The great Patong pampering
Phuket's Burasari Resort has a spa that will soothe your socks off
You're in Phuket and you've pretty much had your fill of sun, sand, surf and trying to find that blasted Nemo among the underwater reefs. You've definitely earned a drink - maybe something wearing a paper parasol - but first, get the old battery recharged at Spa by Burasari.
If you're already on Patong Beach, you're only a few tens of metres away from the luxurious Burasari Resort. You can't miss it. It's the one that stands out for its beautiful "Thai contemporary" architecture.
Its boutique spa, two years old, has a "feel at home" theme, even if the resort is more like an imperial palace than any home we're ever seen.
You enter via a wooden arch to find a sheikh's oasis getaway - orange walls adorned with gold flowers, lovely wooden furniture, long sofa beds and earth-tone silk pillows.
There are eight spacious treatment rooms, each with its own shower, Vichy shower, toilet, steam room and a niche for getting your feet rubbed and your nails buffed.
The therapists undergo refresher training every year with "specialists" from Malaysia and Indonesia to review the basics and learn new techniques. They're mainly dedicated to detoxifying and improving blood circulation through combined Eastern and Western methods, including Swedish, Hawaiian and Chinese.
And they do this with a coconut-based essential oil whose aroma is so intoxicating that it threatens to undo the detoxification. The oil is packed with antioxidants to smooth the skin.
There are four choices. The one that's infused with flowers and plants like lavender is good for the detox massage. Grape seed and tangerine are used to stimulate lymph nodes in the treatment for pregnant women. Lemon, raspberry and peppermint release muscle tension.
"Coconut oil can be used instead of moisturiser or sunscreen, nourishing and smoothing the skin," says spa manager Wannapha Rattanaphong.
The most popular treatments include the 90-minute Thai Herbal Compress Massage, which utilises steamed therapeutic herbs and spices and traditional Thai stretching massage techniques to chase off tension and stimulate the natural energy.
The 150-minute Intensive Immune System Booster with Body Cupping is ideal if your energy is ebbed or you have a cellulite problem or skin ailment. You get a Vichy drenching and a lymphatic and meridian massage that gets at the nerves.
The 75-minute Natural Facial with Tui Na Massage zeroes in on 20 acupuncture points around your face to jolt the blood circulation. A Chinese-style Tui Na massage follows, relaxing the body.
I'm beat and my shoulder aches, so I'm going for the 90-minute Burasari Signature Massage. It promises to rid me of muscle tension and toxins and "rejuvenate my mind", which can't be a bad thing.
The therapist cleans and deodorises my feet and legs with anti-bacterial kaffir lime, then scrubs me with a soap salt to soften the skin and finally dry-brushes me with a stiff loofah and aromatic powder. It opens the hair follicles and stimulates blood circulation.
It's time for an hour's massage with aromatic oil, a mix of Swedish, Lomi Lomi, Chinese and Thai techniques. A warm bag is placed on my back, packed with kidney beans, mung beans, white rice and camphor, good for goosing the blood some more.
The therapist goes to work on my legs and the soles of my feet, focusing on nerve endings and acupuncture points related to my fatigue and pain. Then she uses her palms and elbows to rub up and down the spinal column and stretches my shoulders and neck.
The scent of the herbs is indeed refreshing and relaxing while she moves to my stomach, arms and fingers to get the blood moving. We finish up with a massage to the head and neck. And I end up with a bill for Bt1,500 - which is most happily paid.
Easy does it
<< Spa by Burasari is at the Burasari Resort Patong on Ruamjai Road in Phuket.
<< It's open daily from 10am to 8pm.
<< Make arrangements at (076) 370 037 or Spa.Burasari.com.