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Spa Insights

November 5, 2010




Ritz Carlton Reserve, Phulay Bay

Recently I traveled to Thailand to visit the beautiful Ritz Carlton Reserve, Phulay Bay. Flying half way around the earth, even in Qatar Airways’ 5-star rated business class, is a long 30 hours of travel through 12 time zones.  So, you can imagine my thought when I arrived at this exotic, secluded paradise on the Andaman Sea….. MASSAGE….I NEED A MASSAGE!

Now here, of course, it had to be a Thai Massage.  This ancient technique focuses on stretching large muscle groups, increasing flexibility of joints and applying pressure on the body’s energy channels (just what I needed)!  Now I am ready for my elephant ride! 

It is a testament to the rising popularity of the “Spa Experience” in the U.S. that over the past 15 years more of us have been pulled and prodded; exfoliated and wrapped; had hot oil dripped on our forehead; soaked in mud from who-knows-where and scrubbed with everything from ground sea shells to chocolate; all under the supervision of total strangers!  A luxury spa facility has become more important than an onsite golf course to the discriminating traveler.  Spas are everywhere, on cruise ships, ski resorts, business hotels, resorts; your own city probably has multiple day spas.  The “spa experience” has gone way beyond the reliable mani/pedi, although you can get those too.

I love it!   When I travel, I always check out the nearest spa or two. I challenge the masseuse to knead away all those hard knots in the muscles of my neck, shoulders and back and enjoy the relaxing, reviving atmosphere.  Each one is different, but all are there for you.  Spa going is not cheap, but put some money aside and “treat yourself to a treatment” (I like that).  It certainly is a better investment than that $300 golf club that was supposed to improve your game!  Spa improves your wellbeing. Invest in yourself.

My personal favorite is a destination spa.  This is a getaway I do alone since it is all about me. Everyone is there for the same reason, to relax and renew, and it is a great way to make new friends.  A destination spa is total immersion into the total mind/body experience for 3, 4 or 7 days so choose wisely.  If you like active adventure, check out Red Mountain Resort & Spa and Green Valley Spa both in southern Utah or Mii amo in Sedona, Arizona, all are great for hiking.  If walking a meditation labyrinth, yoga, art and photography are more your style, Miraval located outside of Tucson, Arizona may be the answer. And when you are ready, consider the many international spas for a completely difference experience. There are many destination spas for the health of body, mind or sprit and I guarantee you will come away renewed, relaxed and ready to face the daily grind so that you can, hopefully, return again next year.

But, back to Phulay Bay…. this place is exquisite. Exquisite accommodations. Exquisite service. Exquisite location.  It is perfect for honeymooners and couples who want to get away.  It would be the perfect way to end a trip to Southeast Asia – relax and be pampered before that exciting (long) flight home.


Today’s guest post is written by Anita Nelson, Manager of Meetings & Events at Covington Travel. She has worked in the travel industry for 30 years. Anita likes to walk, read, travel and play with her Westie, Riley. Her favorite spa treatment is Watsu, which she says is a “life changer!”

For more information on spa vacations, email Covington Travel at

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