it – especially massage therapy. To wit, the Orient Spa sits in a restored century-old teak house on the banks of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, where the bright lights of the big city seem just a bit tempered by the serenity of this Oasis. Instantly, you are enveloped in Thai tradition and architecture. Another thing we love is the couples spa programmes available here. The Splendid Moments treatment includes a 30-minute Thai Herbal Compresses, employed in traditional Thai medicine. The hot herb-packed compresses are pressed into the muscles to help invigorate and soothe.
Another favourite is the aptly named Endless Love. An upgrade to a Spa Deluxe Suite is only the beginning of this treatment built for two.The four hour wellness journey includes a skin purifying Rose Indulgence Facial, a Stress Release Back and Shoulder massage and Keraleeya Abyangam, an ayurvedic massage treatment using aromatherapeutic oils that work to help bring balance to the body from your forehead to your feet. Finish with a romantic soak in a customized bath that will melt the stress away.
HONOURABLE MENTION: The Peninsula Spa, The Peninsula Bangkok, for the Precious Time Together treatment, as well as its diverse offerings specifically for men.
This less-travelled area of Northern Thailand borders on Laos and Myanmar and was once known for its opium trade.
Now the golden rule is health, wellness, spirituality and a communing with nature and animals. Elephant trekking covers the ground through verdant jungle here like nowhere else, but it’s the after-trekking that makes the day whole – or holistic. At the Four Seasons’ spa, you are completely immersed in nature, with open-air salas that serve as treatment rooms. No spa soundtrack required. There’s also that Four Seasons trademark hospitality and friendliness – the hotel company was born in Canada, after all – so the staff is equal parts charming graciousness and a font of wellness knowledge. Pump up the romance: The go-to for couples is the Long Rak Chiang Rai – couples connect treatment. The blossoms of flowers Jasmine and ylang ylang, considered symbols of love and connection, are mixed with sandalwood for an aromatic journey. Exfoliation starts with body scrubs, then relax on a special water mattress while massage is performed while lying face up. A tuberose-infused bath soothes and completes the journey.
HONOURABLE MENTION: Anantara Spa, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, for the elephant mahout training mornings where you learn to care for these amazing animals and even better, the special treatments for honeymooners.
If we didn’t know better, we’d think we were in a Moroccan riad somewhere in the centre of sultry Marrakesh. But we’re not.
We’re on Koh Samui, also known as the island of healing. Perched on a hillside on the northeastern tip on the island just far enough from the beaches gives it a secret hideaway appeal, while the complimentary shuttle still manages to get you beachside in a flash, this retreat goes beyond Thai massage (although the massage therapists really know their stuff, so don’t miss having one – or two – while here). Lush, colourful carpets and silk pillows set a romantic scene, and invite lounging à deux. Yet, the onus here is on action and movement. If the idea of fitness and working out – and working up a healthy sweat together turns you on, then this is your sanctuary, so to speak, and reconnection through getting physical adds to the frisson. The programs are yoga-intensive – yoga-teacher-training courses are also available if you’ve got a month to learn – and mastering yoga moves where a couple works together as one can be a stimulating experience. Flexibility and posture are very sexy, after all.
HONOURABLE MENTION: Six Senses Samui, for its intimate feel, and which features 66 private villas and a sweeping view of the Gulf of Thailand from its location on a headland at the northern tip of the island.