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A Yoga & Spa Retreat? Find a Change of Pace at Phang Nga Bay’s Latest Hideaway

Craggy limestone karsts pierce the powder-blue sky and a soft breeze wheezes across the room. Only the soothing sounds of the yoga instructor’s voice and the occasional chirps of the cicadas fill the silence. It’s 8am and I am surprisingly awake as I take my first yoga class at Point Yamu by COMO, Thailand.

Yoga, Pilates and wellness therapies have long been tradition at all COMO properties, with its longstanding focus on proactive holistic wellness. Point Yamu by COMO, which is the latest addition to Singaporean Christina Ong’s luxury resort line, is no different, you get the wellness fix you need without feeling as if you’ve just agreed to join a monastic retreat.

 

Detox Days

This little gem presents a thoughtful well-balanced getaway. Designed by Italian designer and architect Paola Navone, the resort boasts 106 rooms and private villas swathed in white with pops of cobalt blue.

A dedicated healthy menu is made available at all dining establishments at Point Yamu. Healthy eaters or those on a detox can opt for less oily, organic, or gluten-free fare at any time, even via room service. COMO Shambhala Cuisine menus use organic ingredients, replace sweeteners with unprocessed honey and swap out olive oil for butter. This ingenuity lets families or groups of friends, with varied food preferences enjoy a meal without fuss in the same location.

This particular morning after yoga, I feel inspired to take on this healthy living vibe wholeheartedly. Instead of chowing down on my regular bowl of sugary cereal, I order a fluffy egg white omelette, followed by a vegetable and seven-grain burger stuffed with avocado, harissa yoghurt sprouts and spa slaw. And then, skipping my morning latte I smugly order an Immune Boost from the COMO Shambhala wellness juice menu, and get ready to give my body a boost with the citrus goodness of orange, grapefruit, lemon and the healing Echinacea. I brace myself, expecting to be ordering that coffee anytime soon, but my Immune Boost has none of the overly medicinal taste synonymous of anything healthy. Instead, it is packed with tangy, refreshing flavours.

There are 12 other juices on the extensive list, each catering to a health remedy of sorts—from skin repair to alleviating abdominal bloating. COMO nutritionist Eve Persak says this lets guests tailor their drink to personal health needs, wellness goals or their daily activity schedule.

Wellness lovers will appreciate the gracious 100m pool where proper laps are easily accounted for. For more regimented exercise, COMO’s resident fitness instructors are also available upon request for a fee.

If you prefer to keep out of the heat, especially when the midday afternoon sun beats down, escape into one of the resort’s eight spacious spa treatment rooms. The luxury COMO Shambhala Spa is known for their restorative skincare and Ayurvedic practices, as well as traditional Thai and Western massages to soothe sore muscles.

Once you enter the tranquil spa, you’re unlikely to leave. This wellness playground also comprises four Thai massage alcoves, large steam rooms, a proper gym and outdoor jacuzzis with stunning views of the pool and the sea beyond it.

I chose the COMO Shambhala Massage, a 75-minute ritual featuring deep, long strokes with traditional blended oil. My therapist constantly asks whether I’m happy with the pressure, which I am, and I slowly fall asleep to a perfectly firm massage.

Sipping on warm lemongrass and ginger tea on an outdoor daybed added the perfect finishing touch. There’s also the option of soaking in a hydrobath—a sweet way to end the day as you watch the sun go down.

 

Offshore Visits

Past the luxurious compounds of Point Yamu, where everything blends together in an almost hallucinatory sense of perfection, are narrow roads leading out to the electrifying town of Phuket. Explorers can venture out on a longtail boat to other nearby islands. The more adventurous have the option of snorkeling or diving at certain sites.

I hop onto one of the boats going to islands around Phang Nga Bay. Upon arrival, I sink into a colourful deck chair and drink out of one of the sweetest coconuts I’ve ever had. There are no make-believe manicured beaches, but the rustic charm of grainy sand, fallen twigs and a deliciously salty scent floating from the sea surface. It is, I realise, as unpretentious as the resort I had just spent the last 24 hours in.

To me, this trip was a wellness-focused exercise without the rigour expected of such retreats. I was able to indulge in a slew of relaxing activities at my own leisure. I could have a green goddess soup today, and a spicy Thai soup the next, without feeling like I was missing my targets. It is this calming feel that will have me flying out of the Lion City and returning time and time again. www.comohotels.com/pointyamu

 

By Amelia Chia. Harper’s BAZAAR, May 2014

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